The Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks has established collection sites across the state for hunters to drop off deer heads for chronic wasting disease testing.
CWD is caused by a contagious, fatal abnormal protein called prion. It affects cervids such as white-tailed deer, elk and mule deer. Prions linked to the disease are found throughout the body of infected animals, but are found in higher concentration in the eyes, lymph nodes and nervous tissues.
Symptoms of CWD include drastic weight loss, stumbling, listlessness and other neurologic symptoms. Prions are shed by infected animals through saliva, feces, blood and urine. Other animals can become infected through direct contact with an infected animal and through indirect contact from an infected environment.
Management of CWD requires a long-term adaptive management approach that will be refined through new science and information.
One of the goals of Mississippi’s CWD response and management effort is to determine the geographic extent and prevalence of the disease.
MDWFP is asking hunters to aid in the effort by submitting deer heads for testing during the white-tail deer hunting season. The agency is also asking hunters and landowners to help monitor CWD by actively looking for and reporting potentially diseased or sick deer.
Hunters should preserve the head with at least six inches of neck attached before delivering to the collection sites. Antlers may be removed.
For more information on CWD, visit the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks by clicking the attached link to the right.