MONROE, LA. (KNOE) - Congressman Ralph Abraham is trying to put an end to a deadly disease affecting deer.
Congressman Ralph Abraham introduced a bill aimed to study the way chronic wasting disease is spread in deer.
"The whitetail is really the main thing that we do," said John Cooper, a hunter.
Cooper has been a deer hunter his whole life. but now, he's having second thoughts.
"It's a disease we don't know a lot about and how it has transferred, how these animals are getting it, the particular case in Mississippi that they found,” Cooper said. “Where did it come from?"
He's talking about chronic wasting disease - a deadly disease affecting deer in the south. One with no known cure.
It's a disease that may affect the people who hunt them, too.
"It causes neurological symptoms such as staggering, blindness, abnormal behaviors and we just simply don't know how it's transmitted," said Abraham.
Abraham says over the years, more deer are getting this disease. That's why he's introducing a bill to stop it.
It requires the secretary of agriculture to team up with the National Academies of Science to look for ways CWD is spread, and if hunters are in danger.
So far, we haven't seen it in Louisiana. Abraham says he's trying to keep it that way.
"We know that it's in a total of 25 states, so it's important that we keep it out of Louisiana," Abraham said.
Because he says it could be a major blow to the hunting industry.
"As far as economically, it could simply decimate a deer population,” said Abraham. “The only cure now is to depopulate that heard that you find an infected animal in."
And cooper knows how important deer are for the sportsman's paradise.
"I don't know what the figures are in the state of Louisiana, but I think nationwide, the hunting industry generates somewhere around $100 billion a year, Cooper said. “That's including all hunting aspects. That could be very bad for our economy."
Again, the disease hasn't been found in Louisiana, but they are in Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.