Attendees at Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearings and Conservation Congress Meetings overwhelmingly support changes in baiting and feeding laws
Last year during the spring hearings, the Natural Resources Board asked if deer baiting and feeding should be banned from 10 days prior to the archery opener through the gun deer season. The question passed in 66 counties. This year the Conservation Congress asked if deer baiting and feeding should be banned from Sept. 1 through the last day of any deer season. The question passed in 63 counties. The statewide vote was 2,532 in favor of the change and 1,303 opposed.
Wildlife experts say bill could be lethal for deer
On March 31, Dana Ferguson of the Associated Press, wrote: “Republican lawmakers say they hope to put an end date on deer-feeding bans that have kept some Wisconsin residents from the pastime, but a wildlife expert warns the practice could harm the animals.”
Wisconsin law currently prohibits the baiting and feeding of deer in 35 counties: those where CWD-infected deer have been found and adjacent counties.
Ferguson reported that the author of the bill, Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, proposed the legislation because some residents in his district enjoy feeding and watching deer, which they can no longer do because of the discovery of a single CWD-infected deer in Washburn County in 2012. That discovery led to a ban on all baiting and feeding of deer in Washburn, Barron, Polk and Burnett counties.
Ferguson quotes UW-Madison assistant professor of forestry and wildlife ecology Tim Van Deelen as saying the practice of feeding deer puts them at risk of contracting CWD.