Would Senator’s Double-Fence Plan Protect Wild Deer?

A bill filed by an Iowa senator would impact the captive deer market in an effort to help protect the state’s wild deer population from chronic wasting disease.

The Muscatine Journal reported that Dick Dearden, D-Des Moines, filed Senate Bill 59 on Jan. 28. Dearden is the chairman of the state’s Natural Resources Committee Chairman. The bill would require deer farms to have two boundary fences, including increasing the height from eight to 10 feet and the secondary fence also would have to be 10 feet.

The cost of a fence around a deer farm in Pottawattamie County where CWD was discovered was $97,000. But Dearden said the financial impact of the disease on wild deer in the state would be far greater

“Look at the cost to the Iowa economy” if CWD spread into the wild deer herd, he said in the Muscatine report. “How expensive would it be if we lost our (wild) herd?”

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said deer hunting $137 million and a $214 million economic impact annually, while supporting more than 2,800 jobs in the state. Deer hunting also generates almost $30 million in federal and state tax revenue.

Read the full report here.