I've been covering the out-of-control spread of CWD in Wisconsin for years. I've pointed out that deer hunting isn't down because the hunting age didn't include babies or that hunting in parks and around schools was off-limits, it had more to do with Chronic Wasting Disease. We can thank Scott Walker's deregulated, voluntary, "common sense," unscientific management of the deer population.
...promote voluntary landowner surveillance testing permits, encourage the reporting of "sick deer" at the local level...and...
...Allowed deer herd growth favored by hunters in areas with chronic wasting disease despite the advice of some scientists who say less deer density will slow the disease’s spread.Scott Walker's Sudden "better-late-than-never" reelection Year Solution for CWD: One-by-one Walker is trying to cross off every ignored policy failure. Ain't happenin'.
Walker's critics were right about what should have been done. It turned out the Democrats weren't spewing hate and partisan attacks like he said they were.
From the governor who pulled state funding for road kill removal, we just saw this report:
Avid hunter and Oneida County Deer Advisory Committee (CDAC) Vice Chairman Roger Sabota said, "It's bad, but we're going to get through it. If we get more people concerned with it, we get some people with professional backgrounds involved with it... A lot of our businesses are dependent on hunters."Walker might have also got a whiff of this on Feb 21, 2018:
The Tomahawk meeting (came) just a month after CWD was found in a wild deer in Lincoln County. It was killed in between Rhinelander and Tomahawk and it is the only wild one in North Central Wisconsin testing positive for CWD. "Obviously I'm concerned," said Jim Blankenhein, who lives just a few miles from where the deer was killed. "It makes me a little nervous." Blankenhein was one of about 50 people who showed up to the meeting. When it's been established in a population for any length of time, population's really drop off," said Chuck McCullough, a DNR Wildlife Supervisor. "If you have CWD in a population of wild deer it seems like it's a one-way trip downhill."WPR came out with these two reports yesterday (Tuesday, May 2). Walker's panicky CWD plan, which doesn't exist yet, maybe finalized sometime before hunting season. But like before, Walker is calling for meetings, volunteer work and finally putting in place rules critics have been begging for the last 8 years. But it still doesn't measure up. Walker also mentioned his old plan, suggesting there was one...not really (audio):
Walker said the new rules will ... compliment a state CWD response plan initiated in 2010. "We need to protect Wisconsin’s hunting traditions and long-standing heritage by working together to contain the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer." How has that worked out so far?
Scott Loomans, policy initiatives advisor for DNR Secretary Dan Meyers, said "We’ll be working this summer to get rules in place for the hunting season this fall ... We have regulations currently but they’ve kind of become out of date." Loomans said that’s because current law allows hunters to move carcasses from places that have a high prevalence of CWD.
Increased surveillance, increased sampling, carcass movement restrictions and local community involvement are just some the goals outlined in the recently updated Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources CWD Response Plan. The plan, part of Gov. Scott Walker's Chronic Wasting Disease Initiative ... will be the guide for CWD response and management over the next five years.Walker's CWD Disaster Explained: I had to include Patrick Durkin's comprehensive article on how Walker has botched something so important. And yes, private business interests played a part:
Two wild deer far outside Wisconsin’s endemic zone for chronic wasting disease tested positive last week for the always-fatal disease, and yet the Department of Natural Resources downplayed the news in press releases, emphasizing instead that the discoveries renewed baiting and feeding bans for the areas.The new CWD cases were reported April 18 in Eau Claire County and April 20 in Oneida County. Both were those counties’ first CWD cases in wild deer.
Then again, downplaying CWD has been the DNR’s game-plan since Gov. Scott Walker took office in January 2011. Gov. Walker quickly entrusted Wisconsin’s deer management to Greg Kazmierski by appointing him to the Natural Resources Board, which sets DNR policy.
Kazmierski owns and operates Buck Rub Outfitters in Pewaukee, an archery/bowhunting pro shop and manufacturer. Kaz frequently fusses that publicly discussing CWD hurts tourism and makes hunters go elsewhere or quit hunting.
Case in point: When Tami Ryan, the DNR’s wildlife health section chief, spoke at the DNR Board’s Feb. 28 meeting, she reported that an Iowa County study found CWD-infected deer dying at three times the rate of healthy deer. Instead of probing such findings, Kazmierski fretted that DNR data and terminology make Wisconsin’s CWD status sound worse than necessary.
Kaz urged the agency to quit using the word “affected” for counties within 10 miles of a CWD case. He suggests labeling them “watch counties” so folks don’t confuse “affected” with “infected.” Board member Fred Prehn chimed in, saying many CWD-affected counties have never had a deer test positive.
Sigh. How can we declare any county CWD-free when the DNR hasn’t conducted widespread systematic testing in over a decade?