Mississippi House Bill 1026 (HB 1026), which is endorsed by the National Deer Association (NDA), recently passed out of both the House Ways & Means and Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Committees. The bill specifies that only the full Mississippi legislature can pass an exception to the absolute prohibition on the sale of deer in Mississippi and that the Mississippi Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (Commission) does not have the authority to pass a regulation allowing the sale of deer.
Please consider joining the NDA in supporting this important legislation. The Commission has taken recent steps to potentially initiate rulemaking that would allow for the sale of deer in the state. HB 1026 provides a clear legislative mandate regarding the Commission’s authority to take such action. CLICK HERE to ask Speaker of the House Philip Gunn to bring the bill to the House floor for debate.
The NDA’s mission is to ensure the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat, and hunting. The future of all three rely on management decisions founded in sound scientific principles. Based on recent actions and proposals by the Commission, the NDA has concerns about the guiding influences in the Commission’s decisions. HB 1026 recognizes and strengthens existing Mississippi law that supports the classification of Mississippi’s deer as wildlife and prohibits the buying and selling of an important public trust resource. One of the principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is that wildlife cannot be bought or sold. The NDA supports the North American Model, and we oppose the buying and selling of Mississippi’s deer, which are classified, by law, as wildlife.
Additionally, translocation of cervids for restoration purposes has been a successful strategy in North America that gained widespread public approval. However, the need for restoration has passed and most agency restoration programs have been abandoned or continue as a result of political motivations. The current trapping and translocation of cervids to increase populations for hunting, provide trophy animals for canned hunts, or to alter the genetic characteristics of a herd raises ethical questions. Important issues include a need for understanding the historical role of trapping and translocation of cervids, potential disease transmission (especially chronic wasting disease (CWD)), conservation and genetic issues, and legal issues. These issues are also relevant to movements of other cervid species that could potentially harbor CWD. We oppose all movements of live cervids, by private individuals or wildlife agencies, until a reliable and practical live-animal CWD test exists.