Midwest: State Action in the Fight against Chronic Wasting Disease

By Joel Hodgdon, Central Midwestern States Coordinator

States across the Midwest including Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin have recently taken steps to stop the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). This disease has been detected in cervids in 25 states nationwide.

The Midwestern states with CWD detected include: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.

This week, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission enacted new rules that will go into effect for the 2018 deer hunting seasons. The new rules include enacting a statewide ban on the use of all-natural urine attractants, as well as imposing new restrictions on baiting and feeding in the 16 counties that make up the state’s CWD Management Zone, among other rules.

The Missouri Department of Conservation also expanded restrictions on supplemental feeding to cover seven new counties. The new restrictions went into effect July 1. Forty-eight counties across Missouri now have restrictions on feeding deer and mineral supplements.

This spring, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus member Governor Scott Walker announced recommendations designed to stop the spread of CWD in the state of Wisconsin. On August 8, the state’s Natural Resource Board voted unanimously to approve rules based on the Governor’s recommendations. The rules include enhanced fencing requirements for the state’s 376 cervid farms/hunting preserves, a ban on the movement of live deer from deer farms in CWD-affected counties, and a ban on the movement of deer carcasses from CWD affected areas.

At the federal level, legislation has been introduced by members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus that would give state agencies additional resources to monitor and manage CWD, as well as provide funding towards research on strategies to reduce the prevalence and spread of the disease.

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Recently, Virginia has proposed legislation that would make the punishment for poaching, in their state, a 1-5 year prison sentence through HB-449. Poaching undermines the social acceptance of hunters, jobs, recreation, local and state economies, and conservation efforts. How should poachers be punished?

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