Deer hunters may encounter escaped pen-raised deer

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) wants to alert Louisiana hunters to the possibility of encountering escaped pen-raised deer this season due to damage from Hurricane Laura and other storms this year.

Hunters who possess a Louisiana Big Game Hunting License may take these free-ranging, escaped alternative livestock animals, which include fallow, axis, sika and white-tailed deer, elk, red deer and other exotic hoof stock.

Escaped white-tailed deer may have ear tags, however, distinguishing those animals from native deer may not be possible. In Louisiana, captive exotics are listed as alternative livestock and fall under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF). Alternative livestock owners must recover escaped alternative livestock within 96 hours of escape and notification. Many of the exotics associated with escapes during Hurricane Laura will likely be free ranging during the 2020 fall hunting season.

Hunters and other members of the public are asked to report sightings of these animals to LDWF. Hunters who harvest any of these animals are encouraged to contact LDWF to have the animals tested for chronic wasting disease.

If you see or harvest a suspected pen-raised deer, contact LDWF wildlife field offices at https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/contact-us or after-hours at 1-800-442-2511.

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