HORICON – Dodge County residents are reminded that a ban on baiting and feeding deer in the entire county went into effect last month.
Department of Natural Resources secretary Scott Hassett signed an emergency order on June 15 which continues the ban on placing feed for deer in those areas at highest risk for chronic wasting disease (CWD), the fatal nervous system disease of whitetail deer.
This emergency rule forbids baiting and feeding in any county, now totaling 26 counties in southern Wisconsin, where CWD Eradication Zones (DEZ) or Herd Reduction Zones (HRZ) have been established in the county or a portion of a county.
“State Highway 73, the eastern boundary of Deer Management Unit 70G runs into Dodge County, and since DMU 70G is in the HRZ, the entire county by rule must be included under the baiting and feeding ban,” explained Andy Nelson, DNR Natural Resources Supervisor based at Horicon.
The ban does not extend to feeding birds and small mammals.
The intent behind creating an HRZ is to establish a buffer zone of low deer density around a DEZ – an area where CWD has been identified in wild deer – in an effort to slow or prevent the disease spreading into unaffected areas.
Population goals for DMU’s in an HRZ are 10 deer per square mile and the boundaries for this zone follow recognizable highways located about 40 miles from known CWD positive deer, in this instance, Columbia County.
“We believe that the best way to help reduce the risk of transmitting infectious diseases is to halt those practices that artificially concentrate deer. By banning baiting and feeding, we are taking the advice and recommendations of scientists and researchers from across the country and throughout the world,” noted Mr. Nelson.
“What especially concerns us is the repeated placement of food at a site. Not only does this artificially concentrate deer, but these practices cause deer to return (to a site) that becomes progressively contaminated with saliva, nasal droppings, urine, feces and disease carrying organisms,” he pointed out.
The emergency rule will remain in effect until DNR can put a permanent rule in place. Hearings will likely take place this summer.