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CWD Goes Federal! Good or Bad?

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed H.R. 5608 the Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act. This bill authorizes $70 million annually between fiscal years 2022 and 2028 to be divided equally between CWD research and management efforts. 

“Of this, $35 million will be dedicated annually for CWD research to develop testing methods, enhance detection efforts, better understand genetic resistance, among others. The remaining $35 million will be used for the management of CWD by prioritizing funding for state and tribal wildlife agencies that have the highest incidence of CWD, are demonstrating the most significant commitments to combatting CWD, are facing the greatest risk of new CWD cases, and more.”

There’s an old saying, “follow the money” and it’s intended to ferret out the source of a fishy smell surrounding an issue and there is no bigger issue in wildlife management today than CWD. Therefore it makes sense that if the federal government was to “get behind” an issue it would be this one. It also stands to reason that by earmarking half of the $70 million to state and tribal wildlife agencies experiencing “the greatest risk” that states would ramp up their testing and searching for CWD so that they can get their share of the money to help prop up sagging budgets. The money trail is startlingly clear on this one. Want a piece of the pie? Start showing more CWD incidence. The higher the prevalence rate of CWD the more money the feds will throw your way. Things that make you go, hmmmm. 

Understanding more about CWD is not a bad thing and my hope is that states use this money to learn more about the disease before implementing drastic, half-baked and dangerously short sighted “management measures” like the culling of mature mule deer bucks on the winter range! Yes, that’s actually part of more than one state’s management plan that for now, has been stalled, thankfully. 

More knowledge and understanding is always a good thing but modern society’s tendency to base policy on emotion and feelings instead of cold, hard scientific fact is dangerous at best and could very well lead to the extirpation of the West’s iconic mule deer herds, all thanks to the boogeyman named CWD. We are seeing the dismantling of sound wildlife management practice all across the West from CWD cull hunts to demands for the closure of elk feed grounds due to the possibility of CWD contamination. What will this look like now that federal taxpayer dollars are dangling in front of state wildlife agencies? 

Like I said, my hope is that this money is used wisely for study. If so it could make a huge difference in the fight against CWD. If not? Well, I don’t want to imagine that scenario for both our ungulate herds and the future of hunting. 

I’m very interested to hear your opinions on this. 



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  1. Jesus Christ – really ! $70 million to research !

    Just Put $70 million into habitat habitat improvement with planting buck brush / antelope brush and the population of mulies would rebound u idiots ! Amazing but no surprise when u involve government especially Federal government! Habitat improvement is key to turn things around not research by college douche bags that make charts and data !

  2. I’d much rather see $70m spent on the border wall and let the states handle the animals.

  3. Pure coincidence that Idaho supposedly just had 1st cases of CWD and in the middle of the state. I was suspicious it was staged and then I read this…wow.

  4. Handouts from the feds ALWAYS come with (political) strings attached. I can see the anti-hunters & animal “rights” activists that influence so many in the fed gov’t getting their hands on this to the detriment of hunting and conservation. This is not good.

  5. michael ukrainetz

    CWD will become as political and disastrous as Covid! Lies upon lies to dismantle the North American Wildlife Management Model. It’s pure anti hunting, propped up by clueless and deceptive “expert” biologists. CWD has been in Colorado for over 60 years, still lots of deer in that State.

  6. How long has CWD been around ?
    Where did it originate ?
    Was it made in a lab too ?
    How long has that Dr. F. been lurking around making
    v-jabs & flu shots ?
    You know what they say, Control the food……..

  7. If money is going to be spent it would be great to fully understand the role that captive populations of deer and elk have in spreading CWD. Once we understand this relationship, if one exists, then we can make decisions that affect the way that the captive ungulate populations are managed. Hopefully this is a relationship the Federal government investigates with the allocated funds.
    As a hunter it’s amazing that we absorb cull seasons, meat testing, and even discarding our meat all while large captive ungulate populations often fall under the jurisdiction of state departments of Agriculture that do not have hunters’ best interests in mind.
    With Federal money involved I hope CWD risks outside of what the state game and fish departments often look at can be identified.
    Please continue to share updates and information as this bill goes into action.
    Thank you for sharing!

  8. Not going to be a good thing on my opinion. They states that are battling this disease the numbers are just going to go up so they can get more money. Then they just want to kill everything off and then raise the license price. That’s what they are doing in Central Michigan. Then when the hunting license sales goes down they can’t figure out why.

  9. The level of paranoia at Eastman’s must be exhausting. The only thing more disappointing than this article is that Todd Helms wrote it. I’ve been a huge fan of Eastman’s for a long time (especially Todd and Brian Barney’s work) and it’s been very disappointing to see the views there grow increasingly anti-science, anti-government and even sink into paranoia. You should be talking about the effects of agriculture, food plots, game farms and development. These are things that concentrate deer and spread disease. But to Eastman’s CWD is a “boogeyman”, a plot by the government, follow the money, Idaho is planting CWD to get cash…pure rubbish. Look at the comments about this article…your breeding this ridiculous paranoia, hell even Fauci is involved? Meanwhile the most iconic animal of the west dwindles away…good job Eastman’s! I see no reason at this point to continue to support you. But I do wish you luck, you love hunting and we could really use your voice. But it appears you’re wrapped around the same axle of fear and paranoia gripping much of the country. Healthy skepticism and debate is good, groundless conspiracies, paranoia and alternative facts is damaging. Nobody is more bummed to see you go down that rabbit hole than me. Good luck.

    • I had to drop my subscription to Eastman’s as I saw the way they were heading. It is too bad as I enjoy hunting and the advocacy of public land hunting. My money and time can be better spent with other groups.

  10. Wow Eastman’s. Sad to see Helms steep so low in spreading paranoia. I’m done with what used to be a decent publication.

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