Rural Missouri - October 2013 - (Page 14)

O U T D O O R S W by Jason Jenkins hile some Missouri deer hunters are already enjoying days afield this fall, state conservation officials would like them and others to take a few minutes before their next hunt and voice their opinions about a threat to the Show-Me State’s white-tailed deer herd. In September, the Missouri Department of Conservation began a series of public meetings to discuss what is being done to minimize the risk of chronic wasting disease, or CWD. According to officials, the disease puts Missouri’s deer herd — along with the $1 billion in economic activity it generates each year — at significant risk. Changes to protect the herd could impact hunters as well as those who operate private deer-breeding operations and big-game hunting preserves. CWD is a neurological disease that affects deer, elk and other members of the deer family. It belongs to a group of diseases that includes scrapie, which affects sheep and goats, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as “mad cow Conservation officials believe they have restricted chronic wasting disease to a small area of north-central Missouri. disease,” which affects cattle. CWD is believed to be Minimizing the risk of spreading CWD to the herd statewide may include new rules for the captive deer industry. 100-percent fatal to deer that contract it; there is no known cure or vaccine. First identified in Colorado in the 1960s, CWD has since spread to animals in 21 states. The first confirmed cases in Missouri occurred in 2010 and 2011 at private big-game hunting preserves in Linn and Macon counties. Since then, a total of 11 cases of CWD have been found in captive deer, and another 10 cases have been reported in free-ranging drop it immediately and walk away, but that simply While no specific regulation changes have been deer around those facilities. is not the case,” said James, a member of both Boone presented, the tone set at the meeting was clear: “You could throw a 3- or 4-mile circle around all and Callaway electric cooperatives. Stricter rules likely are on the way for the state’s prithe CWD positives,” said Jason Sumners, an MDC The largest point of contention appears to focus vate deer-breeding operations and big-game hunting resource scientist and leader of the department’s on fencing. Currently, the industry requirement is a preserves. Members of the captive wildlife industry deer management and research program, describing single 8-foot-tall fence. While there is argument over feel that MDC has them in the crosshairs unfairly. the spread of the disease. “All 10 of (the CWD cases whether a fence of this height adequately keeps cap“We want to be treated like other livestock inin the free-ranging herd) are in adjoining sections.” tive deer in and free-ranging deer out, State Wildlife dustries,” said Sam James, president of the Missouri Conservation officials took steps in 2012 to slow Veterinarian Kelly Straka said a single fence does Whitetail Breeders and Hunting Ranch Association. the spread of CWD from this part of north-central little to prevent direct contact through the fence. “With what we’re doing, the programs we’re in, Missouri. They established a six-county containment “Whether you’re dealing with chronic wasting every day that we’re in these programs, the risk gets zone, which includes Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, disease or bovine tuberculosis, any disease that can smaller and smaller of CWD in the captive herd and Randolph and Sullivan counties. Within the zone, be spread through direct contact, you want to have a spreading it anywhere.” special regulations now apply. Because CWD can double barrier,” she said. “The important thing is to A deer breeder for 20 years, James said the indusbe spread through direct contact with an infected be able to keep those animals physically apart.” try has come a long way in the past decade. He said animal, deer attractants such as grain feeders and James said that while his own facilities are douthey are willing to make some concessions, such as mineral blocks are prohibited to prevent unnatural ble-fenced, requiring the industry to install double making enrollment in the CWD Herd Certification congregation of deer. An antler-point restriction pro10-foot-tall fences, for example, would be unprecProgram mandatory for all breeders. tecting young bucks also is suspended in the zone. edented within animal-related industries. “That “If we thought we were bringing any sort of risk “Prevention is the best medicine,” Sumners would go to court because of the cost,” he said. “It’s to the free-ranging deer herd in Missouri, we would said. “It’s an extremely difficult disease to an unfunded mandate.” deal with once it’s established. So, those He said the industry would support common-sense rules that we can put into rules for fence integrity. place to help us keep from introducing the Those who attended the public meeting disease somewhere else is what we’re tryin Macon passionately shared their feelings ing to accomplish.” during the two-hour forum. Sumners said hunters statewide can “When I was a kid, we didn’t have help prevent the spread of CWD by propdeer,” said Dave Baggs, a Tri-County Elecerly disposing of deer carcasses by burying tric Cooperative member from Kirksville. them or sending them to a landfill. “We “Over the years, everybody sacrificed so we as hunters owe it to the state’s deer herd can have deer. I’d like to see my grandkids to go that extra little step,” he said, add— my grandkids’ grandkids — have deer. ing that it’s also important for hunters to The health of the deer is the most imporreport deer that appear sick. tant thing.” MDC isn’t limiting its focus to the wild herd. At the first public meeting, Resource The Missouri Department of ConservaScience Division Chief Mike Hubbard said tion continues its series of public meetings on MDC has identified four areas of concern Sept. 30, Oct. 1 and Oct. 9 in St. Joseph, Blue related to disease transmission and the Springs and Springfield, respectively. All meetcaptive-deer industry: separation of captive ings begin at 6:30 p.m. For more details, visit and free-ranging wildlife, transportation and search “chronic wasting Nearly 120 people attended a public meeting Sept. 3 in Macon where the top- disease.” The public also may post comments and movement of captive wildlife, disease ic was limiting the spread of chronic wasting disease in the state’s deer herd. testing and herd certification. online at A deer dilemma Disease threat prompts officials to consider new regulations 14 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - October 2013

Rural Missouri - October 2013
Schooled on sailing
A deer dilemma
Therapy for the heart & soul
Out of the Way Eats
Gone RVing
Charge of the Iron Brigade
Hearth and Home
Underwater fun
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - October 2013