by Hunter Dawkins

Twice in less than a week, two young deer have traveled to the beach in western Harrison County after crossing Highway 90 on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Different outcomes for the two animals occurred despite being near the same location.

“This looks like it was just a coincidence,” said Lieutenant Chris Reed, Director of Training at Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks (MSWFP).  “If any more situations happen in the next few weeks, we will look into it.”

At a little before 11 a.m. Sunday, February 9th, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) responded to a call on the beach between West Long Beach and East Pass Christian near Walmart Supercenter. According to officials, a deer was running around the beach line until a law enforcement officer fired a few tranquilizer shots at the animal.  Not being successful, the deer roamed through the water for a few hours until captured.

“Once the animal was caught, it was euthanized and checked for diseases; including CWD” confirmed Lieutenant Reed.  “The deer did not have this, therefore MSWFP disposed of the remains at an agency location.”

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a naturally occurring disease of the brain and nervous system in deer and elk that was first documented in 1981 on the on the southeastern corner of Colorado.  Even though the disease is found all across the Midwest, no incidence south of central Mississippi has been reported.

Wednesday, February 12, the Pass Christian Police Department was issued a report of an animal on the beach, frantically moving on the beach line towards the East Harbor.  After a few officers and MSWFP came to the scene, the deer jolted up the beach and crossed Highway 90 back towards the woods off Fleitas Avenue in Pass Christian.

Before 2008, there was no way to detect a live deer for CWD.  Since 2008, a rectal-tissue biopsy was performed successfully in Colorado.