DNR reminds Polk county residents of deer baiting/feeding bans

By April Ziemer

With preparations underway by hunters and wildlife observers, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds everyone baiting and feeding bans are in effect in four northwest Wisconsin counties: Polk, Burnett, Barron and Washburn.

The DNR implemented the bans on deer baiting and feeding in specific counties 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.

CWD has not been detected in the wild in Polk, Barron or Burnett counties. There has been one wild CWD detection in Washburn County in 2011.

Within Burnett County there have been two farm-raised deer facilities with CWD positive detections, which has extended the baiting and feeding ban expiration dates within the four counties. Any farm-raised deer inquires need to go to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, whose mission is to partner with all the citizens of Wisconsin to grow the economy by promoting quality food, healthy plants and animals, sound use of land and water resources, and a fair marketplace.

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.

Local DNR warden Peter Wetzel said, “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 with penalties will occur.”

The deposit or placement of material to feed or attract deer comes with a fine from $343.50 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.

Considering the possible fine plus possible assessments, a violator could face a maximum penalty of $2,152.

“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,” Wetzel said.

From January 1, 2020 to December 31 2020, Polk County handed out 17 citations related to baiting and feeding.

The highest amount of citations for baiting or feeding last year in one county was 36, in both Dunn and Waupaca Counties.

The average number per county across the state in 2020 was nine.

The 2021 archery and crossbow deer seasons began on September 18, followed by special seasons for hunters with disabilities and youth. The gun-deer season starts November 20 and runs through November 28, followed by the muzzleloader and antlerless hunts. There also are 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.

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