Department of conservation still warns of deadly deer disease

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COLUMBIA - Firearms deer hunting season starts November 15 and the Department of Conservation is concerned about the threat of a deadly deer disease. The Department of Conservation is keeping track of a disease called Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD. 

In 2010, a total of 22 CWD cases were found in and around Linn and Macon counties in northern Missouri. Since they found the disease, the Department of Conservation has been monitoring the situation in six northern Missouri counties to make sure the disease doesn't spread. 

The disease can only be contracted by deer but is deadly. CWD is 100 percent fatal and there is no cure. 

Humans cannot be affected by the disease, even if they eat meat of a deer with CWD. 

The biggest concern from the Department of Conservation is that the disease could spread to more deer and have a negative impact on Missouri's herd.

And any decrease in deer population could directly affect Missouri's economy. Deer hunting makes $1 billion for the state every year. 

Despite the Department of Conservation's warnings, some hunters are not worried about the disease. 

"They haven't seen any in so long, I wouldn't be worried about it," said Powder Horn Gun and Sporting sales associate Kelsey Brandkamp. "But if you hunt within those six counties definitely follow the guidelines." 

The six counties on high alert for CWD are Macon, Linn, Randolph, Adair, Chariton, and Sullivan. 

"MDC has taken the proper precautions to keep that disease from spreading across the state. I know it's kind of hard for people to understand why they did what they did but it kept it from spreading and that was the end goal and they did a good job. We haven't had a confirmed case of it in over a year," Brandkamp said.

There hasn't been a recorded case of CWD in Missouri in over a year. 

Although she isn't worried about CWD in Columbia, Brandkamp said the Department of Conservation is justified in their worrying. 

"It's a persistent disease, it's not easy to kill and it's passed on through bodily fluids blood if it does get down here, I think it will spread very quickly," Brandkamp said. 

Brandkamp has a few suggestions for hunters to avoid spreading CDW. 

"MDC is more worried about how you dispose the carcass," Brandkamp said. "Don't leave it out in the open, burn it, bury it, whatever, and don't take it across county lines." 

She said there are other things hunters should worry about this season before CDW. 

"You're more likely to get rabbit fever than you are to get anything from a deer so no they don't say be careful when you field dress a deer," Brandkamp said. 

If a hunter has a question about a deer, they can take blood samples into the Department of Conservation to be checked for disease.