JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Chronic Wasting Disease reports in Mississippi remained steady throughout this hunting season.
There were 21 positive cases found this season, all in Benton and Marshal Counties.
Some of the numbers staggering: 1-in-13 deer in Benton County tested positive for CWD.
William McKinley, State Deer Program Coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks said, “Most of those that we found in Benton County is adjacent to the Tennessee line. At last count Tennessee had found over 400 positives this season, so we know that it’s concentrated there right above our state and coming over into Mississippi.”
State wildlife officials say that deer samples provided by hunters are much lower than they were last year, which has some concerned that parts of the state could go untested.
“We need more samples because many counties are deficient in sampling. We can’t tell if it’s there or not by the number of samples we currently have. We’re encouraging state wide hunters turn those samples in,” said McKinley.
Hunters have 36 drop off locations where they can leave their samples.
Although CWD was only found in two of six counties where it was found last year, wildlife officials say this will be a long ongoing battle to stop the spread of the disease.
William McKinley said, “What we can do is where we identify the areas, work with hunters to try to get density’s lower in those areas so that there is less deer-to-deer interaction, which will slow the spread of the disease.”
Hunting season ends January 31st for most of the state. The southeastern portion of Mississippi has until February 15th.