Baiting and Feeding Rules

By: Paige Lambrecht
By: Paige Lambrecht

The natural resources board voted Wednesday on stricter rules regarding baiting and feeding deer, and DNR officials like wildlife director Tom Hauge say that's vital to stopping the spread of CWD.

"This disease is going to, if we don't take action, increase in the percentage of deer that have it and those are all deer that you or I can't put on our dinner table."

Twenty-four counties in Wisconsin already have documented cases of CWD. The new rules will change nothing in those counties. It's in places where there hasn't yet been a case of CWD that people will notice a difference.

Counties with documented cases already have an all-out ban on baiting and feeding, which won't be lifted anytime soon, but those counties not with no known cases of CWD where you'll see stricter limits on the amount of bait and the number of feeding sites you can use.

These changes are part of legislation the state passed last year, but some board members, like Herb Behnke, don't think it goes far enough.

"The better way is not to be doing any winter feeding of deer and also to not have a baiting situation.”

The DNR supports a statewide ban on baiting. That may not happen soon, but in the meantime they say these stricter guidelines are a step in the right direction towards eradicating CWD.

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Chronic Wasting Disease

  • To date, chronic wasting disease has been found only in members of the deer family in North America. Animals include: Rocky Mountain Elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, and black-tailed deer.

  • There is ongoing research to explore the possibility of transmission of chronic wasting disease to other species.

Clinical Signs

  • Most cases of chronic wasting disease occur in adult animals.

  • The disease is progressive and always fatal.

  • The most obvious and consistent clinical sign of chronic wasting disease is weight loss over time.

  • Behavioral changes also occur in the majority of cases, including decreased interactions with other animals.

What Causes chronic wasting disease?

  • The agent responsible for chronic wasting disease has not been completely characterized.

  • There are three main theories on the nature of the agent that causes chronic wasting disease:
    • The agent is a prion, an abnormal form of a normal protein, known as cellular prion protein, most commonly found in the central nervous system.

    • The agent is an unconventional virus.

    • The agent is a virino, or "incomplete" virus composed of nucleic acid protected by host proteins. The chronic wasting disease agent is smaller than most viral particles and does not evoke any detectable immune response or inflammatory reaction in the host animal.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture contributed to this report.


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