The new regulations of the Wildlife Code of Missouri are part of MDC’s ongoing efforts to slow the spread of the deadly disease called Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which affects deer, elk, and other members of the deer family, called cervids.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds hunters, meat processors, taxidermists, and others of new regulations now in effect regarding transporting deer, elk, and other cervid carcasses into Missouri and within the state, and of new regulations on cervid-carcass-disposal requirements for meat processors and taxidermists.

The new regulations of the Wildlife Code of Missouri are part of MDC’s ongoing efforts to slow the spread of the deadly disease called Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which affects deer, elk, and other members of the deer family, called cervids.

“Many states with CWD have implemented similar restrictions on carcass movement,” said MDC Wildlife Health Program Supervisor Jasmine Batten. “The detection of CWD in several new areas of the state over the past few years is very concerning, and these regulation changes aim to further slow its spread. The vast majority of deer in Missouri are CWD-free today, and we want to keep it that way!”

Regulation changes for hunters who harvest deer in Missouri from a CWD Management Zone county are:

Deer harvested in CWD Management Zone counties must be telechecked before any parts of the carcass may be transported out of the county of harvest. Whole carcasses and heads of deer harvested in CWD Management Zone counties may only be transported out of the county of harvest if the carcass is delivered to a licensed meat processor and/or taxidermist within 48 hours of exiting the county of harvest. The following carcass parts may be moved outside of the county of harvest without restriction: Meat that is cut and wrapped or that has been boned out; Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached; Hides from which all excess tissue has been removed; Antlers or antlers attached to skull plates or skulls cleaned of all muscle and brain tissue; Upper canine teeth; and Finished taxidermy products.

Regulation changes for hunters bringing deer and other cervids into Missouri from another state are:

Hunters may no longer transport whole cervid carcasses into the state. Heads from cervids with the cape attached and no more than six inches of neck in place may be brought into Missouri only if they are delivered to a taxidermist within 48 hours of entering Missouri. There is no longer a requirement that cervid carcass parts coming into the state be reported to the MDC carcass transport hotline. The following cervid parts can be transported into Missouri without restriction: Meat that is cut and wrapped or that has been boned out; Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached; Hides from which all excess tissue has been removed; Antlers or antlers attached to skull plates or skulls cleaned of all muscle and brain tissue; Upper canine teeth; and Finished taxidermy products.

Regulation changes for taxidermists and meat processors are:

Taxidermists and meat processors throughout the state are required to dispose of deer, elk, and other cervid parts not returned to customers in a sanitary landfill or transfer station permitted by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Proof of disposal must be retained for 12 months for meat processors and for three years for taxidermists.

According to MDC, most deer hunters should not be affected by the new regulations and most meat processors and taxidermists are already properly disposing of deer carcasses.

“Our deer-hunter surveys show that at least 85% of deer hunters are not likely to be affected by the new regulations because they already dispose of carcasses on the property where the deer was harvested, on a property in the same county, or already take their harvested deer to licensed meat processors and taxidermists,” Batten explained.

MDC will again offer statewide voluntary CWD sampling and testing of harvested deer during the entire deer season at select locations throughout the state.

MDC will also conduct mandatory CWD sampling for hunters who harvest deer in counties of the CWD Management Zone Nov. 14 and 15. Any changes to mandatory sampling requirements due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will be posted at mdc.mo.gov/cwd and be available from MDC regional offices.

Get more information on the regulation changes and other CWD information for fall deer hunting – including a map of the CWD Management Zone -- from MDC’s 2020 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations & Information booklet, available where permits are sold and online at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fall-deer-and-turkey-hunting-regulations-and-information.

For more information on field dressing harvested deer using the “gutless method,” watch this MDC video at youtu.be/m6Pxo0wOHxk

CWD is a deadly disease in white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. The disease has no vaccine or cure and eventually kills all cervids it infects. The infectious prions that cause CWD are most concentrated in the spines and heads of cervids. Moving potentially infected cervid carcasses out of the immediate areas where they were harvested and improperly disposing of them can spread the disease. MDC has established a CWD Management Zone consisting of counties in or near where CWD has been found. For more information on CWD, visit MDC online at mdc.mo.gov/cwd.