Tuesday, January 29, 2008

WISCONSIN OPINION: Deer Baiting Ban Misguided

Rooney notes: I am not sure if agree with the entire argument made here, but parts are well-reasonsed and worth considering.

Dear Editor: Tim Eisele's condemnation of the Department of Natural Resources stakeholders advisory group on chronic wasting disease, of which I was a member, needs a response. This is my personal view.

He fails to tell his readers that baiting has been banned in the CWD zone for five years; has it stopped CWD from spreading? He fails to inform readers that research shows the prion involved with CWD binds tightly to soil and fails to inform us that healthy animals put in a pen 16 years after CWD-infected animals were removed caught the disease. This indicates an environmental reservoir (soil?) exists for years.

In areas of Wisconsin where CWD is not present, no amount of saliva exchange can transmit CWD.

The advisory group got it right, i.e., they recognized the difference between baiting and feeding -- one used to kill deer, the other to protect deer -- something the DNR and some state organizations seem unable or unwilling to recognize.

Eisele fails to tell readers that hunting over bait is the safest hunting method; no hunter has been wounded or killed by another hunter hunting over bait. The same can't be said about deer drives, which are the most dangerous hunting method. Yet we don't hear a safety-conscious DNR or any outdoor writer wanting to get rid of deer drives, just baiting.

But maybe we all have it backward. In the CWD zone where we want to reduce the deer population, maybe we should allow baiting, like DNR sharpshooters did, since an environmental prion reservoir exists, and ban baiting in the rest of Wisconsin where it's not found.

One concern I have is that we allow tens of thousands of gallons of doe urine from deer farms to be spread across our landscape as "buck lure" when a synthetic alternative exists.

I believe the most significant recommendation of the CWD advisory group was to enact regulations restricting movement of whole deer carcasses out of the CWD zone. That, I predict, would do more to prevent the spread of CWD than any baiting ban.

Ken Anderson
Eagle River

Source: http://www.madison.com/tct/opinion/letters/269838

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