Hunters clash with Dept. of Conservation over Chronic Wasting Disease

Oct 30, 2012

Missouri hunters disagree over The Department of Conservation’s actions to combat Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, a neurological disease that affects deer.

Many free-range hunters support the actions, yet some breeders and preserve operators say they are being unnecessarily targeted for the spread of CWD. Former President of the MO Big Game Association and preserve operator Sam James said the Department of Conservation is blaming CWD on them because they do not like gaming preserves.

“We found it in 2010, and they jumped on the bandwagon afterwards and started looking for it," James said. "And that’s the way they like to do it. They like us to do all the testing and finding.  And, then when we find it, they come and follow-up and blame us for the disease.”

Founder of the Missouri Deer Hunter Association Tony Kalna said he thinks the Department of Conservation is doing the right thing.

“The Department of Conservation has nothing to gain at all by having a serious concern over this Chronic Wasting Disease," Kalna said. "I mean, they have nothing to gain over this."

Spokesperson for the Department of Conservation Joe Jerek said they simply want to preserve the rich hunting heritage in Missouri.

“All of the actions we’re taking we are looking at science and best practices from other states, and in that area really trying to limit the spread of that disease," Jerek said.

To add to the fire, the Department of Conservation is attempting to pass legislation that bans any new game preserves in Missouri in an attempt to combat CWD. Most agree CWD needs to be monitored, but not everyone can agree on how to do so.