May 2, 2022

CSF Supported CWD Research and Management Act Introduced in Senate

Why it matters: Chronic Wasting Disease is a progressive, degenerative, and always fatal neurological disease occurring in both farmed and free-ranging deer, elk, and moose (cervids) populations. Roughly 80% of hunters in the United States participate in some form of deer, elk, or moose hunting, and as such, it is critical that we stop the spread of CWD and ultimately reduce its presence on the landscape. Unfortunately, due to the lack of information surrounding CWD, this is a difficult task for our nation’s federal, state, and tribal wildlife managers. The Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act seeks to address to this informational void and provide state and tribal agencies to better manage the disease within their jurisdictions.

On Thursday, April 28, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Sen. Hoeven and CSC Co-Chair Sen. Martin Heinrich introduced the Senate companion bill to the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management.

For years, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has coordinated with partners, Members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and other interested CWD stakeholders to develop one comprehensive bill to help address CWD. As a result of these efforts, the CWD Research and Management Act marks the first time that all interested CWD stakeholders have collectively supported one piece of legislation in Congress. In addition to helping negotiate a comprehensive CWD-focused bill, CSF also urged the House passage of the CWD Research and Management Act, and has also urged the Senate to advance the House passed bill. This would position wildlife managers to better understand and control CWD.

 If successful, this legislation will help combat CWD by authorizing $70 million annually from Fiscal Year 2022 to Fiscal Year 2028 to be split evenly between CWD research and management efforts. Specifically, the bill will provide $35 million annually for CWD research to develop testing methods, enhance detection efforts, better understand genetic resistance, among others. The bill will also provide $35 million for the management of CWD by prioritizing funding for state and tribal wildlife agencies that have the highest incidence of CWD, are demonstrating the most significant commitments to combatting CWD, are facing the greatest risk of new CWD cases, and more.

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?

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