Wisconsin’s CWD review committee being asked to prove deer herd’s importance to Wisconsin economy
The CWD Response Plan Review Committee has met twice in Madison and will hold its third meeting Dec. 12.
The committee is reviewing the DNR’s 2010-25 plan to minimize the area of Wisconsin where CWD occurs and the number of infected deer in the state.
The meetings are open to the public and have provided some interesting information.
One action that many hunters would like is a kit where they can easily have their deer tested to see if it is positive for CWD.
At the Nov. 14 meeting, it was mentioned that the DNR is testing that very idea this deer hunting season.
Tami Ryan, DNR wildlife health specialist, said that 52 hunters have been selected to receive a kit and training, allowing them to take samples of the retro-phyrengial lymph nodes and send them in for analysis.
So far this season three samples have been returned to the DNR and Ryan said that it appears the hunters did a good job of obtaining the samples.
These lymph nodes are one of the most accurate tests to determine if a deer has CWD.
There is time provided during each committee meeting for the public to speak.
In October three members of the public spoke, including Simon Liegel who hunts Richland County. He asked for more incentives to get deer tested. He thinks the CWD problem is worse than has been reported.
In November, Tom Hauge said that he has had two CWD-positive deer come off his 20 acres in Sauk County.
He cited one researcher who said that removing 40 percent or more of CWD-positive deer annually can drive CWD-prevalence down and not let it increase.
Hauge, too, asked the committee to find what incentives are needed to get hunters and landowners to remove CWD-positive deer from the landscape.
Hauge urged the committee to recommend the need for an economic study to show the value of the white-tailed deer to the economy and tourism of the state of Wisconsin.
The legislature will require proof that the deer herd is worth investing in.
“We invested $250 million to keep the Milwaukee Bucks franchise healthy. Are we willing to do the same for our real deer herd?” Hauge asked.
Mike Riggle, committee member from the Conservation Congress, said that he has been a part of many panels in the past that just ended up on the shelf.
“I am cautiously optimistic that this group can come up with something really good and meaningful,” Riggle said.