Popular hunting counties face new rules


Update: Corrects to show the DNR has not set a date to start the feeding and baiting ban.

GILLETT, Wis. (WBAY) — Deer hunters in a couple of popular northeast Wisconsin hunting counties may have to change the way they get deer, as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) looks at banning baiting and feeding them.

Oconto and Menominee counties will be added to the DNR’s list of counties where it’s not allowed after a case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was found.

The state announced an 18-month-old deer killed at Apple Creek Game Farm in Gillett tested positive for CWD at the end of last week.

Because a deer was found with CWD, hunters will no longer be able to bait or feed deer, much like what happens in 42 other counties in the state.

The DNR isn’t sure when the no-baiting or feeding rules will take effect. Discussions are underway.

The DNR is asking hunters in Oconto and Menominee counties for their help.

Officials will be testing deer within a 10 mile radius of Apple Creek Game Farm for the disease.

“We’ll set up some places where they can bring heads of the deer that they’ve harvested. We can send those then to the lab,” said Jeff Pritzl, district wildlife supervisor for the DNR.

The goal is to get a sample of the wild deer in the area, “To hopefully confirm that we don’t have the disease in the wild herd in the area,” Pritzl said.

The DNR has tested about 350 deer in Oconto County.

“Most of that was done during the early days of CWD,” said Pritzl.

Those in the area don’t seem to mind the new rules.

“There should be some kind of regulation,” Gillett resident Robert Tucker said.

In the meantime, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) said the game preserve can operate business as usual because there isn’t a risk of spreading disease if the animal is handled properly.