ROLLING FORK, Miss. (WJTV) – A buck that was harvested during Mississippi’s second velvet season in Issaquena County tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The Daily Leader reported this is the first positive case in the county since 2019.

Mississippi hunters collected more than 230 samples during the 2023 buck and archery only velvet season. The samples are tested for the disease at Mississippi State University’s (MSU) Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Lab in Pearl.

CWD is a 100% fatal, transmissible, neurogenerative disease. One challenge of detecting the disease is that until deer enter the last stages of CWD, they often appear completely healthy.

Officials with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) said the disease is transmitted through deer by their saliva, feces, urine, or contaminated environment.

Hunter participation in efforts to control CWD includes submitting harvested deer for testing, harvesting younger bucks, and discontinuing the use of supplemental feeding and baiting to help keep deer from congregating.

MDWFP allows more deer to be harvested in CWD zones and forbids supplemental feeding in these areas.

The next important step is for hunters to leave the heads of harvested deer at one of the state’s 63 drop-off sites.