Louisiana House of Representatives Comittee votes Chronic Wasting Disease Management Rule acceptable

Published 3:24 pm Wednesday, August 3, 2022

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BATON ROUGE — Louisiana’s House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee met Wednesday to discuss a proposed rule from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. This rule would implement the state’s Chronic Wasting Disease management plan in select parishes. 

Ten out of 16 committee members were present and they voted that the rule was acceptable 9-0 and ended the meeting by voting to adjourn according to the house of representatives roll call document. 

LDWF instituted its CWD Management Plan in Franklin, Tensas and Madison parishes in response to a CWD positive detection on Jan. 28 of an adult buck harvested in Tensas Parish. CWD is a disease that is always fatal to deer and can not currently be eradicated. Tensas Parish’s buck was the first deer with CWD recorded in the state, making Louisiana the 28th state to discover the disease, now occurring in 29 states. There is still research being done on how CWD spreads but it is passed via prions which are capable of staying in the landscape long after a deer dies.

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The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) approved the NOI during its April meeting and opened the NOI for public comment. The Notice of Intent reads:

  • Baiting, placement of bait, or hunting over bait is prohibited within an LDWF designated CWD Control Area.
  • The export of any cervid carcass or part of a cervid carcass originating within an LDWF designated CWD Control Area is prohibited, except for meat that is cut and wrapped; meat that has been boned out; quarters, or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached, antlers, clean skull plates with antlers, cleaned skulls without tissue attached, capes, tanned hides, finished taxidermy mounts and cleaned cervid teeth.
  • Approved parts transported out of the CWD Control Area must be legally possessed. Approved parts must contain a possession tag with the hunter’s name, address, LDWF license number, parish of harvest, date of harvest, and sex of deer. 
  • Before the 2022-23 deer hunting season, LDWF is directed to determine whether there is sufficient capacity to perform taxidermy services for cervids taken within the Control Area and report those findings to the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. If it is determined that there is insufficient capacity to provide adequate taxidermy services for cervids harvested within the Control Area, LDWF shall establish a permitting system to be in effect no later than the opening of the 2022-23 deer hunting season to allow for uncleaned cervid heads to be transported out of the Control Area solely for taxidermy purposes.

LDWF Deer Program Manager Johnathan Bordelon said the commission secretary signed the notice of intent and passed it on to the Senate and House Committees. After the House Committee approved the rule it will now go before the Senate Committee on Natural Resources. 

If the rules are approved by August 10, it would go into effect by August 20.

Currently, Tensas, Madison and Franklin Parishes are under a declaration of emergency prohibiting carcass transport and supplemental feeding. Bordelon said an LDWF declaration of emergency lasts up to 180 days and can be extended or rescinded at any time if deemed necessary. 

He said during the April meeting their CWD Management Plan began 20 years ago and has been developed based on what is scientifically the best practice. They are now on their fourth plan. When the positive was discovered, Louisiana was able to react quickly. 

DNA Test Results

Louisiana sent the DNA to Texas A&M to have it tested in order to determine if the deer was local or if it had northern lineage. This could give the LDWF some idea as to if the deer was brought into the state or if it was a native deer to the area. 

Bordelon said they currently await the final results.