Thursday, April 1, 2021

Sportsmen's Groups Says Bill Will Spread CWD

Did the legislature hurt the fight against chronic wasting disease in Mississippi's deer population? The Mississippi Wildlife Federation and other sportsmen's groups argue HB #382 will do just that and protested its passage to Governor Tate Reeves.  Mississippi Wildlife Federation  CEO Ashlee Ellis Smith said:

If CWD spreads, it is going to be very difficult for people to lease their lands to hunting camps or hunters from out of state, b/c no one will want to hunt on those lands. The bottom will drop out of the market in that area, and it won’t come back for generations – because CWD will remain in the soil, leaves, etc. for hundred of years. There are some large timber companies want to prohibit baiting on all of the property they own, because they want to help slow the spread of CWD and continue to have good relationships and responsible land management with the hunting clubs they have long enjoyed partnering with on land leases. 

There are over 700,000 hunters in Mississippi – contributing nearly $8 billion to the state’s economy. While large donors with large high fence enclosures would like to be able to farm deer without regulation or oversight by the state wildlife agency, including regulating CWD sampling and management, they may be threatening the health of the wild deer population – a state resource that is owned by the public-at-a-large through the Public Trust Doctrine. House Bill 382 mandates that even if a positive CWD case is found within an enclosure, MDWFP would not be allowed to place the neighboring or adjacent land, even within 5 miles, withing a CWD Zone – which would thereby allow those landowners to continue supplemental feeding of live deer on their property – one of the top ways CWD is spread, according to leading scientists in the field.  

We are not against high fences.  There are some great high-fence owners who practice responsible land management.  However, we want MDWFP to regulate and monitor them along with the rest of the state to ensure compliance with the state's CWD management and control plan.

The Federation urged the Governor to veto the bill.  The Federation stated in a letter addressed to the Governor:

Dear Governor Reeves,

Mississippi House Bill 382 (H 382), sponsored by Representative Scott Bounds (R-Neshoba) was passed in the Mississippi House of Representatives and Mississippi Senate on March 30, 2021, after substantial changes to the bill were made at the last minute during the second conference committee meeting. The report was not issued to the public until minutes before the votes took place in both chambers, which did not allow the public to review those changes or weigh in with their representatives. The bill, in its final state, amends existing statutory language with respect to chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling requirements for deer harvested by hunting or dying from other causes within any enclosure. The bill also loosens the fine structure for failure to provide samples or register a high fence enclosure, and most alarmingly, attempts to legislate Mississippi’s CWD Management and Response Plan. Doing so will dictate who will and who will not be placed into a CWD zone upon a positive test on adjacent land within an enclosure, taking jurisdiction of such decisions away from our state wildlife agency and the scientists who make informed decisions about such matters based on extensive scientific research on both deer and CWD from across the country. 

Among those provisions listed above, the bill establishes a minimum submission of samples for testing from inside a high-fence enclosure of at least one deer per 200 acres of land under fence, but only authorizes the Executive Director to send agency personnel inside an enclosure to collect samples if CWD has been found within a 5-mile radius. Additionally, the bill eliminates the agency’s ability to depopulate an enclosure if CWD is found inside (which, to date, is the only known and established method of containment and control of captive CWD positive animals).  And, in the most puzzling and alarming amendment, the bill mandates that adjacent and surrounding land within a 5-mile radius CANNOT be placed into a CWD Zone if a positive test is found within an enclosure, unless CWD is positively identified within that adjacent or surrounding area. This provision goes against the very premise of establishing “zones.”

In Mississippi, all white-tailed deer are considered wildlife, and the jurisdiction for captive deer belongs to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP), including the jurisdiction to require and conduct disease sampling in captive herds. It is always important that the jurisdictional agency has a role in crafting regulations and rules that affect the agency’s ability to track and manage CWD. House Bill 382’s language softens penalties for enclosure violations and failure to submit samples, and also includes contradictory or ambiguous provisions that may hinder MDWFP’s ability to collect the number of samples required to effectively monitor and manage CWD in the state. The bill eliminates the agency’s authority and ability to control the spread of CWD once it is detected in a captive herd.

The National Deer Association (NDA, f/k/a the National Deer Alliance and the Quality Deer Management Association) outlines deer diseases as a critical focus area, and slowing the spread of CWD is of primary concern. Undoubtedly, CWD is one of the largest threats to wildlife conservation that we have encountered over the last century. As many states have learned, preventing the spread of this always-fatal disease is a daunting task and early detection and rapid response once the disease is found is critical for long-term management.

The following organizations oppose HB 382 as written. The bill’s current version takes jurisdiction of Mississippi deer and the laws that conserve them away from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and threatens the future of wild deer herds in Mississippi. The bill threatens Mississippi’s wild deer  -  a public resource shared by all of our citizens -  by softening penalties and including contradictory or ambiguous provisions that may hinder MDWFP’s ability to effectively monitor and manage CWD in the state.

Please consider vetoing this bill, for the sake of all of Mississippi’s over 700,000 hunters, and the future of our state’s wild deer population, or if you are unwilling to veto the entire bill, please veto lines in the bill numbered 35-40 and 161-177.


-  The National Deer Association (formerly the National Deer Alliance and the Quality Deer Management Association)

-  Mississippi Wildlife Federation

-  Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

-  Rural Property Rights Association of Mississippi

-  National Wildlife Association


History & text of bill.  



Anonymous said...

Cliff notes please

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget that the MDWFP is partially responsible for setting CWD loose in MS by not destroying infected deer that they had impounded from poachers and thus allowing them to escape their pen during a flood.

Anonymous said...

people who farm deer and hunt them in a high fence enclosure are the epitome of chickenshit.

Anonymous said...

Too bad lawyers get to write these things because there's nothing about these analyses or explanations that are the least bit clear & straightforward. It's hard to tell how the new law would change anything. Please, make your main point up front, supported by short simple sentences in some kind of logical order so people can tell at-a-glance why this supposedly would be a bad law.

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget that the MDWFP "found" CWD over around Eagle Lake and proceeded to kill hundreds of deer in the name of "sample testing" and stoked a lot of fear about the deer herd right about the time they were close to closing on some property they had been trying to buy for several years from Anderson Tully. Funny how that works. I think they found one deer that was suspect but not a large outbreak like they were peddling. But they got a pretty good deal on that land and are now short term leasing public land to hunters for a few days at a time. This land is now called Phil Bryant WMA. Everyone called it a sham and now they are worried about land prices.

Anonymous said...

People who farm deer and hunt them in a high fence enclosure are the epitome of chickenshit


Anonymous said...

10:58 Like shootin fish in a barrel.

Anonymous said...

There are over 700,000 hunters in Mississippi?

Anonymous said...

People who ride 4-wheelers to sit in stands around corn feeders waiting for deer are harvesters, NOT sportsmen or hunters. I propose that CWD is fueled by this type of feeding, and that's what should be addressed.

Anonymous said...

Why are legislators who who have no scientific expertise and who take donations from people who want to breed deer allowed to have anything to do with regulating laws over wildlife anyway? I’ve been a biologist for 20 years and every time lawmakers get involved in our wildlife laws they mess things up - and there is always family land or a big donor behind it.

Anonymous said...

Legislators get their walking orders from the MDWFP commission. They send it up to them to be passed into law. Not the other way around. The commission makes the recommendation based upon input from officers, biologists, or their friends who will benefit. I may be wrong on this, but I remember hearing the main commissioner pushing the feeding and high fence stuff was a local tractor and equipment dealer on the commission. Word at one time is that he had one himself.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the high fence boys have gotten to a few people in the legislature that owed them. High fence people don't like the rules everybody else has to play under to hunt and fish, so they figured out a different route to get around MDWFP and their politically appointed wildlife board. This whole deal is nothing more than the financially elite of this state obtaining their way by means not allowed the majority of its citizens. MDWFP has biologists that are very knowledgeable and would only enact policy that is best for all concerned. This bill is nothing more than a bunch of politically connected, crooked, greedy people attempting to get their way. We ain’t got long.....

Anonymous said...

I have a different (conspiracy) theory: they're actually trying to destroy sport hunting because hunters are the main force opposing gun control. Allowing CWD to spread while pretending to fight against it is one way of doing that.

Anonymous said...

When you let the 'family farmers' and their banker buddies who jam thousands of hogs onto a platform above a giant sewer 'raise' and 'harvest wild animals for fun and profit...what could go wrong? It's not really the 'family farmers fault if it rains and their pig sh*t gets into the streams and rivers is it?

Oh and there is a contagious fatal disease on the loose which can and does spread by the caged deer bidness?

How else is a rich fat guy supposed to have fun anymore?

Anonymous said...

10:50 Here are the cliffs notes:
Those Sportsman's Groups didn't know the half of it....
Bill Yates owns a huge high fence near Philadelphia. Scott and Brad Bounds own property next door to Yates in that county (within 5 miles, to be exact). Scott Bounds sponsored 382. Billy Deviney also owns a high fence and breeds deer. Yates and Deviney are two of Tate Reeves' top campaign donors and two of the wealthiest guys in the state. Deviney is Phillip Gunn's consituent. Robert Taylor, Chairman of MDWFP Commission (another wealthy guy who likes to hunt behind high fences) does business with both Deviney and Yates. Every politician on the conference committee for 382 has hunted behind Yates or Deviney's high fence within the past 6 months. Any questions? Anyone REALLY think Reeves is going to veto this bill? Not a chance.

Anonymous said...

High Fence Hunting ≠ Fair Chase
Hunting over a feeder ≠ Fair Chase

If you don't allow Fair Chase for the game you pursue, then you are neither a sportsman nor a hunter, but rather you are killing your pets, so you might as well stay home and sit on your back porch and shoot your golden retriever and your neighbor's black lab.

Anonymous said...

1:20 Who is "they" you are talking about, and what is "sport hunting" vs regular hunting?

Anonymous said...

Gun Control is a side issue. They don’t need an excuse to curb your 2A rights. At this point the 2A is like the rotten termite infested shell of a dead oak. You lost nearly all your 2A freedom in the 20th century. Go research all we’ve lost since 1900.

They really want people to be totally dependent for food. Harvesting game should only be a privilege for the aristocracy.

Anonymous said...

If you don’t already know who “they” are then there is no point telling you now. That’s censored info on this blog.
One must shroud the truth in metaphor and allegory to get past censorship.

Anonymous said...

@2:05pm - Not all heroes wear capes. Thank you kind sir, signed 10:50am.

Anonymous said...

12:14 PM
Do you have any facts to back that up? To be fair I'm not a fan of hunting over a feeder either.

2:12 PM
Trophy vs sustenance.

Anonymous said...

11:34 -- I won;t leave ya hanging...I have said the same thing for a while now. I 1000% agree.

Anonymous said...

So the pushed the bill through before the public could get a chance to read it huh? Is anyone surprised? So everyone knows what to do the next election right? Crap I’m just glad they could find time to take up CWD in white tail deer. So glad they couldn’t get off their asses or maybe pass some legislation that might help people get off or lower their intake of opioids for pain like that damn medical marijuana thing. Great Job.......

Anonymous said...

@2:05 Preach! You are correct Sir! This too shall pass! Done deal, just needs to be signed by Tater Tot

Anonymous said...

Go ahead, eat the tainted meat, get crazy, and shoot each other. Mississippi will move in warp speed into the future. Yay!

Anonymous said...

For some reason, deer make people do some dumb chit.

Calm Down said...

They should require the deer to wear masks.

Anonymous said...

12:17, Because we have a Republic and not a government of unelected experts — that’s why. And I, for one, prefer it that way. You might prefer that we have a bunch of “smart people” to make decisions for us in a nanny state — but, that’s not the way America is set up and that’s not for me. But, I will hand it to you - your presences do fit really well with modern progressive thought.

Anonymous said...

Why hunt white tails for sport when you can play The Most Dangerous Game on the interstate in Jackson?

Anonymous said...

@2:05- I’m pretty sure those conservation groups knew more than the half of it, but thank you for calling the bad guys by name. It seems some of these same players tried to destroy the Wildlife Federation in 2019 during the Wildlife Extravaganza. Get rid of the Watchdog and the Foxes gets all the hen house.MDWFP is one of the last bastions of rich white wealthy politically connected men that oversees an agency that has always had commissioners that have little concern for conservation or taking the advice of concerned citizens or their dedicated employees. Governor its time to stop that practice and appoint some women and minorities that truly care about conservation. Protect the King’s deer and let the serfs play golf at one of the poorly maintained State Parks.

Anonymous said...

@8:27- Great post! You hit the nail on the head!!! These are the same crooks that had a well executed plan in 2019 to destroy the “MWF Wildlife Extravagza”. But the facts will come to light very soon😂. That plan was put in place well ahead of the show and unfortunately MWF was blind sided or rather sabotaged by an organization that they always considered an ally. They saw a good opportunity to steal an event an line their pockets. Same players that are involved in this high fence debacle.....

Anonymous said...

"Because we have a Republic and not a government of unelected experts."

Huh? Are you suggesting we have a government of elected experts? The fact that we are, nationally, a republic, has zero to do with the fact that MDWFP has always been a governor's play thing populated by good ole boys.

Many of us remember not that many years back when they were forced to begin hiring black males...but nothing really changed with the network.

Anonymous said...

I love a good venison tenderloin.

We need to start farming this food source.

Even the goofy souls on the left coast agree the meat is much healthier than cattle.

Anonymous said...

Hey 9:00pm - Why don’t you go out into the woods and shoot a deer like the rest of the real mean in the state rather than giving money to buy a politician to pass a deer breeding law so you can roll up to Whole Foods in your G Wagon to buy genetically modified venison farmed in a pen and hopped up on hormones? Or better yet move to California where they hate guns and hunting.

Anonymous said...

Why do humans ruin everything?

Anonymous said...

The key here is who introduced this and what district they represent. Wealthy donors, host MDWF Commissioners Hunts/Meals/Liquor at the extravagant Lodges in their Fenced Pens, containing 1000s of acres. But they are aware Deer with CWD have been found due to imported Breeding Bucks from other states with CWD, used to improve the Trophy herd.

The fences have places where deer routinely Escape (creeks are impossible to secure), including those infected with CWD.

Artificial insemination is also used, just like working Cattle. When the Officials responsible for preventing spread CWD IN Mississippi are welcomed anytime to harvest that Trophy Rack + no cost to have it mounted for the said officials, Nothing is going to change.

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