JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Chronic Wasting Disease among deer is sparking concerns for hunters. Next week, the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks will host a public meeting to talk about proposed changes for the 2019–2020 deer hunting season.
“It created a lot of fear in my customers. They are worried that the disease was going to greatly affect the deer population. A lot of people worry about consuming the deer after they kill it too,” said Todd Sarotte the store manager of Van’s Deer Processing.
He says hunters are fearful of contracting the disease now more than ever.
“We process quite a few deer and we have had customers concerned that they could contract it. As long as it is processed correctly, there will be no issues. We encourage hunters to have your deer tested if you are concerned about it to give you some peace of mind.”
Since 2018 when the disease was first detected in Mississippi, the department of wildlife director Russ Walsh, says they have been keeping a close eye on it.
“We have taken a large amount of samples to detect where it is in the state. We have taken certain manners to lessen the spread of the disease.”
So what are the new proposed changes for this years hunting season?
Walsh explains, “We are proposing that we increase the bag limit on does in parts of the state as well as the bucks. One of those deer would be any antlered bucks on any private lands.”
Deer can be infected from 16 to 24 months. Clinical signs begin with rapid weight loss, excessive salivating and loss of neurological motion or staggering.
Walsh says the purpose of these new regulations is to increase harvest, and increase opportunities for hunters, all while managing the spread of this disease.