On March 6, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Members Congressman Ron Kind (WI) and Senator Jon Tester (MT) introduced the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act companion bills in the House (H.R. 1550) and Senate (S. 689).
Currently, 26 states across the country have confirmed the presence of this fatal, degenerative neurological disease, which is fatal to deer, elk, and moose. There is currently no treatment or vaccine.
With new detections of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in both wild populations and farmed herds in areas that had previously been CWD-free last year, increased attention has been brought to the need for reliable data on CWD transmission pathways on which wildlife agencies can base their management strategies.
H.R. 1550 would authorize $35 million to support state and tribal efforts to develop and implement management strategies and control methods, as well as $10 million for additional research on the causes of CWD. In addition to the funding authorized in the House version, S. 689 would authorize an additional $15 million for additional CWD research (totaling $25 million).
“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) 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 in the event of a Chronic Wasting Disease outbreak. We commend the leadership of Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus members Representative Kind and Senator Tester on this critical wildlife management issue,” said Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
“Being a hunter is a big part of who I am, and the Wisconsin way of life. I know firsthand how vital it is that we maintain a healthy deer herd across our state, so we can protect our outdoor traditions and our outdoor economy,” said Rep. Kind.
“This bill will give state and tribal agencies access to the resources they need to combat this disease before it permanently diminishes our big-game herds and limits our ability to hunt,” said Sen. Tester.
The CWD Management Act complements the recently introduced Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act, championed by CSC Members Congressman Ralph Abraham (LA) and Senator John Barrasso (WY).
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?