CWD Update: Mississippi hunters turn in steady flow of samples

Published 2:42 pm Monday, November 13, 2023

JACKSON — Mississippi hunters are turning in a steady flow of Chronic Wasting Disease samples. According to Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks CWD Dashboard, hunters have submitted 740 samples this deer season with three positives being detected. 

There have been no new detections in the past two weeks but they could start to pick up as more samples come in. Last year, 7,888 samples were submitted by hunters.

Mississippi has 210 CWD positive detections since 2018. Louisiana has sampled 419 deer this year and have not had any new detections since August. Tensas Parish, just across the Mississippi River from Claiborne County, has had 13 positive detections since first detection in January 2022. 

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Chronic Wasting Disease is a 100 percent, always fatal disease caused by an infectious prion. CWD prions are shed into the environment often in the bodily fluids of infected deer. Healthy deer can become infected by contact with these prions in the soil or contact with an infected deer. Prions persist in the environment for a long period of time long after a CWD infected deer dies. 

Hunters are encouraged to submit samples for Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance. More samples are needed when there is low prevalence to find the disease and implement mitigation measures to slow the spread of CWD. Alcorn County for example has only had 419 samples since 2018 so there could be more positives on the landscape there. 

Samples can be dropped off at self serve coolers around the state or participating taxidermists. The closest drop-off cooler to Lincoln County is in Hazlehurst at the Mississippi State Extension Service Office there. Lincoln County’s participating taxidermists are Brent Opdyke, Allen Morgan and George Wilson and their information can be found on the MDWFP CWD page. 

CWD samples are tested at the Mississippi State University Veterinary Research and Diagnostics Laboratory in Pearl. Samples tend to pick up with firearm seasons opening in Louisiana and Mississippi this week. Modern gun season will open Saturday. 

Hunters are encouraged to check in their deer on the MDWFP phone application or website using Game Check. Since opening day, 667 deer have been reported to Game Check, lower than the CWD samples. Data collected with Game Check can help biologists make better management decisions for specific areas of the state.

Check back for more stories on Chronic Wasting Disease, MDWFP and the outdoors on The Daily Leader.