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May 25, 2018

5/4/2018 7:28:00 AM
We're taking bold actions to protect Wisconsin's hunting traditions
Gov. Scott Walker
Governor of Wisconsin

Wisconsin is ready for bold, decisive action to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD).

Hunting in Wisconsin is more than a hobby, it is a family tradition spanning generations. It is a part of our way of life here in Wisconsin. That's why more than 798,499 deer hunting licenses were issued last year for gun, archery, and crossbow hunting and 320,039 deer were registered in 2017.

But, chronic wasting disease is posing a threat to our time-honored tradition.

It's clear that Wisconsin's hunters are concerned about CWD because they're testing their deer more and more. Through the DNR's self-service sampling kiosks, hunters submitted more than 2,500 deer heads for sampling this year through 47 different kiosks. This is a substantial increase from 2015 when there were seven kiosks that accepted 119 samples. On top of that, hunters helped increase tests through submissions to the DNR or the Wisconsin veterinary lab with 9,685 deer sampled in 2017 - an increase of 3,549 from 2016.

But, it's time to do more. These steps will make us one of the leaders nationally in combating CWD because that is what our state needs. Our initiatives announced this month will work with both deer farms and hunters to hinder the spread and maintain Wisconsin's hunting traditions for future generations.

We are working with the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) to implement two rulemaking changes for deer farms. The movement of live deer from CWD affected counties will be banned and we are going to require enhanced fencing for all deer farms. While all deer farms are currently mandated to have 8-foot fences, this new rule will require farmers to either: build a non-permeable fence, build a second fence of the same height, or add an electrical fence within the boundaries of their current 8-foot fencing. This gives deer farmers the ability to choose the best option for them while enhancing protections for both the wild deer herd and farm-raised herd.

While our deer farmers are playing a critical role in containing the spread of CWD, we also need to rely on our hunters to help in this effort. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be requiring hunters to debone deer prior to transporting in CWD counties. If a hunter is taking their deer to a licensed taxidermist or a processor, the whole deer can be moved.

Wisconsin has always been a leader and now it's time for us once again to lead when it comes to CWD.

We encourage all hunters to continue using kiosks and testing. Through our combined efforts, we will continue to protect Wisconsin's long-standing hunting tradition.

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