Is December Zone T riding into the sunset?

The board passed the amendment, meaning the four-day December
antlerless gun season will be in effect statewide during the
2002-2004 seasons. After the 2004 season, the December hunt ends,
but could be reinstated by the NRB following a positive evaluation.
The season framework now goes back to the Legislature to see if
legislators are satisfied.

Jim Tiefenthaler, board member from Waukesha, made a motion to
modify the season so that it would include a four-day extension of
the early bow season prior to the gun deer season with the
three-year sunset provision, but the motion failed.

Baiting and feeding

Beside amending the new deer season framework, the board also
voted on measures that could prevent disease from entering the
state’s wild and captive deer and elk herds.

The NRB approved recommendations by its Special Committee on
Deer Baiting and Feeding, requesting the Legislature to provide the
Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP)
and DNR with budgets and additional positions needed to prevent
livestock and captive deer and elk infected with diseases from
entering Wisconsin. This would include mandatory testing of animals
and mandatory animal health check-points.

The board also requested legislation empowering DNR and DATCP to
take swift action to eradicate infected wild deer, cattle and
captive deer and elk immediately upon detection. In addition, the
board requested that legislation be passed allowing DNR and DATCP
to regulate captive wildlife.

Finally, the board requested legislation empowering DNR and
DATCP to implement emergency measures governing supplemental
feeding of deer, cattle and captive deer and elk within specific
deer units, if and when bovine tuberculosis (TB) or other
significant disease is found in wild deer.

The intent is to curtail the spread of disease by regulating
outdoor feeding of hay, grains and minerals in an area where the
disease is present.

“The DNR has sampled some wild deer killed by hunters and as far
as we know there is no disease in the wild herd in Wisconsin,” said
Trygve Solberg, committee chairman and chairman of the Natural
Resources Board. “But if there is a problem, it will probably be
from an animal brought in from outside the state.”

The committee met four times between December of 2000 and March.
It heard reports from state veterinarians and veterinarians and
wildlife officials from the Michigan DNR, where an outbreak of
bovine TB in that state has caused problems for the wild deer herd
and livestock industry.

Dan Poulson, NRB member from Palmyra, commented that the state
has two valuable and large herds the wild deer herd and domestic
livestock, and it will take continual surveillance to keep both
healthy.

Two citizens presented differing opinions to the board. Jerry
Aulik, co-chairman of the Conservation Congress Deer 2000 Baiting
and Feeding Committee, said he supported the recommendations. His
concern is for the state to control the entry of animals across its
borders.

Aulik said he would like to see deer farms required to put a
double fence around their boundaries to help contain animals.

Mark Toso, representing the Wisconsin Deer Hunters Association,
was concerned with the recommendations because they don’t restrict
baiting. He said he thinks there is more support to eliminate
baiting than to keep baiting in Wisconsin.

“Even if there is a 50-50 split among hunters over the issue of
baiting, you should do what’s best for the resource, not what’s
best for the hunters,” Toso said.

The board committee maintained the current 10-gallon limit for
bait used in hunting deer. It decided not to follow recommendations
by the Congress Deer 2000 Baiting and Feeding Committee that would
have restricted baiting to six gallons per hunting site over an
area no more than a 10-feet by 10-feet.

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