Growing up in Mississippi I enjoyed my good fortune of being able to spent much of my time outdoors. Hunting, fishing, camping, and most importantly being an advocate for conservation and wildlife management. And while there were many issues to face as a conservationists, one that was rarely discussed is Chronic Wasting Disease.
The following is a sampling of an article published online from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
When is Bambi the deer like Bessie the cow?
It’s a question likely to come before the Missouri Legislature this year in a conflict over ways to contain a rare but fatal illness afflicting deer and elk called chronic wasting disease, or CWD. Since 2010, when the first case was confirmed in the state, 20 more dead deer have tested positive for the disease, all within a two-county area in north-central Missouri.
The first case was on a private hunting ranch in Linn County. The next 10 were confirmed on an affiliated hunting ranch in adjoining Macon County. The remainder were wild deer taken by hunters within a few miles of the Macon ranch.
The proximity of the cases has sharpened the disagreement between conservationists and owners of fenced hunting ranches, which cater to high-dollar hunters in search of impressive trophies. The political issue is likely to turn on the definition of “livestock.”
The Missouri Department of Conservation, charged with
approving operating permits for the hunting ranches, is considering stricter rules. Because ranches usually get their deer from breeders, sometimes from other states, the department says it wants to ensure that chronic wasting disease doesn’t travel by truck and spread across fences into the wild.
A controversial option under review is to require ranches to build higher, double fences — something the operators consider expensive and offensive.