Hunters on both sides of baiting ban in Oconto County

OCONTO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) – A deer found with Chronic Wasting Disease prompted a ban on baiting in Oconto and Menominee counties starting this month. With gun hunting season coming up we’re taking a look at the impact of that ban on hunters.

Wade Jeske owns Lena Swamp Archery and says the deer baiting ban hasn’t been an upset, just a change.

“We did see an up-sale and up-rise in the grunt calls and rattle bags and scent than in previous years,” said Jeske.

Jeske said his cross-bow customers who more often use bait have been more impacted – but he’s optimistic the ban could be a good thing.

“I always say 18 minutes in a bait pile or 18 hours of browsing, they can browse all night. They still have got to do 6 hours in the daylight. Deer movement is huge, and that’s what most people want to see,” said Jeske.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said the issue is about 50/50 with some hunters not happy about the ban because it changes the way they planned to hunt, but for others it’s an inconvenience if they already bought bait.

“As a state we have decided that Chronic Waste Disease Management is a priority, and one of the proactive things we can do is to minimize direct contact,” said Jeff Pritzl, District Wildlife Supervisor for Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Some hunters who don’t mind the ban say they don’t use bait and simply enjoy spending as much times as possible in nature.

“I prefer the chance if a deer does come, I’d rather harvest a deer that way than over a bait pile,” said Allen Wenzel, a hunter from the Lena area.