Florida Fish and Wildlife Push Further Restrictions to Prevent Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease

OUTDOORS

   12.22.20

Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants to extend restrictions on bringing deer carcasses and meat with the bones and skin still attached into the state as a means to prevent CWD from infecting the deer population. Currently, there’s an exception in place for people bringing deer from Georgia and Alabama, but this latest proposal from the FWC would put an end to that.

As of now, the disease has not been found in Florida deer, and the aim is to get out ahead of any possible infections by implementing further restrictions on deer coming in from other states.

And while this proposal makes a lot of sense on paper, several Florida hunters are concerned about local businesses – such as taxidermists.

“If this rule goes through, my understanding is now Georgia—their local economy is going to get all of my deer,” hunter Chris Berry told WUSF. “Because I’m going to have to drop it to their local taxidermist. And I bring typically, actually for the last four years, two bucks a year to my taxidermist down here in Levy County to do my deer. So, it’s going to affect that local person. I think probably three-quarters of her deer [are] from out of state.”

Still, due the grim nature of the disease and the rate at which it is spreading, officials say these measures are the best way to slow the disease from entering Florida.

“It is not pretty,” said Newton Cook, who serves on the FWC Deer Management Technical Advisory Group. “[The deer] just literally waste away, horrible looking, skin, and bones, and stumbling. It’s not an easy way to go.”

In the proposal, the FWC has a minor exception for deer harvested along state lines. For those wondering what exactly they CAN bring across the Florida border, deboned meat IS allowed, as are finished projects from taxidermists; skulls, skull caps, and teeth if the flesh is removed.




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