MADISON – The Department of Natural Resources will ask the legislative Joint Committee on Review of Administrative Rules to extend until Sept. 1, 2003 emergency rules related to controlling chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Wisconsin.
The rules, approved by the Natural Resources Board in June, will expire on Nov. 30 unless the legislative committee approves an extension. The rules establish a liberal hunting season in the CWD Management Area and a statewide ban on baiting and feeding of deer.
“The CWD emergency rules contain critical authorities for us to continue the fight to eradicate CWD in our state deer,” said Tom Hauge, director of the DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management. “Among key provisions are establishing the CWD Intensive Harvest Zone, extending the hunting season in that zone to Jan. 31 and allowing liberal bag limits.”
DNR is requesting the legislative committee to extend the emergency rule so it is in effect until a follow-up, more permanent rule, goes into effect after the results of the current deer hunting seasons and statewide CWD testing are known. The follow-up rule will be developed through the normal rule-making process and will include the development of an environmental impact statement and public hearings in March and April followed by legislative review in May and June of 2003.
Hauge said the DNR would lose some very important disease control options if the emergency rule is not extended, such as the gun season closing immediately rather than going until Jan. 31, closure of the archery season Jan. 3 instead of Jan. 31, loss of the “earn-a-buck” incentive that requires hunters to shoot an antlerless deer before being able to shoot an antlered deer in the CWD zone.
In addition, some state parks not normally open to hunting could become refuges with no hunting this year, free tags would become invalid, and hunters pursuing deer under landowner permit would no longer exempt from buying a hunting license, and there would be no restrictions on baiting or feeding statewide, including the CWD management and intensive harvest zones.