Dean hall/lakeland times
In an effort to stop the spread of CWD, baiting deer and feeding deer, as shown in this recent picture, is banned in Vilas and Oneida counties. The regulation is in place to prevent deer from passing potentially infectious fluids and prions to each other. Unfortunately, the ban is commonly disobeyed.
11/23/2019 7:30:00 AM Natural Reaction CWD testing and respect for regulations critical during gun hunt
Jacob Friede Of The Lakeland Times
In 2017 a deer in Lincoln County, near the Oneida County border, tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). In 2018 two deer within two miles of that deer tested positive in Oneida County. Now, this fall, a third in Oneida County tested positive in that exact same vicinity in the town of Crescent near the Hat Rapids dam on the Wisconsin River.
CWD spreads that fast and now the infamous disease running rampant in southern Wisconsin has made its appearance in the Northwoods.
The town of Crescent block is a classic hot spot of CWD infestation and there is no way to determine the scope of its spread without a serious effort by hunters to bring in their deer heads for CWD testing.
It's a critical time in Oneida County, and all of the Northwoods, and this year the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in cooperation with local businesses, has made a huge effort to get as many CWD samples as possible, and to make the sampling process more convenient, by establishing a network of locations all across the north where hunters can drop off their deer for testing.
It's not only crucial to monitor the spread in Oneida County, it's vital the entire north be properly sampled so it can be determined if there are other hidden hotspots.
To date the Northwoods is relatively CWD free, but that can only be absolutely confirmed through sufficient testing.
There are a number of area self-serve sampling kiosks, as well as locations that offer sampling assistance.
For locations offering assistance with sampling, area hunters can go to the Lake Tomahawk Meat Market, the Woodruff DNR service center, Strasburg's North Country Taxidermy in Hazlehurst, TJ's Butcher Block in Minocqua, and Prime Choice Meat Market in Eagle River.
For self-serve kiosks, area hunters can go to the Crescent Town Shop, the Rhinelander Service Center, the Three Lakes Shell Station, the Eagle River Ranger Station, the town of Boulder Junction Town Shop, Dietz's Phillip 66 in Manitowish Waters, and the Mercer DNR Ranger Station.
An adequate sample includes the deer's head and about a hand's width of neck, as it is the lymph nodes that are tested.
Hunters can keep the antlers and if they are interested in a full head mount they may make an appointment with a DNR wildlife biologist to extract the lymph nodes while keeping the head in tact.
In addition to CWD testing, deer hunters can also do their part to prevent the spread of CWD by properly disposing their deer carcasses.
Keeping deer carcasses off the landscape prevents predators and scavengers from ripping up the carcasses and contaminating the soil with possibly infectious prions.
There is a dumpster at the Rhinelander DNR service center which was sponsored by the Superior Woodlands Company.
There is also a dumpster at the DNR Ranger Station in Mercer. Additionally the Highway G Sanitary Landfill accepts deer carcass waste.
Finally, hunters can aid the fight against CWD by obeying the baiting and feeding ban currently in place in Oneida and Vilas counties.
Baiting and feeding dangerously promote a shared feeding space, thereby creating a risky situation where prions could be passed from an infected deer to a healthy one.
Despite the danger, warden Dave Walz, a DNR law enforcement supervisor, has seen a lack of respect for the baiting ban.
"We still have a fair amount of violating going on with it,' he said. "That tends to be our most common complaint and violation encountered out there."
The fine for a baiting or feeding pile is $345.50 for a first violation, but if not immediately cleaned up, a second ticket of that same amount will be issued.
All hunters who care about Wisconsin's deer herd bear the burden of CWD, but they're also the ones with the power to best monitor and control its spread.
Jacob Friede may be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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