With CWD concerns in mind, Wisconsin counties advocate for more aggressive regulation.
To deer hunters in the state of Wisconsin, it is both the best and worst of times. The state is known for its reputation in producing trophy quality whitetails, but also as a hotbed for CWD cases in the Midwest.
Ever increasing rates of CWD within the states deer heard has prompted lawmakers and citizens to call for more aggressive action in fighting the spread of the disease. The plan takes aim directly at the captive deer breeding facilities in the state. Through actions by the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and county delegations of Wisconsin's Conservation Congress, 14 counties have passed resolutions requiring double-fencing at game farms, with eight counties banning captive deer farms all together.
Alan Horvath of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress has proposed both the outright ban of captive deer farms or the requirement that if these breeding facilities are allowed, that double-fencing be mandatory.
"A double fence would be a very minor step, but an important step in preventing the fences from being breeched or animal to animal contact," said Horvath in an interview.
This plan hasn't met with unanimous support however, especially from the owners of captive deer farms who see only an added cost to their operations.
"I don't know if everyone could afford to do it" said Rick Vojtik, president of Whitetails of Wisconsin Association and owner of Fairchild Whitetails, a facility that was depopulated by the state last fall after CWD positive deer were identified. "If we're showing those places that are double-fenced get it just as well as those places that are single-fenced, they should at least do the research to show that it's going to help," said Vojtik.
David Clausen, former Natural Resources Board chairman and retired veterinarian is confident that the double-fencing requirement will make a difference in the spread of CWD through the state.
"When you have a single fence, it's nose-to-nose contact," said Clausen. "Nose-to-nose contact is a way of spreading the disease."