The Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) is responsible for the management of the state's fish and wildlife resources. Among other duties, the agency must classify wildlife and establish rules and regulations governing the time, place, manner, and methods used to harvest or enjoy fish and wildlife. Specifically, this includes the authority to:
DFW may establish disease interdiction and control check stations that may be signed from roadsides, including state highways and interstates. Signage must indicate which diseases or infestations are being investigated, and what fish, wildlife, shellfish, and seaweed are being checked. The signage must be placed in coordination with the Department of Transportation.
Check stations must be operated in a safe manner. A person who encounters a disease interdiction and control check station while transporting fish, wildlife, shellfish, or seaweed in their possession is requested to stop at the check station and allow the fish, wildlife, shellfish, or seaweed in their possession to be inspected and sampled for the diseases or infestations. The disease interdiction and control check stations would not apply to aquaculture, aquatic farmers, or private sector cultured aquatic products.
The committee recommended a different version of the bill than what was heard. PRO: This is an important tool to allow DFW to monitor for wildlife diseases, especially chronic wasting disease. With chronic wasting disease spreading in neighboring states and Canada, it is important to have visible check stations along highways for hunters to ensure that their meat is not contaminated. These check points will be voluntary for hunters to allow DFW to sample for diseases. There tends to be good compliance among hunters, and voluntary check points avoid the legal and monetary issues of mandatory check points. Disease detection and prevention is important with chronic wasting disease, which can spread and if it ends up in the soil, can last for years.