Overview of the issue
Chronic Wasting Disease is spreading alarmingly among deer herds in states all across the country, creating uncertainty for hunters and driving up costs for wildlife agencies faced with the prospect of controlling the disease.
This disease could have huge impacts on the future of deer hunting and funding for wildlife habitat conservation, as 80 percent of all hunters hunt deer and contribute the most money through the purchase of licenses and gear. Testing for the disease is costly and time consuming, and the presence of CWD-positive deer already has some hunters questioning whether their venison is safe to eat.
Failing to deal with the spread of CWD will certainly increase the challenges associated with recruiting and retaining more hunters. That’s why the TRCP, Archery Trade Association, National Wildlife Federation, National Deer Alliance, Quality Deer Management Association, and Wildlife Management Institute have come together to get deer hunters involved.
How you can help
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is currently revising their standards for CWD management on deer farms, and they need to hear from deer hunters across the country. Real and meaningful steps must be taken by the federal government to finally begin to control this emerging epidemic.
If the USDA doesn’t act soon, the very future of hunting and wildlife conservation could be at stake. Hunters have played a major role in the recovery of deer herds on the North American landscape, one of the best conservation success stories in our history. But we must do our part again—tell national decision makers to join us.
- Get to know the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance, a joint project of the Boone and Crockett Club, Mule Deer Foundation, and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
- Download APHIS’s Chronic Wasting Disease Program Standards
Top photo courtesy of Northwoods Collective