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DNR shifts focus from regulations to researching CWD

MADISON (WKOW) — The Department of Natural Resources is shifting focus to researching chronic wasting disease instead of implementing restrictions on deer farmers.

The state budget allocated $5.2 million for the department to use over the next two years to examine the spread of CWD.

Ryan Rodenkirch has been a deer farmer for 10 years and owns Rodenkirch Whitetail & Genetics. He and others in his industry are pleased with the DNR shift to research CWD instead of implementing additional rules to their business.

“The disease has been here for 18 years and all we’re doing is surveillance that’s not solving the problem,” said Rodenkirch. “I’m glad they’re taking steps forward to tackle the issue.”

Last year, DNR approved an emergency rule that required all deer farmers to use double fencing, a costly addition many farmers opposed. In addition, they were not allowed to move live deer or carcasses if they were in a CWD affected county. However, the legislature failed to approve moving carcasses as a requirement.

Instead, the DNR will use this new funding through the state budget to build a CWD processing center in Poynette to test for infected deer. The department will also use the funding to research what other states are doing to expand their knowledge on CWD.

Currently, 56 of 72 Wisconsin counties have deer infected with CWD.

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