Buck tests positive for CWD in Mississippi Delta

Published 7:47 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

ROLLING FORK — A buck taken during Mississippi’s second velvet season in Issaquena County tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. It is the first positive in the county since 2019, Deer Program Coordinator William McKinley confirmed Tuesday. 

Mississippi hunters collected 239 samples during the 2023 buck and archery only velvet season with a few more samples expected to come in today. Samples taken from the lymph nodes are tested for the disease at Mississippi State University’s Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Lab in Pearl. 

Archery season opened Saturday amid an extreme drought in Southwest Mississippi. Hunters are encouraged to harvest one more deer this year to help bring the deer density down and to help Mississippians in need. 

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More Chronic Wasting Disease samples are needed to survey for the disease. Early detection is critical in slowing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. Hunters play a crucial role in helping MDWFP fight against CWD. 

Mississippi has a self serve drop off freezer with instructions on how to submit a sample for CWD testing. Lincoln County does not have a drop off cooler but the Mississippi State Extension Office in Hazlehurst is the closest drop off location. Participating taxidermists, found on the MDWFP website, can also submit CWD samples. 

MSU gets research funding

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is providing $12 million in funding to fight against Chronic Wasting Disease. Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks received $207,541 for an environmental surveillance project. The money will likely be used by the Mississippi State University Deer Lab, an unofficial research arm of MDWFP, to study CWD prions in scrapes using RT-QuIC tests. 

CWD prions are shed by infected deer and then persist in the environment for long periods of time. MSU’s research project found CWD prions in a scrape in Claiborne County, where no deer have tested positive. Adjacent Tensas Parish has detected CWD in 12 deer since 2022 so it is possible positive deer are in Claiborne County but more samples are needed.