CWD in Marathon County; deer questions coming soon
So we are back to talking about deer and deer hunting. I hadn’t planned it like that, but, hey, it’s all interrelated.
First, the deer, more specifically the wild-born whitetail killed in Marathon County during the deer season that tested positive for CWD.
You read that right. Chronic Wasting Disease in a wild deer in Marathon County. And you could most likely correctly state, statistically, it won’t be the only wild whitetail with CWD in Marathon County.
The deer lived in the Reid Township located within 10 miles of adjacent Shawano, Portage and Waupaca counties. Reid Township is in the southeast section of the county, six miles in from the eastern border and six miles north of the southern line of the county. Bevent Township is to the south and Elderon Township is to the east.
State law requires the DNR to ban baiting and feeding of deer in counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a deer that tests positive for CWD or tuberculosis. Marathon, Shawano, Portage and Waupaca counties are already identified as CWD-affected counties and already have baiting and feeding bans in place. Shawano had a farm raised deer test positive last year and we all know how we ended up as an affected county. It was from Portage County deer from a deer farm testing positive.
What does this mean for us? A lot of almost nothing. The hunting parameters will be pretty much the same. No baiting or feeding for a minimum of three years until another deer is found positive just outside of a deer farm. Oh, did I say that?
If you think the river is a barrier from CWD spreading west, that’s a large leap. First, there are plenty of bridges where deer farm deer get ferried across. Second, I have witnessed a whitetail deer swim across the Wisconsin River in Grant County, where there might not be a lot of rapids, but the river is a whole lot wider, deeper, and possesses strong fast currents. I bet it’s not a daily occurrence, but I bet a few deer swim it every year up here.
What you do want to take stock in is the Natural Resource Board (NRB) voting to put six questions on the ballot for the annual spring hearings. They want to know our feelings on a 19 day gun deer season. It appears these may be on the Conservation Congresses side of things, which are non-binding questions. I have not seen the exact questions yet, most likely because the final format has not yet been approved. But they will ask if you want a longer gun season. If you prefer a start date on the Saturday closest to the 15th or prefer the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving. They would like to incorporate the muzzleloader season into the traditional gun deer season.
They intend to ask questions about limiting the use of crossbows for deer to October and November, after the gun deer season ends – whatever that means.
They will ask about eliminating a four-day antlerlessonly hunt in December, banning hunting for two or five days leading up to the start of the November gun season and whether archery or crossbow buck tags should be invalidated during the gun deer season.
I recall the votes on allowing archery hunting during the gun season. We were pretty clear we didn’t care. Want to hunt with a bow during the gun season? Have at it, we said. I recall when the Friday before gun season was only open to waterfowl. Seemed one day worked then, why two to five days now? And, if the question about crossbows ends up looking something like closing the crossbow season around the middle of October and opening it up again in December, I wouldn’t be surprised.
As a kid I would have given a lot for one more weekend of deer hunting with a rifle. I still think that’s a good idea. I would still like the opener to start the Saturday before Thanksgiving, not just for tradition, but for practical reasons. I also think the opening up of archery to include crossbows has been a good thing and should stay a good thing.
The hearings are in April, you can make your voice heard by online questionnaire or by attending. You should do one. We have been asked questions like this before. We will revisit this when we know what the exact questions will be.
CHUCK K OLAR LOCAL OUTDOORSMAN