Larry Samson | Staff writer
MADISON – Gov. Scott Walker signed Bill 68 on Wednesday, Aug. 2, effectively lifting the WisDNR ban on feeding and baiting deer that has been in effect in the four counties of Barron, Washburn, Polk and Burnett. The ban went into effect in April of 2012 when a lone deer near Shell Lake tested positive for chronic wasting disease. Senate Bill 68 was authored by Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls, and Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake. The bill passed the Senate 20-13 and the Assembly by 60-37 over opposition from some hunting and conservation groups who were concerned about the spread of CWD.
The bill provides a three-year limit on the feeding ban if no new deer test positive in the county where the CWD-positive deer is found. It also limited the ban for adjoining counties to two years if no new deer test positive. The ban lift became legally effective on Friday, Aug. 4. With this new legislation other counties for which baiting and feeding bans will be lifted are Calumet, Clark, Dodge, Jackson, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Washington and Waushara. In 24 counties the ban will continue.
A sick 3-1/2-year-old doe was euthanized by a Washburn County sheriffâ€™s deputy on a small parcel of land west of Shell Lake. No other deer has tested positive since then and this has been a bone of contention between some hunters and landowners, and the WisDNR, who are responsible for controlling and limiting the spread of CWD. The WisDNR has monitored the four-county area with free testing and will continue monitoring the area. The changes in registration of harvested deer has made this testing and monitoring more difficult for the WisDNR to collect the needed samples.