February 1, 2023

Wisconsin Considers Paying Hunters $1,000 to Kill CWD Infected Deer

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According to Outdoor Hub, Wisconsin is toying with the idea to pay hunters up to $1,000.00 to take CWD infected deer with the idea of using this tactic to rid the state of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Some like the idea and others not so much. Of course, there are issues and many unanswered questions.

Some obvious concerns are pointed out in the article. One is that you cannot necessarily tell if a deer is infected when you look at it. Some studies have shown that deer can be infected with CWD and in the early stages cannot be observed with the naked eye.

Another issue is that of the fact that the infectious prions that carry or cause CWD can remain active in the environment for over two years. To rid Wisconsin of CWD a program of this sort would have to be aggressive and last long enough to ensure that enough time has elapsed to rid the environment of the deadly prions as well as putting into place programs that would stop the spread of the disease from importation or dispersal. Good luck with the dispersal problem.

A professor at a state university says: “To just randomly shoot animals and hope to reduce prevalence, you have to shoot more than half the deer every year,” said Mike Samuel, a professor at Wisconsin-Madison added. “The deer population can’t sustain that. They can sustain about a third of it, is our potential.”

Is there much point in seeking to “sustain” a deer herd if that herd is seriously infected with CWD? Is it better to have a small herd that is healthy, that will, more than likely rebuild, with proper management, after the disease is gone, or to have a “sustainable” herd that is riddled with disease?

It would be an immense task to undertake with little, if any, guarantee that it would work. Even with increased knowledge of this disease, it is virtually impossible to stop the spread of the disease. To attempt to isolate one state from all others to rid that state of CWD while the disease persists across borders, makes one ask if such a plan is at all practical.