October 4, 2011
MADISON - State wildlife officials and conservation wardens are reminding hunters that baiting and feeding of deer is banned in 28 Wisconsin counties and that current law places restrictions on the timing and amount of bait that can be used for hunting purposes in all remaining counties. Additional information on baiting and feeding regulations can be found in the 2011 Deer Hunting regulations (pdf).
Wildlife health officials say chronic wasting disease is transmitted through deer to deer contact, so baiting is banned in the CWD zone. Concentrations of deer at bait and feeding sites are likely to promote the transmission of infectious agents. CWD is also transmitted through exposure to a contaminated environment. Scientific studies have concluded that CWD, the always fatal disease in deer, can be spread through saliva passed between deer at baiting and feeding locations.
Practices impact deer behavior
"Deer hunters know that baiting and feeding decrease deer movement which reduces deer sightings and hunting opportunities away from the baiting site," said acting DNR big game biologist, Dan Hirchert. "These practices can also draw deer into residential areas where hunting may be prohibited or restricted"
Illegal baiting and feeding are among the most frequent violations cited by conservation law enforcement officers and one of the most frequent sources of citizen complaints according to law enforcement officials. However, awareness of baiting and feeding restrictions and impacts is growing through outreach and education.
In 2010, the top violation encountered by conservation wardens during the gun deer season was illegal baiting of deer. But there is promising news. The number of arrests for illegal baiting at 216 represented a 35 percent decline from 2009
The 2010 deer season report said complaints to the DNR Hotline regarding illegal baiting and feeding also were down 50 percent. The volume of material found in bait piles also dropped.
Read more about baiting and feeding regulations on the DNR website.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Hirchert - (608) 264-6023