- Associated Press - Friday, June 2, 2017

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - An advocacy group has submitted language for initiative petitions that seek a statewide vote to impose significant changes on the captive-deer industry in Missouri.

Missouri Hunters for Fair Chase submitted four versions of a petition in March to the Missouri secretary of state, which has since been cut to two versions.

The petitions’ language pushes to close the state’s borders to captive deer from other states, the Columbia Missourian (https://bit.ly/2rsPR2j ) reported.

The hunting group’s website said it aims to protect the native deer population and limit the killing of confined big game, such as elk, deer, moose, mountain goats and javelin.

According to conservation group Boone and Crockett Club, “fair chase” is defined on its website as the “ethical, sportsmanlike and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.”

“Fair chase is a big component of this, but really it’s about protecting the healthy deer herd in Missouri for all citizens,” Fair Chase secretary Steve Jones said.

Jones thinks the group’s petition could also provide a solution to the chronic wasting disease that’s infecting deer’s neurological system.

“The only way to fix this problem is to have the people of Missouri speak,” he said.

The group hopes to select a petition soon and be ready to collect signatures in June. If it can collect the required signatures, which is at least 8 percent of voters who participated in the 2016 vote for governor, the proposal will be placed on a statewide ballot in 2018.

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Information from: Columbia Missourian, https://www.columbiamissourian.com

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