MADISON — Baiting and feeding deer will be banned in 26 southern Wisconsin counties effective noon June 17, under a secretary’s order signed by Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Hassett.

Previously, 24 counties had been included in the ban. The recent discovery of deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in northern Racine County has drawn Milwaukee County into the ban, as it is within 10-miles of the positive deer. Dodge County has also been added to the ban since it will be part of the Chronic Wasting Disease Herd Reduction Zone in 2004.

The ban includes: Adams, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Vernon, Walworth, Waukesha and Waushara counties.

A map of the counties in which baiting and feeding is prohibited is accessible on the baiting and feeding regulations pages of the DNR Web site, as is a 2004 map of the chronic wasting disease herd reduction zone, Zone T hunting units and Earn-a-Buck units.

The Secretary’s order is the legal procedure to designate those counties affected by a baiting and feeding ban approved by the state Natural Resources Board last month,” said Kurt Thiede, regulations specialist at DNR.

“Conservation wardens will be enforcing these new rules, but any time new laws are put in place our first response is to help people understand the law and do the right thing,” said conservation warden Tom Van Haren. “We’ll focus on education and voluntary compliance to help protect the health of our wild deer herd.

“Complaints will be investigated and appropriate enforcement action taken as deemed necessary. Flagrant violations and individuals found intentionally violating the baiting and feeding rules can result in the issuance of citation costing $517.”

The DNR Secretary has authority to extend the ban by written order to any county:

  • where CWD or Bovine Tuberculosis is found in captive or free-ranging animals
  • with a portion of a CWD Eradication Zone or Herd Reduction Zone within its border
  • within 10 miles of an infected captive or free-ranging animal. “It’s been a long and bumpy road to this point on the baiting and feeding issue,” said DNR Secretary Scott Hassett. “But this is the right thing to do. Every veterinarian and wildlife biologist I’ve talked to say the same thing, that baiting and feeding contribute to the spread disease. Stopping these practices in areas of high risk is a reasonable action.”

    Counties where baiting is banned

    A ban on baiting and feeding means that in the identified counties no person may place bait or feed material where it is accessible to deer. Animal health experts feel the ban is necessary to prevent further spread of chronic wasting disease and other wildlife diseases such as bovine tuberculosis. Placing food on the land unnaturally congregates wildlife increasing the risk sick animals will pass disease to healthy ones. Scent materials and standing crops planted as wildlife food plots may be used for hunting purposes. However, scent materials may not be accessible to deer except that up to 2 ounces of scent may be placed in any manner. Food placed solely for attracting birds and small mammals for nonhunting purposes is still allowed statewide, as long as it is not accessible to deer and not more than 50 yards from an occupied dwelling.

    Counties outside of ban area

    People outside of the 26 counties where baiting and feeding is banned may place up to 2 gallons of bait for deer for each parcel of land up to 40 acres in size or each 40 acre section of land if the bait is at least 100 yards from other hunter’s bait sites or from a roadway with a speed limit of 45 mph or more.

    Placing bait for deer is only allowed during the open season for hunting deer and the day before the season opens. An appropriate deer-hunting license is also required to place bait. Wildlife viewers and home owners may place up to two gallons of feed for deer at any time of the year, but the feed must be within 50 yards of an occupied dwelling or business open to the public, and more than 100 yards from any highway with a posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour or more. Additional general rules that apply to the use of bait or feed for hunting or nonhunting purposes may be found on the DNR Web site.

    Bear hunting– New special bear baiting regulations pamphlet available

    Bear hunters can continue to use bait for hunting purposes as long as it is not accessible to deer and is placed according to restrictions spelled out in a supplement to the state’s bear regulations.

    “This supplement to the 2004 Bear Hunting Regulations is necessary to explain the new bear baiting regulations,” said Thiede. “When the bear hunting regulations were printed, we did not know what legislation or rules would be in place. Therefore, bear hunters should abide by the regulations in this supplement and disregard the baiting regulations that were printed in the original bear hunting regulations.”

    Bear hunters should be familiar with these new baiting regulations as they are the same as what was in place two years ago under the statewide deer baiting and feeding ban. One of the main requirements when placing bait for bears is that the bait must be enclosed in a hole in the ground, hollow log or stump and covered to prevent access by deer. The bear regulation pamphlet is also available on the hunting regulations page of the DNR Web site.