MADISON — The baiting and feeding of white-tailed deer is now banned in Waupaca and Shawano counties, the state Department of Natural Resources reports.
The ban, required by state law, went into effect today. The action was spurred by the discovery of a CWD-positive white-tailed deer in November on a privately owned captive deer farm in Marathon County. Implementation was delayed to avoid interference with deer hunting during the ongoing 2013 deer season at the time of discovery.
Shawano and Waupaca counties are within a 10-mile radius of the Marathon County property on which this CWD-positive captive deer was found. State law requires that counties within a 10-mile radius of a game farm or free-ranging CWD-positive are included in the baiting and feeding prohibition.
The baiting and feeding of deer is now banned in 35 of Wisconsin's 72 counties.
"We understand that this may be disappointing news to some who use bait for deer hunting or are feeding deer for enjoyment or because they are seeking to help them through this winter," said Jeff Pritzl, DNR wildlife supervisor for northeast Wisconsin.
"Supplemental winter feeding of deer unnecessarily increases the risk of spreading CWD and other diseases by concentrating deer activity at one spot. Long-term herd health is important to preserving our great hunting tradition. It is a foundation of tourism and vital to local businesses. This outweighs any possible benefit to individual deer or deer watchers provided by feeding."
For more information search the DNR website for "baiting and feeding regulations."
Individuals can still feed birds and small mammals provided the feeding devices are at a sufficient height or are otherwise designed to prevent access by deer and the feeding device is within 50 yards of a human dwelling. This ban does not affect the use of bait for hunting bear or training bear dogs.
Learn more about CWD at knowcwd.com or go to the DNR website dnr.wi.gov search the keyword "CWD."
A map of affected counties and rule specifics are on the department's Web site.
More news from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.