Baiting, feeding bans in Wisconsin explained

GREEN BAY – Wildlife baiting and feeding bans — designed to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease in wild deer populations — are now in place in Marinette and Florence counties for the first time.

CWD is a fatal, contagious disease that affects deer, elk and moose. This past June, testing revealed a CWD-positive deer in the captive herd on a deer farm in Marinette County located near the borders with Florence and Forest counties. Under Wisconsin statutes, this triggered a three-year baiting and feeding ban in the county where the positive was located and a two-year ban in any counties with a border within 10 miles of the positive.

The ban in Marinette County is in effect until June 18, 2021. Forest County was already under a two-year ban because of a CWD-positive deer in a fenced hunting preserve near Three Lakes in eastern Oneida County. The Marinette County positive resets that ban for two years. Baiting and feeding bans in Florence and Forest counties are now in effect until June 18, 2020.

To date, no wild deer have tested positive for CWD in these three counties. Wildlife biologists and animal health scientists stress the importance of restricting wildlife baiting and feeding in areas where a deer has tested CWD positive. The disease is spread by direct contact between deer and by infectious agents, called prions, that infected deer deposit in their environments.

“Baiting and feeding causes unnaturally high concentrations of deer within a small area and poses a long-term risk of disease transmission,” said Tom Carlson, the state wildlife biologist for Florence and Forest counties. “We use baiting and feeding bans as an effective tool to help slow or limit the spread of the disease.”

Baiting and feeding restrictions are now in place in 43 CWD-affected areas or counties in Wisconsin. Hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts can find more details by checking the baiting and feeding webpage maintained by the Department of Natural Resources.