March 16, 2020

Iowa: CSF Encourages Legislators to Pass Important Disease Management Bill to Control the Spread of CWD

Contact: Kent Keene, Lower Midwestern States Coordinator

On March 10, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) Lower Midwestern States Coordinator, Kent Keene, submitted a letter to members of the Iowa Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus in support of Iowa House File 2240 (HF 2240). Introduced by Iowa Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Representative Terry Baxter, HF 2240 would specifically add Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) to the statutory definition of an “infectious or contagious disease” and grant additional authority to the Iowa Natural Resource Commission to take actions to control the spread of infectious or contagious diseases, including CWD. 

Specifically, HF 2240 would allow the Commission, upon discovery of CWD (or another infectious or contagious disease), to establish a disease management zone. Within disease management zones, the Commission may take certain additional steps designed to limit and control the spread of the disease. These steps include the development of special seasons to decrease the population density of susceptible animals, limitations of the artificial movement of wild animals or parts thereof, and the establishment of disease sampling protocols. In the letter to the Caucus, Keene pointed out that these steps have already been introduced by most of the other 25 states that have detected CWD within wild deer populations, as have many other states that are taking steps to prevent the introduction of CWD.

Though much remains unknown about Chronic Wasting Disease, the prevention of its spread within the deer population is the top priority for most state fish and wildlife managers. As such, the authority granted by HF 2240 represents an important step in protecting Iowa’s free-range deer population that is cherished by hunters by allowing the professional wildlife managers at the Natural Resources Commission to implement science-based policies to combat this disease. 

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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