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Deer and moose farms grow, control efforts trip

Bucks is seen in one of the pens at Wilderness Whitetail Breeding Farm in Rosholt, Wis. Lethal chronic wasted disease…

A rapidly growing number of cases of chronic wasting disease occurs in deer and moose hunting and hunting rights in Wisconsin while the state has withdrawn rules and procedures designed to limit the spread of it mortal brain disease among its captivity and deceased.

Since 2013, when the Department of Agriculture, Commerce and Consumer Protection (DATCP) began to allow infarct deer farms with infected animals to continue functioning, further cases of CWD have evolved within these facilities, according to interviews and documents obtained under the State’s Open Records Law .

The government’s overall strategy for limiting CWD lacks consistency. In October, months after the government’s Scott Walker announced “aggressive new actions” against CWD, legislators rejected an emergency rule to restrict hunters from moving deer bodies from counties affected by fatal heart disease.

At the same time, reinforced fencing requirements are dealt with. for captive deer and other cervids including moose – but these proposals face strong resistance from property owners who say that such a requirement does not guarantee to stop the CWD spread and can extinguish them.

National CWD expert Bryan Richards said Wisconsin’s current approach to allowing CWD infected animals to continue to pose a serious threat to the state’s deer population, which has seen more than 4400 infected deer since the first CWD case in 2002. [19659006] Wisconsin now has more CWD positive deer farms than any other state in the nation, “said Richards, who works for the American Geological Survey at the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

There are nine CWD positive deer plants still on business – seven of which have seen additional cases of CWD on their DATCP register properties

“The presence of CWD in these facilities represents a clear, sustained and likely escalating risk for the wild deer’s integrity on the other side of the fence, “Richards says.

But a top DATCP official said the goal is to keep CWD in and out of the deer population. Until 2013, crews were killed at CWD-positive establishments in Wisconsin and the sites were disinfected.

The new approach is intended to alleviate the risk of moving the disease … outside the fence, “says Amy Horn-Delzer, veterinary program manager.

The Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention Measures It’s Unclear Whether This Always Deadly Disease Can Be Transferred To People. Signs of the disease in animals include weight loss, trip, drool and aggression.

There are 380 registered commercial deer and moose operations in Wisconsin spread across almost all counties in the state. They are usually divided into two categories: breeding farms and hunting grounds.

Avelsgårdar raises deer to sell to slaughter and to ranches selling hunting experiences on fenced-in properties. They also sell deer to other breeding farms that want to introduce new genetic lines into their crew.

There have been 300 CWD positive tests at 24 farms and hunting rights in Wisconsin, according to state records. Most of them have been found since 2013 – the same year as DATCP, which shares deer regulation with the State Department for Natural Resources, began to allow CWD infected plants to continue to function.

State legislation allows authorities to test animals and, if warranted, kill the crew to avoid the spread of disease. Owners can get up to $ 3,000 in state and federal support for every euthanized animal.

DATCP’s state veterinarian Darlene Konkle said the agency is now evaluating the risk on a case-by-case basis rather than a covered policy to depopulate entire crews after a detection. Konkle said that DATCP is keeping close tabs on them, including a ban on moving live animals on or off.

The hunting ranch is open despite 84 CWD cases

But there are exceptions to the rule.

Wilderness Game Farm Inc. operates two breeding farms and a hunting ranch in Portage County and chases ranches in Marathon and Shawano County. Since 2013, there have been 84 cases of CWD at the Marathon County hunting ranch called Wilderness North – the most of any prison in Wisconsin.

The ranch continues to sell hunting priced at between $ 4,000 and $ 9,000 each, with the option of a Gold Hunt – no price listed – promising deer with field dogs measuring 200 inches, including all points.

Wilderness Emails Game Farm Owner Greg Flees and DATCP officials show quarantines allow Flees to move deer from their farms, which had no CWD discoveries, to their hunting ranches. One of them, Comet Creek in Shawano County, has had six deer test positive for CWD since 2017.

In April, officials also approved Flee’s request to move deer considered genetically resistant to CWD to the highly infected Wilderness North property to test whether they develop the disease. It is part of a research project in collaboration with a researcher from Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona.

Flees is one of the most famous names in deer use in Wisconsin and throughout the country. He said he does not know how CWD came to his hunting ranch in Marathon County.

“We never took a deer elsewhere than this farm that has never had a positive,” said Flees. “We left them on this property, and when they were in that landscape, suddenly we suddenly got some positive things. “

Flees said it is possible that CWD was already on the property. A study from 2015 shows that the incorrect protein that causes CWD, called prion, can be taken from the soil to plants and infect deer.

A Another potential transfer method is deer flying from CWD-positive plants. The DATCP records show that 67 deer fled from Fairchild Whitetails in Eau Claire County between 2009 and 2015 before the 228 head was defeated. Among the escape, two funds were shot by hunters who tested positive for the CWD, reported the Eau Claire Leader Telegram.

Owner Rick Vojtik, who is also chairman of the deer ban council group, Whitetails of Wisconsin, was paid $ 298,770 for animals killed es He told Leader-Telegram that the crew was worth about $ 1 million. In total, 34 animals tested positive for CWD.

Richards said that state’s decision to allow CWD-positive facilities to continue to function was a “very interesting change in philosophy and completely different than previously done throughout the country.”

Emergency Regulations Proposed – Then Lost

In May, Walker announced a series of measures to slow the spread of CWD. He called on DATCP to draft an emergency rule that requires improved fencing and prohibits the movement of live deer from the state’s 55 counties, which are occupied as CWD, meaning either an infected deer has been detected there or within 10 miles from the county.

However, DATCP’s National Board of Directors, composed of Walker appointed, has voted to take no action on the Governor’s request for emergency rules. Now the agency is about the longer and regular regulatory process to take these restrictions.

The Republican Governor also called on the State DNR to create emergency rules that would have banned hunters from transporting deer bodies from counties designated as CWD affected by unaffected counties.

The Natural Resource Board, also employed by Walker practitioners, continued with emergency rules to demand enhanced fencing, including a second 8-foot high strike or an elder prison for whitetail deer farms, and to restrict

In October, the Legislative’s Republican Controlled Joint Committee for the review of administrative rules, which examines agency regulations, to remove restrictions on deer relocation.

The DNR Emergency Regulations allow industry until September 2019 to follow. However, the rule will expire in February. Asked if deer farmers could simply wait to avoid the claim, DNR’s policy adviser Scott Loomans said the agency was working on a permanent rule that would come into force “sooner or very close when the emergency rule expires.”

The state DNR has estimated the total cost of all deer farms currently without double or reinforced fencing to about 2.1 million dollars. Whitetails of Wisconsin, whose members strongly oppose the claim, have estimated the cost by more than 10 times.

Woods and Meadow Hunting Preserve owner Scott Goetzka of Warrens, Wisconsin, said the cost of following would “basically fix your business.”

Although the farms are required to install additional fencing, which may not prevents spreading, said Richards. He noted that CWD has been detected in Wisconsin in a double fenced facility.

“So if that infectious agent can move from the outside to a catchment over two fences, I see no reason to suspect it could not move the other direction too,” Richards said.

Al Horvath of Superior, a lifelong hunter and delegate to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, is frustrated by what he sees as lack of co-operation between DNR and DATCP on chronic wasted disease. Horvath, who considers himself a pro, said he understands that families have poured all their life savings into their deer and moose operations.

However, he added: “I think that someone’s winning potential – their individual winning potential – is not enough to compromise a tradition and an entire animal population.”

Flees hopes that genetics will provide an answer. He has worked with a researcher to grow deer with genetic markers showing resistance to CWD. The floods said in five years that he could have a resistant crew.

Other research suggests that it may be quite long until such answers are available.

“There are still many unknowns who make clear predictions about the long-term development of CWD resistance hard,” according to an article written in June by Michael Samuel, Emeritus Professor of Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Meanwhile, the proliferation of CWD across Wisconsin continues. On November 15, another deer hunting ranch tested positive for the disease in Portage County, which resulted in the total number of sites that have tested positive since 2002 to 24.

This report was co-operated by the Wisconsin Public Radio and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Nonprofit Center ( collaborates with WPR, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Any work created, published, published or disseminated by the Center does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its subsidiaries.

With the numbers: Chronic Wasting Disease in Wisconsin

380 Registered deer and moose and hunting rights in Wisconsin

24 Facilities with a CWD Positive Test since 2002

14 Deer herds killed after a CWD positive test

4.400+ Wild deer killed by hunters testing positive for CWD since 2002

Sources: Wisconsin Department of Wisconsin Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and Department of Natural Resources



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