A Senate committee has approved legislation that would set up a task force to look for ways to revitalize Missouri deer hunting areas affected by chronic wasting disease.
Senator Brian Munzlinger presented the bill and said he has met with the Department of Conservation, but there is disagreement about what should happen.
“This is a little different take to allow outside groups to actually study the issue,” said Munzlinger.
Munzlinger claims the Department of Conservation has thinned out the herd in some areas and it has caused land prices to go down. Munzlinger said CWD is growing in certain areas.
“It appears that deer probably are going to be a long time before they come back in because we’ve had more CWD positive test come up this year again,” said Munzlinger. “We need to look at some of these areas that have been hit hard with this disease and then actually had the herd depopulated to an extent that it has caused land value decreases.”
The 14 member task force would consist of lawmakers, landowners, and wildlife group members. One member from Quail Forever, Pheasants Forever, Whitetails Unlimited, and the Conservation Federation of Missouri would be allowed to sit on the task force.
Conservation Federation of Missouri Director Brandon Butler spoke in support of the bill and acknowledged that CWD is a growing issue.
“We’re open to working with the Senator and other members of the committee to explore options and hopefully be able to work with the Department of Conservation to possibly implement some of the findings we have,” said Butler.
Butler said he is also a landowner concerned with the economy and how CWD will affect small towns. Butler said deer season is an economic boom time for many rural communities.