Wisconsin deer hunters no longer have to break down deer carcasses in CWD-affected counties
The new emergency rules for transporting deer carcasses from CWD-affected counties were repealed Monday, Oct. 1, and hunters now will follow the same rules as in the 2017 season, although the game farm fencing rules remain in place.
At least temporarily.
The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR) held a public hearing and executive session Oct. 1 and suspended the new carcass-transport rules that had been adopted by the Natural Resources Board with the blessing of the governor.
The new rules were scheduled to go into effect Monday, Oct. 1, but were suspended when JCRAR members voted at 5 p.m. following the hearing. The vote was on party lines, with six Republicans voting to suspend the rule, and four Democrats voting to uphold the rule.
General comments against the rule were that it was flawed, that it was an overstep of DNR administrative authority, that it’s too late to notify hunters of this rule, that there are not enough licensed venison processors, and that the DNR should instead have a dumpster in each county for hunters to dispose of carcasses.
JCRAR members then voted not to suspend the other half of the emergency rule requiring deer farms to have double fencing in one year. This rule is in effect for 150 days and may or may not be extended.
Deer farmers objected to double fencing, saying it will drive them out of business, while proponents said it will help reduce contact between game farm animals and wild deer.
Legislators’ questions revealed a lack of knowledge of CWD science, and CWD researchers were not present at the hearing.
Both rules had been passed by the NRB following extensive public comment, multiple CWD Review Committee meetings involving stakeholders, and eventual support by Gov. Scott Walker in order to slow the spread of CWD.
The seven-hour public hearing saw 28 people testify for or against the proposals.