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Yet Another Version of SB2493 – (Deer Feeding Bill)  Emerges

Wednesday, May 23

Springfield - Today the House Agricultural and Conservation Committee moved out a third version of SB 2493 as House Floor Amendment #2, with only one committee member voting no.

The PDF of the SB2493 HFA2 can be found here.

The hearing initially was held on Tuesday, May 23, but the new house floor amendment #2 had not been made available at the time of the hearing so a robust discussion was held regarding its content and the history and reasoning behind the changes made. No formal action was taken, and the hearing was recessed and rescheduled for today.  There are some important and noteworthy changes from House Amendment 1 that was initially filed:

• U of I Prairie Research Institute is now lead on the research study,  to act in consultation with IDNR and The U of I College of Veterinary Medicine.

• Study length shall be for a minimum of five years.

• Study parameters shall be: health and social effects of supplemental feeding deer feeding on the wild deer population outside of any deer hunting season and whether
      supplemental deer feeding affects the risk of disease transmission in the deer population

• Private landowners will not be allowed to offer supplemental feed during the first year of the study. The first year will be used as baseline setting period.

• Supplemental feeding may not occur on private lands during the first year of the study.

• Supplemental feeding in the remaining years may only occur February 1 – August 15.

• The study must be conducted statewide.

• For the purpose of the study shall include any supplemental food source (not limited to just minerals or commercial feed supplements).

• Supplemental deer feeding is permitted on private lands through voluntary participation.

• Public lands may NOT be utilized as supplemental deer feeding areas and must be utilized to obtain non-supplemental feeding specimens throughout the study.

It’s also worth noting that IDNR was neutral on the Senate Amendment, but the position changed to proponent to support the study in HFA # 1 and HFA#2.  During the hearing it was stressed that IDNR remains opposed to baiting, and further remains opposed to supplemental feeding, but was a proponent of the study to facilitate the gathering of additional data to be used going forward in regulation development.

At multiple times it was expressed during the hearing that IDNR could halt the study at any time during its course if an increase in disease spread was noted, or otherwise it was determined that the study and supplemental feeding could be detrimental to the health of the herd. This is not however noted in the language of the amendment.

The bill now heads to the House floor.

 

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