Senate and House legislators held a press conference this week to outline a comprehensive plan to address the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) outbreak in Minnesota’s white tail deer population. This disease is always fatal to deer, and studies show that once it infects more than one-third of the population, entire herds may be decimated. This could put the future of deer hunting at risk in Minnesota.
There are four main components to the legislative package: the first bill aims to contain captive deer herds and reduce contact between farmed and wild deer, which would include requiring private white-tailed deer businesses to have 10-foot double perimeter fences. The second enacts a moratorium on new captive deer operations, restrictions on moving deer to new locations, and create a voluntary buy-out option for existing white-tailed deer operations, giving businesses the opportunity to leave the captive deer industry. The third moves the regulatory oversight of farmed white-tail deer farms from the Board of Animal Health to the DNR. The last bill would provide $1.56 million to the DNR in FY2020 for long-term control and prevention of the disease.