Proposed Regulation Amendment

4VAC15-90-294. Game: Deer. Rehabilitation of cervids.

Summary

The proposal is govern the transport, and possession of juvenile and adult cervids for the purpose of rehabilitation.

Text of Regulation

Rationale

Rehabilitation of adult deer prohibited

Although few permittees would attempt to rehabilitate adult cervids, there have been several instances where doing so has placed the rehabilitator and others in danger (e.g., near traffic). Without adequate holding stalls and prior cervid handling experience, both human caretakers and rehabilitated cervids may be at risk for serious injury while the animals are held in captivity. Additionally, cervids are considered one of the more difficult wildlife species to successfully rehabilitate, and it is rare for a rehabilitated adult cervid to be returned to the wild with a good prognosis for survival. Further, the Department prohibits movement of cervids to exhibitors due to disease transmission concerns. This regulation section also clarifies that any rehabilitator who takes in a fawn or calf cannot continue to hold the juvenile cervid after December 31, preventing a rehabilitator from becoming a de facto exhibitor. For reasons stated above, rarely is continued rehabilitation the appropriate option for a fawn or calf that is not releasable by December 31. If subsections A or B of this regulation section are not approved as proposed, an amendment will be needed to prohibit the rehabilitation of juvenile cervids in Frederick and Shenandoah counties to conform this regulation to the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) management actions that have been in effect since April 2010 under the Director's authority per 4VAC15-20-220.

Rehabilitation restrictions in or near areas designated by the Department for disease management

Restrictions on rehabilitation of cervids within or near areas designated by the Department for disease management (i.e., Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Containment Area) will conform this regulation to the CWD management actions that have been in effect since April 2010 under the Director's authority per 4VAC15-20-220. CWD management actions did not require regulation changes, and changes have not been sought so that management flexibility could be maintained during the first few years following CWD detection in Virginia. However, the absence of regulations related to specific management actions has hindered prosecution of some violations of requirements. Given that the agency's disease management approach is not likely to change in the near future, current management actions can now be established in regulation. If necessary, modifications to management actions can be made under Director's authority between regulation cycles. Boundaries of the areas designated for disease management are not specified in the regulation section but will be designated annually via the hunting law digest, the agency website, and press releases.

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