Proposal Would Pay Hunters to Kill CWD Positive Deer

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a huge issue in states like Wisconsin. There is no known cure and it is 100% fatal. Researchers and game managers have been trying for years to find ways to stop the spread and find a treatment.  Mike Foy has come up with a proposal that actually has some merit. He proposes that hunters get compensated for killing CWD positive deer.

According to the Journal Sentinal, Foy wants to give $1000 to the hunter and $1000 to the land owner for removing a CWD deer from the landscape. He believe that this will incentivize hunters to either hunt the CWD areas. Since CWD is a frequency-dependent disease, the key to combating it is by removing sick deer. That’s why Foy’s proposal would utilize prevalence maps to focus hunting pressure in areas with the highest number of CWD-positive animals.

According to Foy, To make progress, we have to kill more CWD-positive deer each year than contract the disease. The hard part is putting a program in place to harvest the diseased animals at a much higher rate than we are now. So by getting more hunters

“If we don’t shoot 20% of our sick deer each year, we’re screwed,” Foy said.

Not only would this idea put more hunters on the ground where they are needed but it will also increase deer submitted for testing. This will give the state a better picture of where the problem areas are and if the disease control measures are working.

The biggest issue facing the proposal is funding. If hunters kill 5,000 CWD positive deer it would cost the state around 10 Million dollars plus any administrative cost associated with the payouts.

Foy argues that the deer hunting brings in over 1 billion dollars annually to Wisconsin’s economy and 10 million is well worth the investment to keep it healthy.

Under current DNR strategy, CWD is simply monitored as it spreads throughout the state. There is no active program to reduce its prevalence.  Foy said he was greatly concerned by the potential effect of CWD on the Wisconsin deer herd.

“In my estimation, we are really close to losing one of our most prized animals in the state,” Foy said. “I think we are close to a tipping point.”