Missouri Deer Farmers Win Lawsuit on Deer Ownership

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Missouri Deer Association is pleased to announce the favorable court ruling that supports the private property rights of Missouri farmers and ranchers. The court ruling in Donald Hill, et al. v. Missouri Department of Conservation, et al. held that deer farmers retain full and private ownership of deer born and raised on their property.

“We are very pleased the judge agreed that the State of Missouri does not have — and cannot take — ownership of privately owned animals. The deer in question have never been a part of the wild,” says Jacques deMoss, President of the Missouri Deer Association. “These deer were born and raised on private farms with considerable financial investment from deer farmers, while the state has invested nothing in them. The Conservation Department used the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease as justification for trying to take an ownership interest in these deer. We share Conservation’s concern about CWD, just as we are concerned about all of the diseases that can affect animals. In fact, the deer farmers who have invested millions of their own dollars in acquiring and raising these deer have a greater financial stake than anyone in seeing that they remain disease free. We fully support the Conservation Department’s efforts to control the spread of CWD in the wild population and hope that it continues to improve its surveillance of deer in the wild.”

deMoss explains that Missouri deer farmers have always affirmed that the Missouri Department of Agriculture is the appropriate agency to regulate privately owned deer, just as the agency regulates other privately owned animals in the state.

“In fact, the Department of Agriculture has regulated our industry for years and actually had its own regulations governing the importation of private deer and testing of harvested deer for CWD before Conservation tried to ban importation completely,” adds deMoss. “Those regulations are consistent with the standards adopted by the United States Department of Agriculture. It is absurd that one state agency would attempt to ban what another agency from the same branch of state government allows subject to certain regulations.”

Established in 2001, the Missouri Deer Association represents a voice for the whitetail breeders and hunting ranches. With all the state regulations, MDA seeks to unite deer farmers and sportsmen to address important issues of agriculture and conservation. The MDA closely watches legislative issues concerning the whitetail industry and regularly meets with the Department of Agriculture and Missouri Department of Conservation to discuss regulations relating to the whitetail deer industry.

For more information about MDA and membership, visit www.