Ban on Baiting and Feeding Continues in 24 Counties

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A ban on baiting and feeding deer in 24 counties at risk for the spread of chronic wasting disease will continue under emergency rules while state wildlife officials begin work drafting permanent rules for baiting and feeding deer in Wisconsin.

Department of Natural Resources wildlife and law enforcement staff have begun drafting rules to implement 2003 Wisconsin Act 240, which was signed by Gov. Jim Doyle last week. That law continues the current prohibition on baiting and feeding of deer in counties of high risk for CWD. Other provisions of the legislation take effect April 28.

“Much of what is included under Act 240 echoes the emergency rule currently in place that prohibits baiting and feeding in 24 counties. The department will continue to enforce this emergency rule until a new or permanent rule is passed implementing Act 240. A ban on baiting and feeding is an important tool for controlling the spread of CWD in the state,” said Kurt Thiede, DNR wildlife regulation and policy specialist.

As with any new rule, initially the department will focus on educating the public on the new rules to promote voluntary compliance. Enforcement action will be taken in situations where individuals are found to be knowingly violating the new rules.

Baiting and feeding in currently prohibited in Adams, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marquette, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Vernon, Walworth, Waukesha, and Waushara counties and will continue to be banned under Act 240.

Under Act 240:

* The DNR can continue to regulate feeding of wild animals for non-hunting purposes, such as recreational or supplemental feeding, past the original sunset date of June 30, 2004.
* Deer feeding for hunting or non-hunting purposes is prohibited in counties where the county or a portion of the county is included in a CWD management zone.
* Deer feeding for hunting or non-hunting purposes is prohibited in any county within 10 miles of a captive or wild animal that has tested positive for CWD or bovine tuberculosis since Dec. 31, 1997.

“The portion of Act 240 that requires the DNR to prohibit baiting and feeding in the 24 counties currently at greatest risk for CWD will continue to be implemented through emergency rules until the permanent rule is in place.” Thiede said. “However, other aspects of Act 240, such as those affecting the remainder of the state, will take affect immediately upon publication of the act, April 28th.”

On April 28, individuals that are not in one of the 24 counties where deer baiting and feeding is currently prohibited can feed deer for non-hunting purposes with the following restrictions:

* No more than 2 gallons of feed is allowed at a feeding site.
* Feed placed out for non-hunting purposes must be within 50 yards of an owner-occupied residence or business and may not be within 100 yards of a roadway posted 45 miles per hour or more.

Additionally, during the deer hunting seasons, hunters that are not in one of the 24 counties where deer baiting and feeding is prohibited may feed or bait deer for hunting purposes with the following restrictions:

* No person may place more than 2 gallons of feed per 40 acres for hunting purposes.
* No feeding site for hunting purposes may be within 100 yards of another feeding site.
* Feed can no longer be placed when the deer hunting seasons are closed, except as allowed for non-hunting purposes.

Finally, whether feeding for hunting or non-hunting purposes, the material used to feed deer may not contain any animal part or animal byproduct.

“The department has initiated the rule making process,” Thiede said. “It is likely that department will be presenting proposed permanent rules to the Natural Resources Board within the next few months, with public hearings following this summer.”

More information on Chronic Wasting Disease in Wisconsin and the science supporting a ban on baiting and feeding, can be found on the DNR Web site.