Captive Deer Regulations Remain With Missouri Department of Conservation

September 10, 2014 was a special day for the Conservation Federation of Missouri. It marked the 79thanniversary of the formation of their organization, and now also marks the day CFM helped end legislation that would have reclassified captive white-tailed deer from wildlife to livestock.

Senate Bill 506 was an agriculture omnibus bill that contained legislation to transfer control of captive deer from the Missouri Department of Conservation to the Missouri Department of Agriculture. The bill died on September 10 when the House of Representatives fell one vote shy of the 109 they needed to override Governor Nixon’s veto. The Senate vote to override passed by two votes.

CFM members put their heart and soul into ending this legislation and protecting wildlife. The power of motivated citizens working for a cause they believe in never ceases to amaze. We know white-tailed deer are wildlife. We know it doesn’t matter what side of a fence they are on. We are grateful to the legislators who voted to end this senseless legislation.

The founding fathers of CFM must be mighty proud of us today. CFM members who came before us fought to protect and promote the natural resources of Missouri. Yesterday we left our mark with a win for this generation of conservationists.

Our friend, Collin O’Mara, the CEO of the National Wildlife Federation said, “This is a victory for wildlife and Missourians. Governor Nixon’s veto of legislation that would have transferred regulation of deer farms to the state agriculture department sends a message that the people’s wildlife is a benefit to everyone, not for privatization and profit. We hope that this victory provides other states facing the same challenges with a clear path forward based upon sound science and protecting wildlife.”

On behalf of the Conservation Federation of Missouri and millions of Missouri wildlife enthusiasts, we thank the 52 state representatives for their commitment to sportsmen and the millions of Missourians who simply appreciate wildlife.

CFM understands the importance and believes in the strength of the state’s agricultural industry. We believe agriculture and conservation must work together, and CFM is committed to helping further efforts to do so for the greater good of our state. Yet, the captive cervid language in SB 506 was damaging to those efforts. It should have never been added to the agriculture omnibus bill. A political maneuver to backdoor bad legislation backfired. Hopefully, the good legislation that suffered because of politics can be passed as stand alone bills during the next legislative session.

To the Representatives who made the difficult but correct choice to vote against SB 506, the conservation community of Missouri thanks you. We will not forget who our friends are.

Brandon Butler

Executive Director

Conservation Federation of Missouri