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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri conservation officials are advancing tougher rules for deer breeders and hunting preserves as Gov. Jay Nixon considers whether to sign legislation potentially stripping the conservation agency of power over captive deer.

The Conservation Commission this month endorsed proposed regulations that would include a ban on importation of white-tailed deer, mule deer and their hybrids from other states, and stiffer fencing requirements. Officials say the rules are needed to combat chronic wasting disease, which is deadly to deer.

Ranchers contend many of the proposals go too far and that the industry has been targeted.

Earlier this year, Missouri lawmakers approved bills defining captive deer as livestock, which is intended to give the Department of Agriculture responsibility for overseeing the industry. The measures are awaiting action by Nixon.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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