The Missouri Supreme Court has determined the state Conservation department has the authority to regulate private deer hunting ranches and Breeders.
The decision could have a major bearing on the private land hunting of highly coveted big antlered deer, for which some customers pay $40,000 to pursue. After detecting dozens of deer in or near deer hunting ranches or breeding operations infected with the deadly chronic wasting disease, the Conservation Department through its Conservation Commission proposed regulations to take effect in 2015.
The deer hunting ranches and breeders sued to block the regulations and the circuit court in Gasconade County concluded that the deer were not “game” or “wildlife” and, as such, were not subject to regulations from the Conservation Commission. In its reversal of the lower bench, the Supreme Court rejected the contention by the businesses that deer were the equivalent if “livestock” instead of “wildlife” because they were domesticated.
The high bench’s decision means the deer hunting businesses will be banned from importing deer and elk from out of state and will be subject to more rigorous requirements for fencing in the animals and for veterinary inspections and recordkeeping.