Hunters in three northeast Mississippi counties received the bad news late Monday: Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been confirmed by the National Veterinary Laboratory in Iowa in a deer collected on Oct. 8 in Pontotoc County.
The Pontotoc CWD Management Zone includes all of Pontotoc and Union counties, and that part of Lee County west of U.S. Highway 45.
“The deer was reported to MDWFP by a homeowner near Ecru in Pontotoc County,” said Russ Walsh, the Wildlife Bureau executive director. “After we collected the deer, a sample was submitted to the Mississippi State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for (the ELISA CWD) testing.
“These tests indicated the buck was a ‘suspect positive’ and a sample was sent to (Iowa) for IHC confirmation.”
IHC is the definitive, and more time-consuming test, and the positive test results from Iowa put the agency into action.
Starting immediately in the Pontotoc CWD Management Zone, it is unlawful (illegal) to:
* Supplemental feed wildlife.
* Establish new mineral sites or add supplements to existing sites.
* Trap wild hogs without a permit from MDWFP.
* Remove certain portions of cervid carcasses from the zone. Only the parts listed below are legal:
+ Cut/wrapped meat (commercially or privately)
+ Deboned meat
+ Hides with no head attached
+ Finished taxidermy
+ Antlers with no tissue attached
+ Cleaned skull plates (no brain tissue)
+ Cleaned skulls (no lymphoid or brain tissue)
The agency announced no plans to begin harvesting and management deer, but instead said it will monitor CWD in the Pontotoc Zone by relying on hunter-harvested deer during the 2018–19 hunting season. Hunters can submit deer for testing at established drop-off locations or MDWFP-staffed check stations.
MDWFP will host a public meeting to discuss CWD at North Pontotoc Attendance Center on Thursday, November 8 at 6:00 PM. Presentations by MDWFP staff will be on the status of CWD and planned monitoring activities. Biologists and Law Enforcement officials will be available to answer questions.