The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) applauds the Missouri legislature for upholding Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of bills that would have re-classified captive deer as “livestock,” putting them under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture instead of the Department of Conservation. An attempt to override the veto on September 10 failed by one vote.
“It is imperative that captive deer be managed in a way that protects the health of wild deer and the tradition of ethical hunting,” said Brian Murphy, CEO of QDMA. “For that reason, QDMA believes captive deer should always be classified as wildlife and should be under the regulatory authority of state wildlife agencies.”
In the debate over the proposed transfer of authority, both the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Department of Agriculture expressed opposition to such a change.
The effort to override the veto even brought official comment from Johnny Morris of Missouri, founder of Bass Pro Shops, who sent a letter to every member of the Missouri legislature just prior to the vote. “A major loss to the white-tailed deer population in Missouri would be devastating to our company and to Missouri,” Morris wrote. “I am very much opposed to the override of the Governor’s veto. An override could put our wild deer population in jeopardy. We can’t take that chance.”
The proposed transfer of authority also raised significant opposition from hunters and conservation groups in Missouri as well as national organizations, including QDMA. Many Missouri QDMA members and Branch volunteers also worked against the transfer of authority.
“Missouri is widely acknowledged as having one of the most successful wildlife management programs in the United States, and this is due in large part to the 1937 constitutional amendment creating an apolitical, science-based conservation agency with exclusive authority over forests, fish and wildlife,” said Kip Adams, QDMA’s Director of Education & Outreach. “Governor Nixon’s veto of HB 1326 and SB 506 and the recent legislative vote to uphold that veto will ensure the constitutional authority is maintained and Missouri’s wildlife programs will remain strong.”
Logo courtesy Quality Deer Management Association