The Conservation Commission could approve the final regulations for captive deer herds later this week.
The legislature tried to take that rule-making authority away from the Conservation Department earlier this year. But the Governor vetoed the bill, campaigned against a veto override, and lawmakers couldn’t get the votes to make the override happen.
The Department staff has tinkered with its original proposal. But Deputy Director Tim Ripperger says the purpose is the same–to fight Chronic Wasting Disease. “Class I and Class II breeders and big-game hunting preserves would be required to test all mortalities of deer that are older than six months for Chronic Wasting Disease,” he says. “We would allow permittees to apply for an exemption to those mandatory testing requirements in the event of a mass casualty event,” such as an outbreak of hemorrhagic disease. They also have to take part in a USDA program that certifies the health of the captive herd.
The original recommendations called for two fences to keep tame deer in and wild deer out. The proposal going to the commission requires only one eight-foot tall fence. The ten-footer has been eliminated although Ripperger says that’s considered the “gold standard” for captive deer raising.