9/1/22 News Release from the Wisconsin DNR

 

Help Slow the Spread of CWD This Deer Season by CWD testing, proper carcass disposal, following baiting and feeding regulations, Adopt-a-Kiosk or Adopt-a-Dumpster, and more. The WI DHS and the CDC recommend against consuming meat from deer that test positive for CWD. Read the news release here


FOR TWO CONSECUTIVE LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS THE

WISCONSIN LEGISLATURE HAS DONE NOTHING TO ADDRESS CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE IN WISCONSIN

 

During the 2019-2020 and 2021-2022 legislative sessions the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature did absolutely nothing to address Wisconsin's increasingly serious 20-year problem with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

 

Four CWD-related bills were introduced in the Assembly and four in the Senate during the 2021-2022 legislative session:

 

AB151/SB166, AB771/SB748, AB772/SB749 and AB773/SB750. (See the 2021-2022 WI Animal Legislation tab for links to these bills.) None of these eight bills even made it out of their respective committees. 


CWD infects deer, elk and moose. CWD can be highly transmissible within deer and elk populations. The mode of transmission is not fully understood, but evidence supports the possibility that CWD is spread through direct animal-to-animal contact or as a result of indirect exposure to prions in the environment, e.g. contaminated feed and water sources. 

 

"Identifying Animals at Risk from CWD". A raccoon family feeds on a deer carcass staked out by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, in a study aimed at determining which species could be at risk of contracting CWD." University of Wisconsin-Madison  (Photo courtesty of the Wisconsin Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Wisconsin-Madison


(Above photo provided by Wyoming Game and Fish and Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance)

The lack of political will on the part of the Wisconsin legislature for the past 20 years to seriously plan for and mitigate the effects of CWD has forced our native gentle deer, as seen in the photo above, to endure a slow miserable death. They waste away slowly, lack coordination, are listless, drool, can be overly thirsty, and suffer greatly in general.


Most Wisconsinites know that deer hunting in Wisconsin is big business, but far fewer are aware of the captive cervid industry in Wisconsin.

 

These facilities are commonly known as “deer farms”. Wisconsin currently has 301 registered deer farms, 68 of which are hunting ranches. The deer are used for two purposes, breeding and hunting.

 

Read the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection's (DATCP) 5/17/22  list of "Registered Deer Farms" here, and the 5/17/22 list of "Registered Hunting Preserves" here.

 

According to the DATCP website, as of January 2022 there are 11 hunting ranches infected with CWD currently in operation and seven deer farms infected with CWD currently in operation.

 

According to the DATCP website, as of February 9, 2022 the number of farms with a positive CWD test since 2001 is 37 and the number of herds “depopulated” (killed) since 2001 as a result of a CWD positive deer is 19.

 

During 2020, CWD positives were found on captive cervid facilities in the following counties: Marathon, Oneida, Iowa, Oconto, Shawano, Marinette, Forest, Trempealeau, and Burnett.

 

January 2021: CWD positive samples were found in farm-raised deer in Oconto and Shawano counties.

 

August 11, 2021:  the DATCP issued a press release confirming that deer farms in Sauk and Taylor counties tested positive for CWD. Read the press release here.

 

September 1, 2021: the DATCP issued a press release confirming that a deer farm in Langlade County tested positive for CWD. Read the press release here.

 

September 2, 2021: the DATCP issued a press release confirming that a deer farm in Outagamie County tested positive for CWD. Read the press release here.

 

September 29, 2021: the DATCP issued a press release confirming that a deer farm in Vilas County tested positive for CWD. The DATCP has quarantined the approximately 250 white-tailed deer at the 600-acre farm.  Read the press release here.

 

November 9, 2021: the DATCP issued a press release confirming that a white-tailed deer from an Eau Claire County hunting ranch tested positive for CWD. The hunt ranch was confirmed to have received the deer from a Waukesha County deer farm which has also been placed under quarantine. Read the press release here.

 

December 17, 2021: the DATCP issued a press release confirming that two white-tailed deer at a Portage County hunting ranch have tested positive for CWD. The 200-acre hunting ranch and its herd of approximately 370 deer are under quarantine. Read the press release here.

 

February 10, 2022: the DATCP issued a press release confirming that two white-tailed deer at a Waukesha County deer farm tested have positive for CWD. Read the press release here.

 

May 18, 2022: the DATCP issued a press release confirming that a white-tailed deer at a Walworth County hobby far has tested positive for CWD. Read the press release here.

 

June 17, 2022: the DATCP issued a press release confirming that a Langlade County deer farm that tested positive for CWD in 2021 has been depopulated. The farm owner will receive a federal indemnity payment. Read the press release here.

 

August 16, 2022: the DATCP issued a press release confirming that the Waukesha County deer farm that tested positive for CWD in February 2022 (see above) has been depopulated. The farm owner will receive a federal indemnity payment. Read the press release here.

 

August 25, 2022: the DATCP issued a press release confirming that the Taylor County deer farm that tested positive for CWD in August 2021(see above) has been depopulated. The farm owner will receive a federal indemnity payment. Read the press release here.

 

All captive deer facilities must be fenced. If whitetail deer are in the registered herd, a fencing  certificate must be obtained from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

 

The DATCP oversees all other aspects of captive deer facilities.

 

 

STATE/FEDERAL INDEMNITY PAYMENTS TO CAPTIVE DEER FACILITIES FOR CWD INFECTED DEER

 

Wisconsin law provides that when an infected captive deer facility is depopulated, the facility owner can be reimbursed not more than $1,500 per animal unless the owner disposes of the deer carcass as directed by the DATCP. In that case, the facility owner can be reimbursed more than $1,500 per animal.

 

Note that Wisconsin statutes provide that the maximum wild animal protection surcharge for the unlawful killing, wounding, catching, taking, trapping, or possession of a deer in Wisconsin is forty-three dollars and seventy-five cents  . . .  $43.75.

 

The Wisconsin DATCP reports that the following state indemnity payments were made to Wisconsin deer farm owners for the years 2002 through 2021:

 

2003: $145,676

2004: $  15,924

2006: $  52,106

2007: $    6,386

2009: $    1,400

2010: $    1,091

2015: $  73,000

2016: $298,770

2018: $136,040

2019: $104,000

2020: $175,483

 

USDA/APHIS reports that the following federal indemnity payments were made to Wisconsin deer farm owners for the fiscal years 2002 through 9/30/21.*

 

2003: $288,350       

2004: $    6,204

2005: $173,124

2006: $160,204

2009: $  50,476

2015: $  27,611

2016: $  0

2017: $  0

2018: $128,155

2019: $142,030

2020: $    7,251

2021: $  77,250

 

*USDA/APHIS reports that the agency is only required to retain records for five years, and that these "numbers may be incomplete since the records are past their required retention date and some may have been deleted once the retention period expired."

 

Chronic Wasting Disease and Wisconsin's Wild Deer


 

October 29, 2021: the DNR confirmed that a wild deer tested positive for CWD in Fon du Lac County. This is the first time that a wild deer tested positive for CWD in Fon du Lac County. Read the press release here.

 

November 11, 2021: the DNR's Wisconsin CWD Fall 2021 Update states that there are currently 60 Wisconsin CWD-affected counties, including 34 counties with at least one CWD positive detection in the wild deer herd. Ozaukee, Winnebago, and Taylor counties were added as new CWD affected counties in 2021. Read the update here.

 

December 17, 2021: the DNR confirmed that a wild deer tested positive for CWD in Vilas County. This is the first confirmed wild positive case of CWD in Vilas County. Read the press release here. The DNR and the Vilas County Deer Advisory Council will host a virtual public meeting on the status of CWD in wild deer in Vilas County on 2/9/22, 6-9 PM. Disease surveillance options in response to the detection of CWD in Vilas County will also be discussed. Read the press release here.

 

January 11, 2022: the DNR confirmed that two wild deer harvested in Monroe County tested positive for CWD. These are the first confirmed wild positive cases of CWD in Monroe County. Per state law, the DNR will renew a three-year feeding and baiting ban in Monroe County. The DNR will hold a virtual information meeting 2/3/22 from 6-8 PM to discuss CWD in Monroe County. Read the press release here.

 

January 11, 2022: the DNR confirmed that a wild deer harvested in Oconto County tested positive for CWD. This is the first confirmed wild positive case of CWD in Oconto County. Per state law, this finding will affect feeding and baiting bans in Oconto and Menominee Counties. Shawano County is already under a feeding and baiting ban due to a positive CWD detection at a captive deer farm earlier this year. The DNR and Oconto and Shawano CDACs will hold a virtual public meeting on the status of CWD in those counties and a response plan for sampling wild deer in those counties on 2/1/22 from 6-8 PM. Read the press release here.

 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, certain experimental studies on the possibility of transmission of CWD to non-human primates raise the concern that CWD may pose a risk to people, and suggest that it is important to prevent human exposure to CWD. 

 

“Additional studies are underway to identify if any prion diseases could be occurring at a higher rate in people who are at increased risk for contact with potentially CWD-infected deer or elk meat. Because of the long time it takes before any symptoms of disease appear, scientists expect the study to take many years before they will determine what the risk, if any, of CWD is to people.” 

 

The only conclusive diagnosis of CWD involves an examination of the brain, tonsils, or lymph nodes of the animal performed after death. In areas where CWD is known to be present, the CDC recommends that hunters strongly consider having those animals tested before eating the meat (as well as recommendations for decreasing their potential risk of exposure to CWD when hunting in areas where CWD is present). The Wisconsin DNR encourages hunters who take deer in counties affected by CWD (60 of Wisconsin's 72 counties) to have the animal tested for CWD and only consume venison from deer in which CWD is not detected.

 

 


 

 On April 1, 2020, all of the bills listed below failed to pass pursuant to a joint senate resolution.

 

AB534 and SB474 required the DNR to provide self-service CWD testing kiosks where hunters may drop off deer carcass samples for testing. The bill provides $200,000 in the 2019-2021 fiscal biennium for the kiosks.

 

SB910 required the DATCP to create a financial assistance program for persons who keep farm-raised deer and who are required to erect a double fence or a solid barrier around captive deer because of CWD found in wild deer in the vicinity of captive deer.

 

AB6 and SB6 address the DNR's authority regarding the handling of deer carcasses in the field and the transport of deer carcasses.

 

AB348 and SB325 require the DNR to establish a program to award grants (of up to $5,400 per council per fiscal year) to county deer management councils for the disposal of deer carcasses.

 

AB533 and SB473 provide that the DNR may research CWD in any species of deer or elk that is present in the wild and that is not a farm-raised deer, in addition to managing and providing funding to conduct testing for CWD, which the DNR is authorized to do under current law. The bill also appropriates one million dollars annually for research and management of CWD. Current law appropriates NO money for this purpose.

 

AB535 and SB477 require the DNR to provide large metal containers where hunters may dispose of deer carcasses to be placed in locations throughout the state as determined by the DNR. The bill provides two million dollars in the 2019-2021 fiscal biennium for the carcass disposal sites. The bill also provides $100,000 for the DNR to provide education to hunters about CWD and the importance of proper carcass disposal.

 

AB39 and SB36give judges the discretion to impose a surcharge not less than $43.75 and not more than $5,000 for the unlawful killing, wounding, catching, taking, trapping or possession of a deer in Wisconsin. 

 


After being introduced, all but one of the above bills were referred to either the Assembly Committee on Sporting Heritage or the Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry. During the 2019-2020 legislative session Representative Rob Stafsholt (R-New Richmond) chaired the Assembly Committee on Sporting Heritage. The committee was comprised of nine Republicans and five Democrats. 

 

 

Until he was sworn in as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives on May 19, 2020, Thomas Tiffany (R-Minocqua) chaired the Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry. During the time that Tiffany chaired the committee it was comprised of three Republicans and two Democrats.


FEDERAL CWD LEGISLATION

 

In 2019 Wisconsin Congressional Representative Ron Kind introduced H.R.1550, the Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives. It was co-sponsored by Wisconsin Representatives Sensenbrenner, Grothman, Gallagher, Steil, Pocan, Moore, and Tiffany. A few weeks later the Senate version, S.689, was introduced.

 

 

Both bills define CWD as belonging to the group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. That group includes scrapie, BSE (commonly known as Mad Cow disease) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

 

 

Both bills have the stated intent to support state and tribal efforts to develop and implement management strategies to address CWD among deer, elk and moose populations and to support research regarding the causes of CWD and methods to control the further spread of the disease.

 

 

Both bills provide that in determining the amounts of funds to be allocated to state and tribal agencies priority be given to states and tribes with the highest incidence of CWD; that have shown the greatest financial commitment to managing, monitoring, surveying and researching CWD; that have comprehensive policies and programs focused on CWD management that are integrated among all involved state or tribal wildlife and agricultural agencies. Neither of the bills made it out of committee during the 116th Congress (2019-2020).

 

 

On 10/19/21 Rep. Kind introduced H.R. 5608 (Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act). The bill was referred to the House Agriculture Committee. Rep. Mark Pocan was the only Wisconsin Representative to co-sponsor the bill. The House passed H.R. 5608 on 12/08/21 by a 393 to 33 vote. The bill was received in the Senate on 12/09/21 and was referred to the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee.