CWD Update: MSU Deer Lab releases new video series, testing wrapping up for season

Published 4:36 pm Friday, February 24, 2023

STARKVILLE — Mississippi State University’s Deer Lab has released a new video series on its YouTube Channel titled CWD and Me. The video series explores the relationship between hunters, biologists and the effects of CWD on the deer herd.

It is the latest of MSU Deer Lab’s efforts to help fight Chronic Wasting Disease. In late November, MSU’s Deer Lab released a series of animated videos 13 episodes long which explored the 100 percent fatal infectious prion disease. The deer lab also received funding this year from the USDA to study the relationship between feral hogs, deer and the spread of chronic wasting disease and are researching if scrapes also help the spread of CWD.

To date, Mississippi has collected 6,934 samples with the majority being tested. MSU’s Veterinary Lab in Pearl has worked throughout the year to test samples for Chronic Wasting Disease. In total, 78 deer have tested positive for CWD this season which brings the total since first detection in 2018 to 205 positive deer.

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Benton County led the state in positives with 44 this year, Marshall had 29, Alcorn had two, Tippah had one and Warren County had two. Taxidermists led the way this season with 3,555 samples submitted while hunters were close behind with 3,243 samples.

CWD in Louisiana

Louisiana had a busy year in fighting CWD. Their first positive deer was confirmed in January 2022. Deer Program Director Johnathan Bordelon said nine more positives were detected this season bringing their total to 10 since first detection in Tensas Parish. All positive cases were found in Tensas Parish in close proximity to Claiborne County along the Mississippi River.

Over the past year, 49 hunters utilized the electronic taxidermy permit to move heads to a taxidermist outside of the control area in Tensas, Franklin and Madison parishes. Bordelon said the taxidermists must dispose of the parts in a manner specified in the permit.

Hunters submitted 2,364 samples in Louisiana. Bordelon said they are waiting on results from 86 samples which came in after the close of the season. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has a busy weekend ahead.

“We are hosting the Southeast Deer Study Group meeting in Baton Rouge this weekend and this coming week,” Bordelon said. “Chairing a large conference has added to our list of duties. We will have attendees from 26 states and one Canadian province. There are several research talks specific to CWD planned. In total, there are 35 technical presentations covering the latest in deer research and management.”