Deer | St. Louis Public Radio


42 cases of chronic wasting disease, a fatal neurological disease, has been found in white-tailed deer in Missouri.
Bill Bumgarner | Flickr

The Missouri Department of Conservation is conducting a mandatory chronic wasting disease tissue sampling of deer killed in 25 select counties this Saturday and Sunday.

Deer hunters will be required to bring all harvested white-tailed deer to a designated sampling station to test if it has chronic wasting disease— or CWD. It’s a fatal neurological disease, which causes the breakdown of brain tissue in deer.

A pond inside the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest in Forest Park. July 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ecologist Amy Witt of Forest Park Forever was leading a nature walk through the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest, a wooded habitat on the park’s southwestern edge. There are trees here that are older than the 1,300-acre park, which the city of St. Louis opened in 1876.

“They’re awesome. Right? We have some really old trees. We have some really young trees. That’s the natural regeneration of a forest and of a habitat,’’ Witt said. “We are called Forest Park for a reason.’’

Deer visit the SIU-Edwardsville campus.
Pete Burzynski | Flickr | 2007

Madison County leads the state in vehicle crashes involving deer, and November is the most at-risk month for such accidents, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Eight people died, and more than 600 were injured in 2015 in 15,754 vehicle-deer accidents in the state. Nearly 45 percent of those crashes occurred in October, November and December. There were 440 accidents in Madison County followed by Cook County with 431. By comparison, St. Clair County reported 212 crashes involving deer.

Ground venison donated by Missouri hunters is ready to be distributed to Operation Food Search's 250 partner organizations and needy families in the region.
Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation

Hunters can help their hungry neighbors by donating fresh deer meat through an annual Missouri Department of Conservation program.

Some residents of Town and Country are protesting the city's approach to deer overpopulation in the suburb.
Alvin Trusty, via Flickr

Some residents of Town and Country plan to hold a vigil for deer Thursday night in an unusual protest against what they call the city's costly and ineffective approach to managing the animal population. 

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, deer populations will offer plenty of hunting opportunities this year, as numbers are recovering from disease outbreaks across the state.
Noppadol Paothong, Missouri Department of Conservation

It's good news for hunters, but maybe bad news for drivers: the Missouri Department of Conservation says the state will see a pretty good deer population this year.

Many parts of the state should see a "large and healthy deer herd" this season, after years of declining populations, according to the department's Jim Low. He estimates the state has more than a million deer, offering "plenty of deer hunting opportunity out there."

Recovery from disease

Ian Sane | Flickr

The Missouri General Assembly gets a second bite at the apple as it considers whether to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that would have transferred oversight authority of the deer-farming industry from the Department of Conservation to the Department of Agriculture. Despite a sustained scaremongering campaign by opponents of this bill, the legislation is worth passing.

Ian Sane | Flickr

The bad news is that chronic wasting disease, or CWD, has reached epidemic proportions among deer in some parts of the United States.

The good news is that the Missouri Department of Conservation has so far been successful in containing the spread of CWD after finding cases of the disease at a captive deer breeding operation in 2010.

Ian Sane | Flickr

The number of deer in Missouri harvested by hunters using firearms this November is down, compared to a year ago, and last year's drought and heat wave may have played a key role.

Jim Low with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) says the extreme heat and drought last summer caused a drop in the deer population in northern and central Missouri.

(via Flickr/Robert Scoble)

Conservation officials in Missouri want deer hunters to take precautions this fall in order to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

CWD cases are so far limited to a containment zone in north central Missouri, with the state's first documented case occurring three years ago.  Joe Jerek with the Missouri Department of Conservation says hunters should wear latex gloves when field-dressing a deer.