Putting the kibosh on deer carcass, game farm fencing rules
Wisconsin’s new rules designed to help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) are at risk of not making it to full implementation.
And if I were a betting man, I’d bet that the new deer carcass transportation rules will be suspended by the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) on Oct. 1, which, ironically, is the date that the new emergency rule is supposed to go to work.
The reason? In talking to legislative assistants leading up to the Oct. 1 hearing, it sounds as though Republicans who control the legislature feel that:
- Most hunters are not aware of the new rules.
- The carcass transport rules create a hardship for hunters.
- Food processors who are not licensed will not be able to receive carcasses.
- DNR wardens will come down hard on hunters who unintentionally cross county lines with carcasses.
- Many hunters see no harm in consuming venison, regardless of whether the deer is CWD-positive.
The legislature’s JCRAR will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 1 to review the new rules that the Natural Resources Board approved in August. They have already scheduled a vote on the rules immediately afterward in executive session.
The new rules, passed in August, would require hunters who shoot deer in CWD-affected counties to leave the spinal column, head and bones in the county of harvest, unless the carcass is being transported to a taxidermist or meat processor within 72 hours of leaving the county.
The head of the deer may be moved outside of the county if it is transported to a CWD sampling station.
In addition, the rules require white-tailed deer farms to have a double fence to help prevent nose-to-nose contact between wild deer and those confined within a fence.
Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, said he believes that the rules are a hardship on hunters, and his office warned Gov. Scott Walker of that as Walker finally instructed the DNR to do something about CWD.
Walker signed off on the rules, most likely knowing that the JCRAR would suspend them.
Citizens who believe it is about time the state had stricter rules to help prevent the spread of CWD, can appear at the hearing or contact committee members: Representative Ballweg (co-chair); Senator Nass (co-chair); Senator LeMahieu; Senator Stroebel; Senator Larson; Senator Wirch; Representative Neylon; Representative Ott; Representative Hebl; and Representative Anderson.
The hearing will be in Room 412 East of the State Capitol in Madison.
If JCRAR members kill the CWD rules on Oct. 1, once again, short-term politics will trump long-term science.