Editor's note: the following is a DNR Warrden column by WDNR Wardens Dustin Gabrielson based in Webster & Christopher Spaight based in Grantsburg.

Preparations are underway by hunters and wildlife observers as all look forward to fall and winter outdoor activities in Burnett County and other northwest Wisconsin counties. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds everyone to check county statuses before hunting.    

A baiting and feeding ban is in effect for four northwest Wisconsin counties: Polk, Burnett, Barron and Washburn.

The DNR implemented the ban on deer baiting and feeding to limit the spread of the fatal and highly contagious deer disease known as chronic wasting disease (CWD). Bans on baiting and feeding are established within a geographic range of any confirmed CWD case.

To protect the state’s natural resources – in this case, our white-tail deer population – it is important to know and follow the baiting and feeding bans. Baiting and feeding encourages deer to congregate and have direct contact, thereby increasing the chances of spreading this fatal disease within the herd.

The DNR wants the public to understand the importance of the baiting and feeding ban as it relates to health of Wisconsin’s deer herd. Voluntary compliance is the DNR’s goal. However, if appropriate, enforcement action will occur, and associated penalties are high.

  • The deposit or placement of material to feed or attract deer comes with a fine from $343.50 up to $1,000.
  • If you place bait that is under 5 gallons, the minimum citation is $343.50. If you place 5 to 25 gallons, the minimum citation is $544.50. And if you place more than 25 gallons of bait, the minimum citation is $745.50. The maximum citation in all categories is $1,000.

Feeders for birds and other small mammals are permitted if they are within 50 yards of the home and at a height that is inaccessible to deer.

The 2020 archery and crossbow deer seasons began on Sept.12, followed by special seasons for hunters with disabilities and youth. The gun-deer season starts Nov. 21 and runs through Nov. 29, followed by the muzzleloader and antlerless hunts.

There are also deer baiting and feeding regulations in other counties affected by CWD. To see the deer baiting and feeding regulations for all counties and learn more about CWD, visit the DNR’s website.

Anyone with information regarding natural resource violations may confidentially report by calling or texting the Violation Hotline at 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Trained staff relay information to conservation wardens.

Last Update: Nov 12, 2020 6:34 am CST

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