Proposal to pay hunters who kill deer with CWD

You could be paid $1,000 per deer you kill in the future, if that deer is infected with Chronic Wasting Disease.

At least that’s the hope of a new organization called Payment for Positives.

Chronic Wasting Disease, also known as CWD, is a fatal neurological disease that spreads among white tailed deer.

According to the Wisconsin DNR, 25 counties in the state have had deer that tested positive for CWD, and over 55 counties are considered CWD affected.

Last year, three deer tested positive for CWD in Vernon County.

La Crosse and Monroe County are considered CWD-affected.

The organization Payment for Positives thinks if the state pays hunters for killing deer with CWD, that could slow down or even reverse the spread of the disease.

Tom Hauge, a former wildlife director with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said, “CWD is a very large problem. There is no bigger threat to the Wisconsin deer resource than Chronic Wasting Disease.”

He’s now working with Payment for Positives to try to prevent CWD.

“The proposal we put forward was $1,000 for the land owner, $1,000 for the hunter, as well as a $300 reward to the private business that collected the CWD sample,” Hauge said.

He’s hoping the government will pay hunters to remove deer with CWD.

“Deer hunting is a very big industry in Wisconsin. It has a $1.3 billion impact,” Hauge said.

He’s worried if CWD continues to spread hunters may avoid coming to Wisconsin and the state’s economy might suffer.

“They might very well choose another location, another state, or one of the Canadian provinces, for example, to go hunt deer rather than come to Wisconsin,” Hauge said.

In our area, the DNR is urging people to drop deer heads off at sample sites so they can be tested for CWD.

Ron Lichtie, a biologist with the Wisconsin DNR said, “This is one of our first years since 2006, I want to say, that we’re doing an all out trying to get as many samples as they can in La Crosse County.”

Hauge says if we don’t act now the problem will only get worse.

“Every year that you leave CWD positive deer out on the landscape, they are continuing to infect additional healthy deer,” Hauge said.

The CDC recommends that you avoid eating deer infected with CWD. Which is another reason to get deer tested.

Also, the more deer the DNR tests, the more they can figure out where this disease is coming from and how to stop it.

To find sampling sites for testing, you can go to https://dnr.wi.gov/ and search CWD sampling.

Testing is free and people normally get their results back in two weeks or less.

Just make sure when you drop off the deer head that have your ID number, tag number of the deer and the location of where you shot it.

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