The Missouri Department of Conservation and Mississippi Lime Company recently dropped off 1,860 pounds of venison to St. Vincent De Paul food pantries in Ste. Genevieve and Bloomsdale.
As part of MDC’s Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) management efforts, after the close of deer season, MDC staff work with landowners in the affected areas on a voluntary basis to cull additional deer within an area of two miles of where recent cases of CWD had been found.
This targeted culling effort helps limit the spread of CWD by removing potentially infected deer from the area. After testing results are back, venison harvested from CWD negative deer are either kept by the landowners or donated to Share the Harvest.
The recent meat donation in Perry and Ste. Genevieve counties were from deer that tested negative for CWD during targeted culling efforts in the area. Matt Bowyer, MDC’s southeast region wildlife supervisor, said one benefits of this management strategy is the donation of more than 1,860 pounds of venison to local food pantries to feed the hungry in these communities.
“It’s always good to see neighbors supporting each other and we rely on those partnerships with local landowners to help us manage CWD,” he said. “Now that we have test results back, it’s an encouraging thing to see meat donated to people who need it.”
MLCO owns several hundred acres within the Ste. Genevieve targeted culling area and worked extensively with the conservation department's CWD efforts.
“MLCO works hard to be good stewards of the land and we strive to do everything with integrity,” said Paul Arnold, MLCO’s property manager. “We’re honored to help in the control of CWD and we’re happy to see so many negative test results come back; that’s a lot of meat that we’re able to donate from deer harvested from our company land.”
Arnold said MLCO participates in several conservation related efforts with MDC, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and the World Bird Sanctuary.
“We looked at this partnership in CWD testing efforts as another way to contribute to conservation, to protect our natural resources and to support the community,” Arnold said.
Bowyer said other good news on the CWD front is that where CWD has been found in Missouri, the numbers of positives remain relatively low.
“The positives are still low overall and we remain committed to monitoring CWD and taking action to limit the spread,” Bowyer said. “Partnerships with private landowners, such as MLCO, are essential in those efforts.”
MDC will again require mandatory sampling of deer harvested during the opening weekend of the fall firearms deer season in and around counties where the disease was recently found.
Information on specific counties, sampling locations, and requirements will be published in MDC’s “2019 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information” booklet, and online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd, starting in July.
MDC will also offer voluntary CWD sampling during the entire fall and winter hunting season of deer harvested in and around counties where the disease was recently found.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend hunters in areas known to have CWD test their deer before consuming the meat.