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Wisconsin CWD Case Promises Far-Reaching Bait Bans

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November 15, 2010

Wisconsin CWD Case Promises Far-Reaching Bait Bans

By Dave Hurteau

You remember the fuss kicked up in Michigan a couple years ago when a single CWD-positive deer on a Kent-County hunting preserve triggered a bait ban for the entire Lower Peninsula. Now a buck taken at Wisconsin’s game farm, which tested positive for the disease in preliminary tests and may be the first CWD case found in the northern part of the Badger State, could prompt bait bans not only in two additional Wisconsin counties but also Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

From the Green Bay Press Gazette:
If the [“gold-standard”] Iowa test comes back positive this week — and barring a rule change by Governor-elect Scott Walker's administration — baiting and feeding would be banned next year in Bayfield and Ashland counties. Current CWD feeding ban rules include the county where a captive or wild whitetail tests positive and any portion of counties within a 10-mile radius of the diseased deer.

A positive test also could force a controversial decision by Michigan officials. Michigan's CWD Response Plan states that if CWD is found within 50 miles of its border, Michigan would ban baiting and feeding in the adjoining peninsula. The Ashland facility is within that range of the U.P.

--Dave Hurtea

Comments (17)

Top Rated
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from IowaGuy wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Yet another reason why I dislike "game farms" and "hunting ranches".

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from HuntFishBreathe75 wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Just a thought: Maybe it is high time to focus more on educating and everyone about CWD. I only know what I have researched on my own. We know it is an abnormal protein that can spread without human causes in deer, elk and even moose I believe. I understand that transmission methods and sources in nature are not fully understood yet however there sure seems an undeniable connection to baiting/feeding deer. So they pass a "Ban" on feed/bait, lot's of states do, but I see an issue with inability to enforce this without getting everyone on the same pafe. NOW, Look at all the hype and marketing surrounding commercial feeds and edible "attractants"...they are found on store shelves, in catalogs and advertised in the pages of most outdoor publications. There are a lot of hunting programs also showcasing these feeds and "attractants". Im sure that most of them have quality control standards, but little is commonly understood about where these disease causing prions come from. In order to protect these animals and our hunting future I personally would like to see more word being spread about the disease and key factors such as the feeding of deer on game farms and in the wild. And I would absolutely like to see some better scientific data on CWD; answers not theory. Sometimes I think to much and should just go hunting tho ;)

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

If it was on a game farm which sounds like a a high fence facility then why would they put a ban on baiting? Wouldn't it be easier to destroy the deer on the game farm and treat the area? I don't know that much on CWD, so if this isn't reasonable please explain.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Phil1227 wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Never liked baiting or game farms, seems like cheating to me. Doesnt seem like hunting if the deer aren't in their natural environments.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

I hesitate to label the way someone else hunts as wrong, no matter my own personal preference.

The problem with bait and feeding isn't in the feed but having so many animals eating in close proximity to one another and perhaps eating food that has tiny amounts of contaminated hair or urine or fecal matter. Intra species transmission is fairly easy.

We've had CWD out here for quite a while. It's like mad cow. A couple things seem to be true. When population numbers are kept reasonable and there are natural predators (cougars here)incidence seems to lower. I think many of our units are down to around 1% positive, or less with many units having no positive tests.

Also there has never been a case of contamination of humans from deer or elk that is known.

To be extra safe we throw away the spinal column including the vertebrae (leg bones will do for soup for now)the head, and the spleen. Most don't eat those parts anyway.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hank111 wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

More CWD drama. Its been around since the state enclosure in Fort Collins Colorado, back in the 50s and 60s, raised mule deer and whitetails on ground previously holding sheep with scrappies,basically the same thing, then used these animals to restock other wild areas.Its been around for 50+ years and nothing compared to the yearly EHD [bluetongue] outbreaks that kill 1000 times more deer every year across the country,and nobody even talks about that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hal herring wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

One of several stories we did here at F&S, in 2002:

http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/hunting/2006/06/fs-update-cwd

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tpbesone wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

It's too bad to hear they found more CWD in Wisconsin. I grew up in the UP of Michigan hunting over bait and after moving to Minnesota and hunting without bait I hope this finding finally puts an end to baiting in the UP. With the hard winters they have there and the dependence that deer have on bait right before winter the deer population there has suffered. Eliminating baiting would serve two purposes, reduce congregation of deer during feeding thus reducing CWD potential, and reduce deer dependence on feed thus better preparing them for winters. Just my thoughts.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from hal herring wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

From an F&S story in 2007, by Jim Thornton. What is fascinating to me here is the ratio of CWD (60 of 79 deer tested were positive) infection in the Buckhorn Flats (Wisco) game farm, the avalanche of tax-payer money that had to be spent (60 state employees trying to find the escaped deer..etc.) just on this one incident, and then the tax-payer money that went to the owner of the game farm.

From Thornton's F&S story:

Take the curious case of Buckhorn Flats, a captive-cervid operation in Portage County, Wis., consisting of a 59-acre hunting preserve and a smaller breeding facility. On September 4, 2002, a hunter paid $4,000 to shoot a captive buck, which tested positive for CWD. When state authorities tried to trace its history to see what other captive herds might have been exposed, they were stymied by its lack of a state-mandated ear tag as well as inadequate record keeping by the preserve's owner, Stanley Hall.

Hall, who did not respond to an interview request for this article, had a long history of trafficking captive deer. From 2000 to 2001 alone, he shipped at least 39 deer to seven other operations both across Wisconsin and out of state.

The state DNR involved 60 game wardens in tracing the trophy buck's movement. Ultimately, Buckhorn Flats and a handful of other Wisconsin game farms were put under quarantine, and Hall was ordered to depopulate all his deer. He chose to appeal the ruling, as was his right, and the legal battle continued for the next three and a half years.

During this period, Wisconsin passed legislation requiring that all captive-cervid hunting preserves in the state needed a minimum of 80 acres. In the spring of 2005, the DNR notified Hall that his 59-acre facility no longer qualified and he had to stop hosting hunts as of that fall.

By December 2005, Hall and his lawyers came to an agreement with state and federal agriculture officials. Hall, who would receive indemnification payments from the state and federal government for each animal killed, told authorities he had around 80 does and yearlings in his breeding area, and 40 or so bucks in his hunting preserve.

On January 12, 2006, several days before the deer were to be put down, Hall notified the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) that someone had cut a hole in the preserve fence and baited the outside area. The DATCP closed the breech and alerted the DNR, which, concerned that dozens of exposed bucks had escaped into the wild, dispatched sharpshooters to the scene. They found none of the purported 40 bucks still inside the preserve—and no sign of them outside, either.

"We even sent a plane up to look for them," says Preder. "One thing we didn't find was a pile of deer running around on the landscape. So what happened to them?"

Whatever might have become of those valuable bucks, there were still the does and yearlings in Hall's breeding pen. No hole had been cut in their fence. When the DATCP arrived for the scheduled cull several days later, they found three already dead and killed 76 more. When lab results came back, 60 of 79 deer tested positive.

According to their previously negotiated agreement, Hall was indemnified for his loss to the tune of $130,913, which worked out to a little over $1,700 per animal—a far cry from the $10,000 some hunters at Buckhorn Flats had said that they'd paid for trophy bucks.

Over a year after the mysterious hole in the fence appeared, the fate of the missing bucks is still uncertain. The local sheriff's department and the DATCP initiated criminal investigations but thus far have come to no definitive conclusions.
End quote.

Pretty interesting stuff here.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from as moeggs wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

The deer hunting has slowly improved in the lower peninsula since the baiting ban to effect. I believe there to be several factors to why this has happened. Hopefully the UP is next. If anyone from the MDNRE reads this, please stick to your guns on this issue!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from woodsdog wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

I'm not going to criticize how different folks choose to hunt either but I can say that in my state, New York, baiting has never been allowed. Now, most of things Albany does is half assed and I absolutely do not agee with whatsoever; however, I have to praise our DEC on their efforts to minimize and control CWD in our state. In New York, You can have apple orchards, food plots, mast trees, farm crops etc., anything that is naturally grown is allowed. Any deposited bait salt or mineral licks, even a bushel or two of apples dumped near a stand is not allowed and I think this has a bearing on how we have had little issues ith CWD. One incidet that I am aware of which occured in the more easterly part of the state was at a game farm enclosure which failed to erect double fencing. The NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets now requires for all certified game farms in the state to have double fences. The double fencing minimizes game farm raised animals from interacting with wild populations.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wgiles wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

One of the big issues with CWD, that we don't yet know the answer to, is whether it can be transmitted to humans. Until this question is answered, CWD will get a much greater and more drastic response than other wildlife diseases.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Too close to Michigan. Irritates me that many hunters continue to bait in Michigan and that bait can be readily purchased almost anywhere. Even heard a radio ad from one of the biggest local "bait" producers advertising it as natural compost pile that a hunter might find himself in front of. Small mindedness.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from gratzyj wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

I live in northern Illinois were baiting has been illegal forever, and we still have a population of cwd positive deer. What is more interesting is that for the last six years, the DNR has been sharpshooting the deer in the area to thin the heard. Their preferred method....BAITING!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

Sadly, Again, Money means more to the states than tax payers rights! Ban the game Ranchs!!!! Thats where it always originates, NOT IN THE WILD!!!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

wgiles, we do know that it cannot be transmitted to humans or at least it hasn't made that jump in evolution YET. this is one of the thousands of reasons that game farms should be illegal!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Don Mitchell wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

It is my understanding that the deer tested negative as of 11/19 /2010.
As a 70 year year old that hunts with a BOW & GUN,It is my hope that the ban is lifted in a limited amount for the archery season only.I did not use bait when i hunt with a gun.
I did get a nice 6 point on the 15/th.
I am from n.w. Michigan,on the lake.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from IowaGuy wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Yet another reason why I dislike "game farms" and "hunting ranches".

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from HuntFishBreathe75 wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Just a thought: Maybe it is high time to focus more on educating and everyone about CWD. I only know what I have researched on my own. We know it is an abnormal protein that can spread without human causes in deer, elk and even moose I believe. I understand that transmission methods and sources in nature are not fully understood yet however there sure seems an undeniable connection to baiting/feeding deer. So they pass a "Ban" on feed/bait, lot's of states do, but I see an issue with inability to enforce this without getting everyone on the same pafe. NOW, Look at all the hype and marketing surrounding commercial feeds and edible "attractants"...they are found on store shelves, in catalogs and advertised in the pages of most outdoor publications. There are a lot of hunting programs also showcasing these feeds and "attractants". Im sure that most of them have quality control standards, but little is commonly understood about where these disease causing prions come from. In order to protect these animals and our hunting future I personally would like to see more word being spread about the disease and key factors such as the feeding of deer on game farms and in the wild. And I would absolutely like to see some better scientific data on CWD; answers not theory. Sometimes I think to much and should just go hunting tho ;)

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from tpbesone wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

It's too bad to hear they found more CWD in Wisconsin. I grew up in the UP of Michigan hunting over bait and after moving to Minnesota and hunting without bait I hope this finding finally puts an end to baiting in the UP. With the hard winters they have there and the dependence that deer have on bait right before winter the deer population there has suffered. Eliminating baiting would serve two purposes, reduce congregation of deer during feeding thus reducing CWD potential, and reduce deer dependence on feed thus better preparing them for winters. Just my thoughts.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

If it was on a game farm which sounds like a a high fence facility then why would they put a ban on baiting? Wouldn't it be easier to destroy the deer on the game farm and treat the area? I don't know that much on CWD, so if this isn't reasonable please explain.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Phil1227 wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Never liked baiting or game farms, seems like cheating to me. Doesnt seem like hunting if the deer aren't in their natural environments.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

I hesitate to label the way someone else hunts as wrong, no matter my own personal preference.

The problem with bait and feeding isn't in the feed but having so many animals eating in close proximity to one another and perhaps eating food that has tiny amounts of contaminated hair or urine or fecal matter. Intra species transmission is fairly easy.

We've had CWD out here for quite a while. It's like mad cow. A couple things seem to be true. When population numbers are kept reasonable and there are natural predators (cougars here)incidence seems to lower. I think many of our units are down to around 1% positive, or less with many units having no positive tests.

Also there has never been a case of contamination of humans from deer or elk that is known.

To be extra safe we throw away the spinal column including the vertebrae (leg bones will do for soup for now)the head, and the spleen. Most don't eat those parts anyway.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hank111 wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

More CWD drama. Its been around since the state enclosure in Fort Collins Colorado, back in the 50s and 60s, raised mule deer and whitetails on ground previously holding sheep with scrappies,basically the same thing, then used these animals to restock other wild areas.Its been around for 50+ years and nothing compared to the yearly EHD [bluetongue] outbreaks that kill 1000 times more deer every year across the country,and nobody even talks about that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hal herring wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

One of several stories we did here at F&S, in 2002:

http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/hunting/2006/06/fs-update-cwd

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from woodsdog wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

I'm not going to criticize how different folks choose to hunt either but I can say that in my state, New York, baiting has never been allowed. Now, most of things Albany does is half assed and I absolutely do not agee with whatsoever; however, I have to praise our DEC on their efforts to minimize and control CWD in our state. In New York, You can have apple orchards, food plots, mast trees, farm crops etc., anything that is naturally grown is allowed. Any deposited bait salt or mineral licks, even a bushel or two of apples dumped near a stand is not allowed and I think this has a bearing on how we have had little issues ith CWD. One incidet that I am aware of which occured in the more easterly part of the state was at a game farm enclosure which failed to erect double fencing. The NYS Dept. of Agriculture and Markets now requires for all certified game farms in the state to have double fences. The double fencing minimizes game farm raised animals from interacting with wild populations.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

Sadly, Again, Money means more to the states than tax payers rights! Ban the game Ranchs!!!! Thats where it always originates, NOT IN THE WILD!!!!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hal herring wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

From an F&S story in 2007, by Jim Thornton. What is fascinating to me here is the ratio of CWD (60 of 79 deer tested were positive) infection in the Buckhorn Flats (Wisco) game farm, the avalanche of tax-payer money that had to be spent (60 state employees trying to find the escaped deer..etc.) just on this one incident, and then the tax-payer money that went to the owner of the game farm.

From Thornton's F&S story:

Take the curious case of Buckhorn Flats, a captive-cervid operation in Portage County, Wis., consisting of a 59-acre hunting preserve and a smaller breeding facility. On September 4, 2002, a hunter paid $4,000 to shoot a captive buck, which tested positive for CWD. When state authorities tried to trace its history to see what other captive herds might have been exposed, they were stymied by its lack of a state-mandated ear tag as well as inadequate record keeping by the preserve's owner, Stanley Hall.

Hall, who did not respond to an interview request for this article, had a long history of trafficking captive deer. From 2000 to 2001 alone, he shipped at least 39 deer to seven other operations both across Wisconsin and out of state.

The state DNR involved 60 game wardens in tracing the trophy buck's movement. Ultimately, Buckhorn Flats and a handful of other Wisconsin game farms were put under quarantine, and Hall was ordered to depopulate all his deer. He chose to appeal the ruling, as was his right, and the legal battle continued for the next three and a half years.

During this period, Wisconsin passed legislation requiring that all captive-cervid hunting preserves in the state needed a minimum of 80 acres. In the spring of 2005, the DNR notified Hall that his 59-acre facility no longer qualified and he had to stop hosting hunts as of that fall.

By December 2005, Hall and his lawyers came to an agreement with state and federal agriculture officials. Hall, who would receive indemnification payments from the state and federal government for each animal killed, told authorities he had around 80 does and yearlings in his breeding area, and 40 or so bucks in his hunting preserve.

On January 12, 2006, several days before the deer were to be put down, Hall notified the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) that someone had cut a hole in the preserve fence and baited the outside area. The DATCP closed the breech and alerted the DNR, which, concerned that dozens of exposed bucks had escaped into the wild, dispatched sharpshooters to the scene. They found none of the purported 40 bucks still inside the preserve—and no sign of them outside, either.

"We even sent a plane up to look for them," says Preder. "One thing we didn't find was a pile of deer running around on the landscape. So what happened to them?"

Whatever might have become of those valuable bucks, there were still the does and yearlings in Hall's breeding pen. No hole had been cut in their fence. When the DATCP arrived for the scheduled cull several days later, they found three already dead and killed 76 more. When lab results came back, 60 of 79 deer tested positive.

According to their previously negotiated agreement, Hall was indemnified for his loss to the tune of $130,913, which worked out to a little over $1,700 per animal—a far cry from the $10,000 some hunters at Buckhorn Flats had said that they'd paid for trophy bucks.

Over a year after the mysterious hole in the fence appeared, the fate of the missing bucks is still uncertain. The local sheriff's department and the DATCP initiated criminal investigations but thus far have come to no definitive conclusions.
End quote.

Pretty interesting stuff here.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from as moeggs wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

The deer hunting has slowly improved in the lower peninsula since the baiting ban to effect. I believe there to be several factors to why this has happened. Hopefully the UP is next. If anyone from the MDNRE reads this, please stick to your guns on this issue!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wgiles wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

One of the big issues with CWD, that we don't yet know the answer to, is whether it can be transmitted to humans. Until this question is answered, CWD will get a much greater and more drastic response than other wildlife diseases.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from gratzyj wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

I live in northern Illinois were baiting has been illegal forever, and we still have a population of cwd positive deer. What is more interesting is that for the last six years, the DNR has been sharpshooting the deer in the area to thin the heard. Their preferred method....BAITING!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

wgiles, we do know that it cannot be transmitted to humans or at least it hasn't made that jump in evolution YET. this is one of the thousands of reasons that game farms should be illegal!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Don Mitchell wrote 3 years 21 weeks ago

It is my understanding that the deer tested negative as of 11/19 /2010.
As a 70 year year old that hunts with a BOW & GUN,It is my hope that the ban is lifted in a limited amount for the archery season only.I did not use bait when i hunt with a gun.
I did get a nice 6 point on the 15/th.
I am from n.w. Michigan,on the lake.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 22 weeks ago

Too close to Michigan. Irritates me that many hunters continue to bait in Michigan and that bait can be readily purchased almost anywhere. Even heard a radio ad from one of the biggest local "bait" producers advertising it as natural compost pile that a hunter might find himself in front of. Small mindedness.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

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