Hunters in some areas of Mississippi will be required on specific dates to submit by 10 p.m. samples of deer taken on those days for testing for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Three weekends have been chosen that are normally peak harvesting periods in their respective areas. The object is providing the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks a bigger sampling base in its effort to combat CWD, a deadly disease that impacts cervids like white-tailed deer.
The mandatory check-in dates and areas are:
- Nov. 21-22: All areas in any county or portion thereof in both the North and Issaquena CWD Management Zones;
- Jan. 2-3: In all portions of Adams, Amite, Franklin, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Pike, Walthall and Wilkinson counties in southwest Mississippi.
- Jan. 16-17: In all portions of Covington, Forrest, George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Marion, Pearl River, Perry, Stone and Wayne counties in south Mississippi.
Hunters should preserve the head with at least six inches of neck attached. Antlers and skull plate may be removed without affecting the lymph nodes used for testing. If antlers are not removed, they cannot be returned to the hunter.
Since 2018, when CWD was first found in Mississippi in a mature buck in Issaquena County, the agency has taken many proactive measures to locate and contain the disease, including the establishment of two CWD Management Zones. One is the Issaquena Zone, in the South Delta, and the other is the North Mississippi Zone, where all but two of Mississippi’s 56 confirmed cases have been verified.
The MDWFP will accept any deer head from any area for CWD testing at any time during the season. For more information on sampling, whether mandatory or voluntary, including check-in stations, visit mdwfp.com/cwd.
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