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Under new law, deer baiting, feeding bans to expire in NorthwoodsSubmitted: 08/09/2017
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Under new law, deer baiting, feeding bans to expire in Northwoods
WAUSAU - People in Vilas and Forest counties could begin legally baiting and feeding deer as soon as next fall. Oneida County's baiting and feeding ban could be lifted in 2019.

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill making that possible last week. Before Walker enacted the law, bans were permanent in those counties.


Tests found the deadly brain disease in deer at a Three Lakes game farm in late 2015. That discovery triggered a ban on baiting and feeding in the three counties near Three Lakes. Research shows CWD can spread when deer cluster around feeding sites.

But the ban also drew complaints from wildlife watchers and some hunters. The bill Walker signed last week will let the ban expire after three years in CWD counties and after two years in adjacent counties.

"There's been discussions about, do you double up fencing [at game farms]? Do you look at a number of other options out there? I think there's a whole series of things," Walker said on Wednesday in Wausau. "I don't know that this specific ban was the be-all-end-all."

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress pushed strongly to keep county bans in place. This spring, the majority of the DNR's County Deer Advisory Councils voted to extend the feeding ban statewide, instead of letting it end in some places.

"We're going to look at not only working with the Conservation Congress [and] Department of Natural Resources staff, but others who are concerned and interested about this to make sure that science is driving all the decisions we make," Walker said.

State regulators found deer with CWD at the same Three Lakes farm last fall. That means Oneida County will be under a ban until at least 2019. More infected deer would push the ban out even further. The ban in Vilas and Forest counties will be in place until at least next fall.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 12/12/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

The Department of Transportation is holding a public information meeting today about possible changes to a major Rhinelander intersection. We'll preview the meeting and bring you coverage tonight on Newswatch 12 at 10.

We talk to a fisherman and a DNR conservation warden about how safe or unsafe the Northwoods lakes are for ice fishermen.

And a historic Wabeno bed and breakfast is in a building that used to be the mansion of a lumber baron. We'll show you the place where the owners are offering tours for a good cause.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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ELCHO - An Elcho couple's Christmas tradition now serves as a tradition for many others in the Northwoods.

Carl and Lissa Bloechl spent only a week setting up thanks to the stretch of warm weather early in the season.

It's common for the couple to drop everything to take an emergency EMT call which adds time to decorating.
 
They say they can't stop the display though!

"We get people from Rhinelander or Antigo or people that we know, even from outlying areas! They'll say 'Do you have the lights up yet, we want to see them!" Then we have to scramble and beat the weather," says Carl Bloechl.

The couple spends about $300 adding new items to their display every year, such as the new nativity scene Carl built.

This is the fifth year the couple has decorated their apartment complex.


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ANTIGO - Getting your family a new dog or cat for Christmas can be more troublesome than thoughtful.

Shelter animals tend to be extra sensitive when they come to a new home.

With visitors coming and going, the holiday season often creates an even more stressful environment.  

Those Christmas decorations can also frighten a new pet.

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RHINELANDER - An orthodontic office in Rhinelander wants you to add one more person to your holiday card mailing list.

Dr. Joshua Bruce of Schmidt and Bruce Orthodontics is organizing this year's "Hope and Healing" thank-you card program for wounded veterans.

Dr. Darrell Schmidt first collected the cards for injured service members around Christmas last year.

Bruce says helping veterans is something he cares deeply about.

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RHINELANDER - Monday night the Rhinelander City Council made a big decision it hopes will bring more success to the Northwood Golf Course.

The Council voted seven to one to end its restaurant lease with Dave O'Melia, and to let golf pro Dan Buckley go. The council will begin looking for an outside management company to handle the course.

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MERRILL -
A Tomahawk man charged with 12 felonies from a string of burglaries will spend the better part of the next decade in prison.

Jon Schenk, 45, was sentenced to seven years in prison in Lincoln County Court Monday morning. Schenk chose not to say much during his hearing, but judge Robert Russell had plenty to tell him.

"Here we are again," Russell said to Schenk.

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RHINELANDER - A new state law could help northern Wisconsin open a mine in the next three to five years, if Sen. Tom Tiffany's predictions are correct.

Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) wrote the bill repealing a Wisconsin law often called the "mining moratorium," and Gov. Scott Walker signed it in Rhinelander on Monday.

Walker said the new law, branded the Mining for America Act, "might as well be called the 'Keep Our Kids in Wisconsin' bill."

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