Jackson County is now among a list where it’s prohibited to bait or feed deer following the discovery of a CWD-positive doe nearby.
Jackson, Clark and Eau Claire counties join the ban on baiting deer for hunting and feeding deer for recreational viewing due to the discovery of chronic wasting disease in a captive white-tailed deer on a private farm in Eau Claire County.
There are now 38 counties in the state that ban baiting and feeding of deer as of Aug. 1. The practice still is permitted in the west-central counties of Monroe, La Crosse, Trempealeau, Buffalo, Pepin, Pierce, St. Croix, Dunn and Chippewa.
Tami Ryan, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife health section chief, said adding Jackson and Clark counties to the ban is a precautionary measure to help limit the spread of the disease. State law requires counties be included in the ban if they are within a 10-mile radius of where a CWD-positive deer is found.
“It’s definitely precautionary, and it’s something done because of how this disease is transmitted,” Ryan said.
“We do know that (this deer) came from a breeding facility and a shooting preserve, and we do know there can be interaction between the fence between deer. So basically if any wild deer have been exposed we hope to be able to determine that and limit further exposure.”
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The 7-year-old doe died on the farm in June and was one of about 167 deer reported to be on the 12-acre farm, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Results last month confirmed a sample taken from the deer tested positive for CWD, and the herd has been quarantined.
DATCP’s Animal Health Division will conduct an investigation to examine the deer’s history and movements of deer onto and off the property to determine if other herds may have been exposed to the CWD-positive deer.
People still can feed birds and small mammals in counties banning deer baiting and feeding as long as the feeding devices are within 50 yards of a residence and at a sufficient height or design to prevent access by deer.
DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang said news of the CWD-positive deer does not change any plans for the reintroduction of elk in Jackson County. There are 24 elk in an acclimation pen in the state forest after a herd was brought from Kentucky in March, and the county is expected to be receiving more elk in the future.
“It affects nothing at this point,” Wallenfang said. “We still have a five-year agreement with the state of Kentucky, and we’re through year one. At this point in the process we’re proceeding as we always have.”