Proposed CWD Rule Hearing Scheduled

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The public will have an opportunity to comment on proposed changes to the boundaries of the western and eastern Chronic Wasting Disease – Disease Eradication Zones and other changes to hunting season structure, and learn about herd status at five combined public hearing-informational open houses scheduled for March 14-15.

Wisconsin’s first cases of CWD were reported in February 2002 in three deer near the south-central city of Mount Horeb. Intensive statewide surveillance conducted through 2004 found the disease in wild deer in 10 southern and southeastern counties. These areas were included in a disease eradication zone (DEZ) or the herd reduction zone (HRZ) which are the focus of herd reduction efforts and intensive surveillance.

Since the disease was discovered, more than 440 deer in these areas have tested positive for the brain disease -- which is always fatal in deer -- out of nearly 75,000 deer that have been tested.

The proposed changes to the chronic wasting disease hunting rules include:

* Expanding the Western Disease Eradication Zone (WDEZ) around new positives near Plain and Argyle.

* Expanding the Eastern Disease Eradication Zone (EDEZ) around new positives found near the north and east border of last year’s EDEZ.

* Removing most of the Richland County portion of the WDEZ from the WDEZ.

* Expanding the Herd Reduction Zone (HRZ) to include all of Deer Management Unit (DMU) 76A rather than just the south half.

* Creating a 5-day split in the gun season of the DEZs so that there is no gun deer hunting the 5 days prior to the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

* Applying either sex hunting regulations to the archery and gun seasons beginning on the Saturday before Thanksgiving through January 3 in both the DEZs and the HRZ.

* Allowing earning of buck hunting authority in any earn-a-buck unit in the state by shooting an antlerless deer in any earn-a-buck unit in the state.

* Establishing a deer hunting season for Belmont Mound State Park, which is located in the HRZ.

Open Houses on herd status and CWD information precede hearings

Prior to the scheduled 7 p.m. hearings, there will be open house/informational meetings immediately preceding each public hearing. The open house/informational meetings on the deer herd status and the proposed CWD rule will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Department staff will be available to answer questions regarding the proposed rules and deer herd status in the surrounding deer management units.

The hearings all begin at 7 p.m. at the location listed on the dates below:

* March 14, Waukesha - Room 151, State Office Building, 141 NW Barstow St.

* March 14, Jefferson - Activity Center, Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 503 N. Jackson St.

* March 15, Bristol - Hearing Room, Kenosha Center, 19600 75th Street (Hwy. 45 & 50 intersection).

* March 15, Mt. Horeb - Basement Conference Room, Karakahl Country Inn, 1405 Bus. 18-151.

* March 16, Elkhorn - Cafeteria/auditorium, Elkhorn Middle School, 627 W. Court St. (STH 11).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Alan Crossley, CWD Project Leader, (608) 275-3242 or Kurt Thiede - DNR wildlife regulations specialists - (608) 267-2452