Tomorrow is the deadline for Missourians to comment on the Conservation Department’s new regulations for farmers who want to raise deer.  But an important political decision could make the regulations moot.

The legislature will consider next month whether to override the Governor’s veto of a bill transferring regulation of deer farming from the Conservation Department to the Agriculture Department.  Conservation says it’s not assuming the veto will stand as it solicits comments about new regulations  that requires fences deer can’t jump over, improved record-keeping when the deer are shipped, and mandatory testing for chronic wasting disease for deer that die in captivity.

Department deputy director Tim Ripperger says testing is needed “to get a better handle” on Chronic Wasting Disease, which attacks the animal’s nervous system and is always fatal, in captivity and in the wild. “We did find it in a facility in north-central Missouri and the wild herd where we found it has been  …within two miles of that captive facility,” he says.

He’s not saying the disease originated in the captive facility.  But halting the spread of the disease is so important that the new rules ban captive deer operations within 25 miles  of places where CWD has been found.

The regulations also ban the importation of live white-tailed deer, mule deer, and their hybrids from other states being in captive cervid operations.  The rules require fences that deer can’t jump over and space between double fences to keep outside deer from touching noses with impounded deer. It bans captive deer operations with 25 miles of any place where CWD has been confirmed.

Comments should be sent to the Secretary of State’s office by tomorrow although the department will keep taking them for a while longer.

AUDIO: Ripperger 5:56