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Wisconsin Democrats pitch hunting, herd package

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(The Center Square) – Democrats at the Wisconsin Capitol say hunting needs to be protected in the state and they want to spend a couple million dollars to do it.

State Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point, introduced what she is calling the “Healthy Herd, Healthy Hunt” act.

“Hunting is a way of life, and it’s a proud tradition in Wisconsin,” Shankland told reporters. “The health and vitality of our state’s deer herd is paramount. These bills provide meaningful ways to prevent the spread of CWD, while ensuring that more funding is dedicated to research and management of CWD.”

Shankland’s plan would spend a little more than $4 million on CWD research. That includes:

Providing $2 million in the 2023-2025 state budget to the Department of Natural Resources to expand CWD research, testing, and management efforts.Making permanent the Department of Natural Resource’s self-service CWD testing kiosks program and providing the DNR with $200,000 in the state budget to support the program.Providing the Department of Natural Resources with an additional $2 million to provide safe, deer carcass disposal sites throughout the state. There would also be $100,000 for the DNR for hunter education related to proper deer carcass disposal.

“People need convenient areas to test for CWD, and to drop off their deer carcasses, especially because there are so many locations that will not accept your carcasses,” Shankland said. “So, by providing funding to expand testing kiosks and carcass Dumpsters across Wisconsin, we make it easier for hunters to do the right thing when it comes to mitigating the risk for further spread of CWD.”

CWD, or Chronic Wasting Disease, is both deadly and contagious for deer.

Wisconsin’s DNR tracks it every year and has found some deer that tested positive so far this year.

More than a dozen Wisconsin counties reported at least one positive CWD case last year, with the highest concentration between Madison and La Crosse.

“Chronic Wasting Disease used to be a problem primarily in my area of southern Wisconsin, but that’s changing rapidly,” Rep. Dave Considine, D-Baraboo, said. “CWD in wild deer populations will spread faster, kill more deer and threaten our ability to preserve Wisconsin’s deer hunting legacy. The Legislature needs to be doing everything possible to make it easy to test for CWD and properly dispose of your deer carcass.”

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