Wisconsin DNR issues 550 special permits


Mar 11, 2001
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DNR: 550 permits issued for special hunt set to start Saturday


By ROBERT IMRIE Associated Press Writer

About 550 landowners in southwest Wisconsin have obtained special hunting permits to begin killing deer Saturday in an unprecedented attempt to try to eradicate a fatal brain disease from the herd, a state wildlife official said Tuesday.

Another 300 landowners are interested in having government sharpshooters come onto their land to shoot deer because they don't hunt themselves and don't know anybody who hunts, said Alan Crossley, regional wildlife biologist for the Department of Natural Resources in Dodgeville.

"That is pretty good, I guess. I wasn't really sure what to expect, quite honestly," he said.

After finding chronic wasting disease in the whitetail herd in an area near Mount Horeb, the DNR announced a plan to kill more than 15,000 deer in a 361-square-mile area of Dane, Iowa and Sauk counties.

The first week of hunting begins 30 minutes before sunrise on Saturday. Additional one-week hunts are also planned in July, August and September.

Bob Manwell, a spokesman for the DNR, said all the deer killed, except those that visibly look diseased, will be hauled to a landfill in Jefferson County.

Larry Gorman, 56, of Mount Horeb, had his permit that allowed him to hunt on his 10 acres but he did not plan to go out Saturday or Sunday because he was going out of town.

"I probably will not hunt real seriously," Gorman said. "It is a time issue with me generally. Probably, if I do go out it will be late in the evening. I think it is going to be difficult to be able to see anything."

Gorman said he wasn't looking forward to the hunt but signed up for it because he believes the DNR was taking the right steps in dealing with the disease.

"I don't think they have any alternative," he said.

Crossley said it's not known exactly how many landowners there are with at least 10 acres in the eradication zone, but the figure is at least 1,000.

Only landowners that request a permit are given one, Crossley said. The DNR began issuing the permits a week ago.

Most landowners received tags to kill 20 deer, he said. "If they think they can use more, we give them more," he said.

Eighteen deer near the Mount Horeb area have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, which causes deer to waste away and die. It is the first time the disease has been found east of the Mississippi River.

By killing most of the deer within miles of where the disease was discovered, the DNR is hoping it can wipe out the disease from the herd or at least dramatically slow down its spread.

The disease is believed to be transmitted by animal-to-animal contact.

Manwell said the weekend hunting could be so low that people won't even notice it's taking place.

"It is going to be quiet, I think," he said. "It isn't going to be like the opening weekend in November. ... I am sure there will be some (deer) taken, but I am not going to stick my neck out and say how many."

Earlier this spring, it took several weeks for landowners and DNR sharpshooters to kill 500 deer for disease testing.

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