By Bee Frederick, Southeastern States Director
Following the recent discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in wild white-tailed deer in Mississippi earlier this year, the leaders of the Mississippi Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus sent a letter to the Mississippi Congressional Delegation in support of the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act (HR 4454) on April 20.
Introduced by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member Congressman Ron Kind (WI) and Congressman Jamie Sensenbrenner (WI), the bipartisan piece of legislation will help support state and tribal efforts to develop and implement strategies to address ChronicWasting Disease (CWD) in deer, elk, and moose. Additionally, it will support research efforts focusing on the cause of the disease and possible control efforts to limit further spread on the disease.
CWD is a progressive, degenerative, and always fatal disease occurring in farmed and free-ranging cervids. CWD is a very slow and progressive disease that has been detected in 25 states. At this time, funding for adequate surveillance and detection is limited, and often requires already financially burdened state fish and wildlife agencies to divert funds from other programs.
The Caucus previously hosted an informational meeting on CWD for legislators and others following the discovery of the first case.
Caucus Co-Chair and National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses Executive Council Member Representative Scott Bounds said: “We are acutely aware of the potential impact CWD can have in our state’s deer populations and hunting participation. We are proud of Mississippi’s sporting heritage and we are committed to working with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and others to ensure we are doing everything we can to limit this potential problem. We hope that support continues to grow for these federal priorities to help provide funding addressing CWD.”
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?