Baiting and feeding of deer, already restricted in Wisconsin, needs to go away altogether, in the view of DNR Secretary Matt Frank, who speaks for the agency. “We believe we should have a statewide ban on baiting and feeding of deer,” Frank told lawmakers at the state Capitol recently.
What’s the problem with baiting and feeding? Twofold, according to Frank, who says DNR wildlife staff believe it’s changing deer habits and affecting the deer hunt. “We have hunters who do bait and feed, or hunters who don’t, changing the deer movement, making deer more nocturnal, moving them onto lands that maybe other hunters can’t get to. All of these issues I think are in play here.”
And then there’s the issue of disease transmission, specifically chronic wasting disease. “Having all these deer congregate at bait piles or feeding areas is not good for the health of the herd,” Frank said.
Frank, who was called on the carpet last week by legislators, to account for a poor November deer hunt, stressed that he’s NOT using baiting and feeding as an excuse for that – but that it’s an issue the legislature has to take a look at. Legislators say hearings on baiting and feeding are likely in the new year.