Chronic wasting disease in captive (and wild) deer is not caused by feeding them "unnatural meat-and-bonemeal," as outdoor columnist Larry Dablemont claims.

*Editor’s Note: This opinion is in response to an outdoor column titled “Deer management?” by Larry Dablemont published in the Friday, July 11 Lake Sun and Wednesday, July 16 Focus.


Outdoor columnist Larry Dablemont is again misleading readers of Focus in his July 16 article "Deer Management and the Missouri DOC." Chronic wasting disease in captive (and wild) deer is not caused by feeding them "unnatural meat-and-bonemeal," as he claims. While that diet is certainly unnatural, the known cause is an abnormal protein that attacks the nervous system, accumulating in the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, and lymph nodes of infected animals. 

There is some evidence that a bacterium, "spiroplasma," may be the causative agent. 

A bit of online research (something Mr. Dablemont failed to do or decided to ignore) will provide readers interested in the subject with plenty of accurate information about the disease and its effects upon cervids in Missouri and elsewhere.

The subject is well documented. 

Of greater concern to this writer is Mr. Dablemont's assertion that "Thousands of hunters ignore it [the four-point rule for buck deer] . . . as they should." In this, he is advocating that Missouri hunters violate the law. This is an irresponsible statement, something no reputable outdoor columnist would make.

The remainder of Mr. Dablemont's article is filled with glittering generalities, half-truths, and unsupported accusations. Don't readers of Focus deserve something better?