Mississippi appears to have its third deer with chronic wasting disease, the second from the Issaquena County CWD Management Zone, and the first doe to be discovered with the deadly protein-based illness.
A free-range 2.5-year-old female deer collected Nov. 1 has tested positive for CWD in initial testing, the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks announced in an email at 5:05 p.m. Friday. No other information was provided, except that samples had been sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa for “an additional definitive test.”
Mississippi’s lone CWD testing facility is the Mississippi Veterinary and Diagnostic Lab in Pearl. A suspect sample there requires confirmation from the Iowa lab, which has the resources necessary for a more definitive test.
That was the same protocol used in October to confirm that a deer found in Pontotoc County had CWD, a protein-based disease that is 100 percent fatal to cervids, like elk, white-tailed deer and mule deer. Prior to the Pearl facility’s development of the preliminary testing, Mississippi’s first CWD deer from Issaquena County last January was sent straight to Iowa.
The latest confirmation was not good news to hunters and landowners in the Issaquena County area.
“Heck no, it’s not good news; it’s terrible,” said Jeff Terry, whose farm is located in Issaquena County about six miles from where the first CWD case was found last January. “We kind of figured there were more deer out there with (CWD), but figuring it and now knowing it is two different things, especially since deer season is already open and people are killing deer.
“The really bad thing about it is that even that (MDWFP) knows about it, there’s not really a whole lot they or anyone can do about it. It’s not like there is a cure.”
The agency recently announced a statewide system of CWD testing that involves hunters voluntarily bringing the heads — with at least six inches of next attached — to one of many drop off points where they will be held in freezers until they can be sent to the state lab in Pearl. The service is free.
Drop off points include:
North Region: North Region Office, Enid; Elvis Presley Lake, Tupelo; Charlie Capps WMA, Rosedale; Malmaison WMA, Holcomb; Chickasaw WMA, Houston; Upper Sardis WMA, Etta; Trace State Park, Belden; New Albany Fairgrounds, New Albany; Ecru City Maintenance Building, Ecru.
Central Region: Black Prairie WMA, Crawford; Mahannah WMA, Redwood; Caney Creek WMA, Forest; Pearl River WMA, Canton; Lake Tom Bailey, Toomsuba; Neshoba County Lake, Philadelphia.
South Region: South Region Office, Magnolia; Purvis Volunteer Fire Department, Purvis; Oak Grove Fire Department Station 2, Purvis; Old River WMA, Poplarville; Natchez State Park, Natchez; Lower Pascagoula WMA, Moss Point; Lake Mary Cottages, Woodville.
Hunters are advised not to dress deer exhibiting signs of illness or disease. Instead, contact the MDWFP at 1-800-BE-SMART (800-237-6278).