Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Members joined representatives from the sportsmen’s conservation community for a bipartisan Capitol Hill Breakfast Briefing hosted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) to discuss the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act (H.R. 4454) and the Chronic Wasting Disease Support for States Act (S. 2252).
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) affects cervids such as deer, elk, and moose, and has been detected in 25 different states. CWD is a management concern for many state and tribal agencies that are dealing with CWD, who often divert money from other conservation programs, which has resulted in initiatives to combat CWD being both underfunded and coming at the expense of other conservation priorities.
“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation has long recognized that increased attention to, and funding for, regular screening and testing of cervids at the state level is necessary to ensure a timely response is possible in the event of a Chronic Wasting Disease outbreak,” said CSF President Jeff Crane. “We commend the leadership of Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Members Congressman Kind and Senator Tester on this critical wildlife management issue.”
H.R. 4454 was introduced by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member Congressman Ron Kind, and S. 2252 was introduced by CSC Member Senator John Tester. Though varied in specific amounts, both bills would provide much needed resources to the agencies tasked with managing this disease and would also allow for additional investment in applied research on strategies to reduce the prevalence and spread of CWD in the future.
“As an avid hunter, I know how important maintaining a healthy deer herd is to both America’s hunting traditions and the outdoor economy,” said Rep. Kind. “It is time we bring sportsmen, scientists, and officials together to create a comprehensive plan to manage and prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.”
“CWD is not only a deer, elk, and moose issue,” said Nick Pinizzotto, President and CEO of the National Deer Alliance. “The disease is a threat to the way we manage all wildlife using the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, and I appreciate the opportunity to articulate that message to our national leaders.”
Breakfast Briefing Sponsors included: Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Mule Deer Foundation, National Deer Alliance, National Wildlife Federation, Quality Deer Management Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Whitetails Unlimited.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?