New Rules on Deer Importation

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The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission passed three resolutions regarding captive deer at their September 5 meeting in an attempt to prevent the introduction of chronic wasting disease (CWD) into Louisiana deer populations. The actions were taken on advice from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists.

The first resolution amended the language of a previous declaration of emergency that placed a ban on the importation of deer and elk. The addendum states: "No person shall receive or possess deer or elk imported or transported" into Louisiana in violation of the original rule and that persons "accepting delivery or taking possession of deer or elk from another person" are responsible for maintaining all paperwork indicating the source of the animals involved in the transfer.

The second resolution introduced a new declaration of emergency that begins immediately and a notice of intent to make the rule permanent. The rule states that LDWF will no longer issue game breeder licenses to possess deer. The rule allows for persons already in the permitting process to complete construction and inspection of their facilities by October 4. Special concerns including the transfer of license among immediate family members was also addressed. This rule is intended to stop the expansion of deer pens into new areas and thus reduce the potential for transmission of CWD from captive deer to wild deer.

The final resolution was an official request from the commission that "the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry place a moratorium on the issuance of new alternative livestock licenses for deer and elk." Without the cooperation of LDAF, deer enclosures will continue to proliferate and increase the opportunity for CWD to be transmitted from captive deer and elk to wild white-tailed deer.

LDWF Wildlife Division Administrator Tommy Prickett explained to the commission that though Louisiana has no known cases of CWD among its deer populations, captive or wild, several states do, and almost all cases in wild deer can be traced to captive herds. Prickett also outlined plans for a 2002-2003 season effort to test up to 500 Louisiana deer for CWD from wildlife management areas and Deer Management Assistance Program participants around the state. The LDAF will be testing deer from alternative livestock enclosures for CWD.

For more information, contact Fred Kimmel at 225/765-2355 kimmel_f@wlf.state.la.us