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County councils to discuss DNR's CWD plans

posted Jan. 6, 2017 12:00 a.m. | updated Jan. 6, 2017 11:53 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Andrew Dowd. bio | email

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    Staff photo by Dan Reiland | Enlarge
    - A deer beds down on a cold day under a pine tree on Dec. 30. The state Department of Natural Resources’ proposed changes in its plan to fight chronic wasting disease will be discussed in the next two weeks at county deer advisory council meetings.

Deer hunters can give their opinions on the state Department of Natural Resources campaign against chronic wasting disease during upcoming meetings scheduled this month throughout the state.

County deer advisory councils will meet in the next two weeks to discuss the DNR’s proposed changes to its 15-year plan to manage the deer-killing disease and results of a recent survey, and to accept additional comments.

“This is the first meeting we’ve had that deals with CWD only,” said David Zielke, chairman of the Eau Claire County Deer Advisory Council.

As part of the first five-year review of the state’s 2010 CWD response plan, deer councils in all 72 Wisconsin counties will be hosting the same meetings.

“Anyone’s welcome at the meeting; that’s the nice thing,” Zielke said of the local meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening.

Attendees will be able to give input on a list of 56 potential action items the DNR may pursue as part of its CWD response efforts that it is seeking opinions on.

That list includes pushing for legislation to restrict baiting and feeding wild deer populations, regulating fencing at deer farms, and increasing surveillance of deer herds to monitor CWD.

The local advisory councils’ gatherings offer the second opportunity residents get to weigh in on this first review and update to the state’s plan.

From Dec. 20 to Tuesday, a survey on the DNR’s website allowed people to submit their comments online.

“There were more than 2,000 people who took the survey,” said Kevin Wallenfang, a deer and elk ecologist in the DNR’s Bureau of Wildlife Management.

Local survey results will be shared in the upcoming deer advisory council meetings.

“At every one of those meetings the results of that survey within their county will be reviewed,” Wallenfang said.

This month’s deer advisory council meetings will be limited just to CWD agenda items. 

County deer advisory councils’ usual annual meetings to gather opinions on other details of deer hunting season and make suggestions for the 2017 season will be scheduled in March and April.

CWD is a fatal nervous system disease affecting white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose and elk. Signs of the disease appear more than 1½ years after infection occurs, according to the DNR’s website. Later stages of the disease include behavioral changes and weight loss in infected deer.

Contact: 715-833-9204, andrew.dowd@ecpc.com, @ADowd_LT on Twitter