Confirmation of nine more cases of chronic wasting deer in two neighboring northern-tier Mississippi counties brings the total count to 12 cases in the Magnolia State.
Since deer season began — when more deer were sampled via hunter request — six cases have been confirmed in Marshall County and three in neighboring Benton County. Both are adjacent to the border with Tennessee, where wildlife officials have confirmed a hot spot for the disease that affects cervids, like white-tailed deer.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency has confirmed more than 90 CWD cases this year in the combined border counties of Hardeman and Fayette, which are across the border from Mississippi’s Marshall and Benton counties.
Mississippi’s first case of CWD was confirmed in the last week of the 2017-18 deer season, February 2018 in Issaquena County. A second confirmation came in October from Pontotoc County, about 50 miles southeast of Holly Springs, the town closest to where six CWD cases were confirmed this year.
A second deer from Issaquena County was confirmed as CWD-positive in October before the first case was located in Marshall County. In the two months since, five more were confirmed in Marshall plus the three in Benton.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has tested 7,098 deer since the hunting season opened on Oct. 1. Hunters were responsible for most of the samples tested, according to Russ Walsh, executive director of MDWFP’s Wildlife Bureau.
“The hunters deserve a tremendous amount of credit for responding,” he said. “We greatly appreciate the hunting public for participating in this process.”