A ban on baiting for hunting and feeding deer for recreational viewing or other purposes in Oconto and Menominee counties will take effect Nov. 1, 2016 according to a news release from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Chronic wasting disease was detected in a captive white-tailed deer on a private hunting preserve in Oconto County and reported by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection in late September.
State law requires that the DNR to enact a ban on feeding and baiting of deer in a county in which the county or a portion of the county is within a 10-mile radius of the known location of a captive or free-roaming domestic or wild animal that has been tested and confirmed to be positive for chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis.
Menominee County is within a 10-mile radius of the Oconto County property on which a CWD-positive deer was found. This Oconto County location is also within 10 miles of Shawano County (2.1 miles); however, Shawano County was already designated as CWD-affected in 2014, which means a baiting and feeding ban is already in place. CWD has not been detected in the wild deer population in Oconto and Menominee counties.
Department staff are aware of the challenge such a sudden change may present for hunters, wildlife watchers and businesses that sell bait and feed. It is important to note that the sale of bait and feed is not restricted, and other uses for these products are allowed. With the ultimate goal of having a healthy wild deer herd, department staff would like to thank Wisconsin’s citizens for their continued role in monitoring herd health and CWD.
Individuals may still feed birds and small mammals, provided the feeding devices are within 50 yards of a human dwelling and at a sufficient height or design to prevent access by deer.
For more information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin, visit the department’s website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keywords “bait” and "CWD" respectively