The Missouri Department of Conservation says changes will be made to mandatory sampling requirements for chronic wasting disease for the voluntary sampling of 30 counties during the opening weekend of this year’s November deer firearms season. The changes are being made due to COVID-19 health concerns. The 30-county territory includes Mercer, Putnam, Sullivan, and Adair counties from the region.
The department is removing the requirement for harvests of deer taken on the first weekend of the firearm’s season from the 30-county CWD Management Zone to be mandatory. The MDC is still encouraging hunters to have their deer sampled, and the 71 CWD sampling stations in the region will remain open, but the mandatory requirement for the sampling has been lifted.
The department uses the results of the CWD sampling to detect the disease early and take appropriate management steps.
The department will be taking precautions to ensure the health of both staff and the public during CWD sampling. Social distancing will be practiced by MDC staff at all stations. MDC staff will wear gloves and face masks at all times. Hunters and those with them will be asked to remain in their vehicles while their deer is being sampled. Hunters will only be asked to provide county of harvest and will not be asked to identify harvest location on a map.
MDC asks hunters and others who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, have recently tested positive for COVID-19, or have a known COVID-19 exposure to refrain from visiting CWD sampling stations.
MDC will continue to offer statewide voluntary CWD sampling and testing of harvested deer during the entire deer season at select locations throughout the state, including participating MDC offices, cooperating taxidermists, and new freezer head-drop locations. Sampling and test results are free. More information about locations is available online at or by contacting an MDC regional office.
There will also be carcass movement restrictions that should be followed by deer hunters when transporting the deer to a sampling station. Learn more at this link.
The first weekend of the Missouri Firearms Deer Season will be November 14th and 15th.