MADISON, Wis. – Feeding of deer will be legal from May 1, 2003 until a new permanent rule, enacted by the Natural Resources Board last week banning the practices of baiting and feeding deer, is effective. That rule should go into effect about September 1, 2003.

An emergency rule, banning baiting and feeding of deer was passed by the Natural Resources Board in June 2002 and was extended until April 30 by the legislature’s Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR). Today, April 30, the committee did not take up a request by the Natural Resources Board to extend the emergency baiting and feeding ban until September 1. Consequently, the emergency rule lapses.

“Baiting and feeding deer raises the risk of disease transmission between deer and banning baiting and feeding of deer is based on solid science,” said Tom Hauge, director of wildlife management at DNR. “The emergency ban enacted by the Natural Resources Board last summer and continuation of that ban by permanent rule was endorsed last week by a panel of nationally recognized wildlife health and chronic wasting disease experts.”

“As part of its vote to approve a continued ban on baiting and feeding, the Natural Resources Board also respectfully requested that the JCRAR consider extending the emergency baiting and feeding ban,” said Bill Smith, deputy secretary at DNR. “JCRAR did not extend the emergency rule so we have a gap from May 1 to September.”

“During the time period between now and September, we’re asking the public’s help in controlling spread of disease by voluntarily not feeding deer. It’s important for the health of the deer herd,” said Hauge. “We’re very close to the end of our CWD testing effort, and it appears that the disease is contained to a relatively small area west of Madison. Voluntarily not feeding deer through the summer will help to limit the spread of CWD and other diseases.”

In three other areas of the state, where DNR hasn’t found CWD in the wild herd, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has found CWD in farm-raised deer and elk herds according to wildlife officials.

Baiting is the practice of placing food, such as corn, apples, beets or other foods on the land and then hunting over the bait during the hunting seasons. Feeding is placing food for deer for wildlife viewing or dietary supplementation. Scientists agree that in the case of transmissable diseases such as chronic wasting disease, tuberculosis and brucellosis, feed piles raise the risk of disease transmission by artificially congregating deer.