Wisconsin Hunters Critize DNR CWD Handling

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Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is always lethal to deer that contract the prion based disease and has been known in North America for decades. CWD was discovered in Wisconsin in 2002 but not all hunters are happy with how the DNR has managed the disease in the state. The Wisconsin Rapids Tribune has a write up about what some hunters think of the management polices and the course of CWD in the state.

"I don't think CWD is enough of a threat to do what they're doing to the deer herd and to the state's hunting," said Andy Townsend, 24, of Milton, who shot and later ate a CWD-positive buck in January. "I'm friends with 100 guys, and 99 percent think this is getting kind of absurd and they should just let (CWD) run its course."


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Yeah, echoing what everyone

Yeah, echoing what everyone else seems to thinks, I think they may over-inflate their numbers when it comes to reporting percentages of animals with CWD.

Wisconsin hunters have a right to be leery of the handling of this, if they have been paying attention to what goes on out west.

As I have stated before, I personally believe that CWD has been around for generations, but prior to the advancement of testing and new classifications, we just lumped it in with some other disease.

I fear blue-tongue more than CWD.  That's really hard to deal with.

WishIWasHunting's picture

Best course of action is no action

I agree with the other comments posted so far.  I have hunted mule deer my entire life in a CWD-positive unit, and, in my observation, the "treatment" is worse than the disease.  CDOW drastically reduced deer numbers in my dad's area about ten years ago.  It seems like they killed ~100 deer in the immediate area, and 1-3 deer came back positive.  Prior to the extermination, they were publishing numbers in the 10-15% range for expected CWD prevalence.  To top it all off, the culling was performed by CDOW officers and agents instead of hunters, which was a major waste all around.  Now, after nearly a decade of reduced hunting opportunities, the local deer numbers are still recovering and we still have CWD.  Just manage for a healthy herd.  Why kill all the deer in order to stop a disease from killing a few deer?

hunter25's picture

I think I have to agree that

I think I have to agree that reducing the herd size just because of Cwd is not going to solve anything. If it needs to be reduced for population control that is fine but just having a lower number of deer is not going to stop the spread of the disease. Colorado is the example mentioned and it proves the point, We have far less deer spread over a far bigger area and the disease is still spreading. Plus if you end up only killing healthy deer you have actually left a higher percentage of sick ones in the herd.

I don't understand the part about landowners saying and that they can't enjoy their property because of the long seasons and people still hunting. Maybe someone can explain that to me.

I don't think the disease will just run it's course and disappear either. Again almost 30 years later it's still here and still spreading in Colorado. Although it continues to spread it does not seem to be affecting a larger percentage of the population. I say just continue to manage the herds for population due to availale carrying capacity and quality until the biologists really figure out a way to stop it other than throwing random guesses out to try.

jaybe's picture

Well, I'm with the guy who

Well, I'm with the guy who was quoted in the article. The guy who ate the CWD positive deer. Since the worst case of infection seems to be confined to small areas - and since that is in the range of 15 to 20 percent - why not just let it run it's course? The factor that I am not hearing in the discussions from the "experts" is that of those 15 to 20 percent of bucks that are infected, probably 10 percent will be killed by hunters this year. That number could even be higher if you consider road kills and predator kills. After that, the number will be lower than 15 to 20 percent. Then the cycle repeats itself the following year.

There have always been diseases among humans and also among wildlife. When we're talking about humans, we naturally want to try to treat the disease, and even find a cure for it if possible, because we want people to live as long as possible. But when it comes to wildlife, IMO it's a bit of a different situation. For one thing, they are here for our consumption in the first place. Animals weren't just put on the earth by our Creator so that people could walk through parks and take pictures of them. They are here for us to use as food, clothing, etc. Secondly, they have a much shorter life span, so whatever disease they might contract is not going to last for a long time. For many of the animals that are infected, they will either die from a predator, from fighting amongst themselves, from a vehicle or from a hunter's bullet long before the disease takes them out.

So - I agree that our conservation folks are probably spending way too much time and money on a situation that they really can't do much about. There is no known cure for this disease, so why don't we let nature take its course, and let the hunters take the animals as in the past? And let the conservation people get back to enforcing the laws that we have on the books and get some of the poachers out of the picture.