AP NEWS

Wisconsin management area approved to combat deer disease

December 26, 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A task force has established new restrictions on Native American tribal members’ transporting or disposing of deer carcasses within certain parts of Wisconsin due to the risk of spreading chronic wasting disease.

The Voigt Intertribal Task Force approved a tribal management area in parts of Oneida, Lincoln and Langlade counties to safeguard deer from being exposed to the fatal neurological disease, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. The task force is comprised of members from tribes in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and recommends policies regarding tribal rights to hunt, fish and gather off-reservation.

The management area sets boundaries which tribal members will be prohibited from moving deer into and beyond because of an increased likelihood for a deer to be infected with chronic wasting disease. The new policy also prohibits tribal members from disposing of any deer carcass within the zone, except at the site of the kill, a licensed landfill or a designated collection location.

CWD is spread through deer-to-deer contact and fatally attacks an infected animal’s nervous system.

The new rules come in response to two incidents this year in which deer tested positive for the disease near tribal communities in Lincoln and Oneida counties, according to Travis Bartnick, a wildlife biologist for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The move also comes after Wisconsin lawmakers in October rejected Gov. Scott Walker’s emergency rule to limit hunters from moving deer carcasses from counties affected by the disease.

The tribal members “want to do everything in their power to protect the wild whitetail deer and elk herd,” Bartnick said. “Even though they’re such a minority of the population of deer hunters out there, they want to be able to set this example of how to do things in the right way.”

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Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org