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State Will Test 5,000 Deer For CWD

Enid Lake Resource Manager Michael Robinson (left) was among speakers at Thursday’s law enforcement luncheon sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. Officials from multiple counties attended the annual event including Yalobusha supervisors Cayce Washington, Gaylon Gray and Ken Rogers; Batesville Police Chief Jimmy McCloud; Tallahatchie Sheriff Jimmy Fly; Panola Sheriff Dennis Darby; Yalobusha Chief Deputy Jerry Ferguson and MDWFP officers from north Mississippi and Jackson.

By David Howell

Editor


ENID LAKE – Yalobusha County will have a hunters’ drop off point to test whitetail deer for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) during the 2018-19 hunting season as the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks plans to sample 5,000 deer across the state.


The sampling follows the first confirmed case of CWD in Mississippi back in January, a four and a half year-old old buck found dead by hunters near Vicksburg, making Mississippi the 23rd state in the country with the deadly prion disease that affects deer, elk, reindeer, sika deer and moose.


Biologist John Gruchy provided details of his agency’s ongoing response to CWD, speaking during a law enforcement appreciation luncheon hosted by MDWFP at the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery at Enid Lake last Thursday. Gruchy said his agency, in conjunction with Mississippi State University, plans to sample 2,000 deer from portions in the state west of Interstate 55 and 2,000 from areas east of the interstate. The MDWFP plan also includes testing 1,000 deer from six counties in the Delta in the area where the state’s first confirmed case of CWD was discovered near Vicksburg.


The testing will include deer harvested by hunters, road kill deer, and reports of sick deer in the state. Gruchy said anyone who spots a sick deer can report it to MDWFP by calling 1-800 BE SMART. 

The Yalobusha drop-off point will be located on County Road 36,  in the brown building next to the old Corps of Engineers headquarters. Hunters can bring the head of the deer for testing, with plans to target mature deer. 


The sampling follows an effort earlier in the year that included testing samples of over 800 deer in a 25-mile radius of the confirmed case. No additional cases of CWD were confirmed during the testings.


Also speaking at the law enforcement appreciation luncheon was Michael Robinson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Resource Manager at Enid Lake, who provided an overview of activities at the lake. Robinson reported the bridge on the access road (CR 36)  at the I-55 Enid Lake exit that was closed in May will be replaced at an estimated cost of $3 million.


“It will likely go back in the same place and they will take out the serpentine curve leading up to the bridge,” Robinson explained. The new bridge is currently in the design stage and he did not speculate about the replacement time. 


Robinson also reported the five-year periodic inspection of the spillway has been completed and repairs have been made. 
“The water was cut back on last week.”


He also noted several shoreline protection projects are scheduled after the lake recorded high water that eroded some areas of the lake. 


“The state park suffered some pretty bad damage during the high water,” Robinson noted. 


Other items of interest at the lake included:

 • The addition of a soccer/football field and volleyball court at the Riverview Recreation area. 

• All of the lights around the lake have been replaced with LED lights.

• A fishing day for physically challenged participants is scheduled Sept. 8.

• Thirty-three new picnics will be installed at Persimmon Hill Campground on the south end of the dam. 

• New signs will be installed at some recreational areas and at the field office.

• Seasonal planting is underway for forage areas for wildlife. 

• Fish forage areas are also being planted, a first at the lake.

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