The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies Commends the Missouri Supreme Court Ruling on Captive Deer and Elk

July 6, 2018

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies commends the Missouri Supreme Court ruling that reaffirms the Missouri Department of Conservation’s authority to regulate captive deer and elk in their state, reversing an earlier lower court ruling.  This week, in a unanimous decision, the Court handed down the opinion that even if animals are confined or born in captivity, if that animal is wild by nature, it is considered wildlife and thus under the purview of the conservation department.  

This decision will aid the Missouri Department of Conservation in implementing measures to combat the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).  CWD is a deadly illness in white-tailed deer and other members of the deer family, called cervids. CWD kills all deer and other cervids it infects. The disease has been found in Missouri and is slowly spreading. The Missouri Department of Conservation is working with conservation partners to find cases and limit its spread. The first cases of CWD in Missouri were detected in 2010 and 2011 in captive deer at private big-game breeding and hunting facilities.

You can view the Missouri Supreme Court Summary and Full Ruling online.  To learn more about Chronic Wasting Disease in Missouri click here.

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. The Association represents its state agency members on Capitol Hill and before the Administration to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding and works to ensure that all entities work collaboratively on the most important issues. The Association also provides member agencies with coordination services on cross-cutting as well as species-based programs that range from birds, fish habitat and energy development to climate change, wildlife action plans, conservation education, leadership training and international relations. Working together, the Association’s member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice.