Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

First-ever positive CWD test in wild Oneida County deer sets businesses, hunters on edgeSubmitted: 04/23/2018
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director
lkimble@wjfw.com

First-ever positive CWD test in wild Oneida County deer sets businesses, hunters on edge
RHINELANDER - Lined with shotguns and rifles while deer mounts dot the wall above, the north wall of Mel's Trading Post in Rhinelander shows how important deer hunting is to owner Mitch Mode, part of his business that could take a hit after last week.

"It pretty much puts it right in your face and you've gotta deal with it," Mode said.

April 20, the DNR reported the first positive test of Chronic Wasting Disease in a wild deer in Oneida County, specifically in the town of Crescent, within ten miles of a positive CWD test in a wild deer in Lincoln County from January.  Mode hunts on land not far from the positive test.

"Because it's not been local it's not been foremost in people's minds," Mode said of CWD tests. "I suspect that's changed."

Oneida County has been under a baiting and feeding ban since early 2016, after a positive CWD test came from a Three Lakes deer farm. That sparked baiting bans in Oneida, Forest, and Vilas counties.

This month's positive test in Oneida County now extends the ban through 2021 while Langlade County's extends an additional two years. Vilas and Forest counties bans are set to expire later in 2018, pending no new positive CWD tests.

Mode is worried a positive test in a wild deer in Oneida County now changes the game and could scare some hunters away.

"You can't give away big chunks of your business and be comfortable, but in the case of CWD on the landscape now, that may come to that," Mode said.

Some businesses already felt the hit from the first ban. When we spoke with owner Kelly Ramker in late 2015, she noted 75 to 80 percent of her winter business at the Farmers Feed Store in Rhinelander relied on animal feed sales like deer corn. Fast forward to 2018 and Ramker says about half of her winter sales still depend on animal feed.

"Very simply put, it was very scary the first time they implemented the baiting ban," Ramker told Newswatch 12 via text message Monday. "However in any business, you have to overcome and adapt."

Ramker said she's now switched to offering more to dog and cat food, farm feed, and gardening supplies.

Avid hunter and Oneida County Deer Advisory Committee (CDAC) Vice Chairman Roger Sabota supports the baiting and feeding ban, which the DNR says helps stop the spread of c-w-d by keeping deer from gathering in one spot. Science points to deer spreading the deadly disease (which has no cure) via direct contact and through soil.

"If we don't do that, we're going to lose it," Sabota said of state laws that include baiting bans in counties within 10 miles of a positive test and require double-fencing on farms with positive tests.

Last week's test in Oneida County came in thanks to a "disease surveillance permit," which the DNR issued to try and gauge how prevalent the disease is in the area. The DNR will rely on CDAC's like Sabota's to spread the word about testing more deer.

"What hunters can do is really abide by the law and encourage others that they see to get involved. It's a sad situation," Sabota said. "It's bad, but we're going to get through it. If we get more people concerned with it, we get some people with professional backgrounds involved with it... A lot of our businesses are dependent on hunters."

Mode knows it's far too early to tell how much CWD will hurt his bottom line, but he knows new tests should give him a good sense later this year.

"It all comes down to what we will see as far as any additional cases," Mode said. "Is it going to be it at two or is it going to increase?"

Oneida County's CDAC sent its deer quota recommendations to the DNR for approval last week, just two days before news came out of the positive test. That quota is a slight increase over 2017's, set at 945 for the forest zone of the county. Sabota doesn't expect the DNR to reduce that number due to CWD, but he says it's possible.

Currently, there are 35 counties in Wisconsin with active baiting and feeding bans due to CWD. More information on CWD is available via the DNR's website here.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

VILAS COUNTY - Two people were sent to the hospital after a rollover crash in Vilas County early Tuesday morning.

At 1:38 am the Vilas County Sheriff's Office got a call of a one-vehicle rollover on Highway 70 near Lake Road in the Town of Washington.

+ Read More

Play Video

WASHINGTON D.C. - More than a hundred veterans just wrapped up a once in a lifetime experience. 

The 34th Never Forgotten Honor Flight had an unexpected delay Monday, a surprise meet and greet, and many more unforgettable moments.

From beginning to end the Honor Flight was filled with ceremony and gratitude.

"To see all those hundreds of people applauding us in the [D.C.] airport was the most moving thing," said Vietnam veteran Gill Buettner, who served in the Air Force.

"It seemed like the whole city was there to greet us," said Vietnam veteran Ernest Harris, who served in the Army. 

There was an unexpected stop in Pittsburgh due to bad weather.

"I think we lost about an hour fifteen, an hour and a half there," said Vietnam veteran Larry Anklam, who served in the Air Force. 

But the rest of the day went off without a hitch.

"You get to see some things otherwise we'd never get to see," said Buettner. 

The veterans got to see the Vietnam, Korea, and Air Force memorials among many more. The group also met the founders of the Honor Flight program, who were honored at a wreath laying ceremony. 

"To hear their story, that was special too, and nobody is likely to ever have that opportunity," said Buettner.
It's a day the 103 veterans will never forget.

"It was just super," said Harris. 

They hope all veterans get a chance to experience it.

"If you served, you really do deserve it and you ought to go, and you don't have to be a combat vet, you just have to have helped something along the way," said Buettner. 

Tune into Newswatch 12 at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for the rest of the week to see stories about a World War II veteran, the one and only female veteran on the flight, and another, who at the last minute, got to bring his grandson along as his guardian.

+ Read More

MERRILL - Someone stole the tires and rims off nine vehicles at a dealership near Merrill this week.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office reports the thefts happened early Monday morning at Stark Automotive along Highway 51.  Surveillance footage shows a white cargo van going into the lot around 1 a.m. on Oct. 15.  The suspects used a device to raise the trucks off the ground.

One of the vehicles slipped off the device, hit the van's bumper, and may have caused damage.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Every job requires some level of training. That's especially true when your job is to save other peoples' lives.

But even with the desire, becoming an emergency medical responder doesn't happen overnight.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Some giant pumpkins are standing out in Rhinelander.
A few are even homegrown.

Glenn Bessey owns Bessey's Meat Market in Rhinelander but that's not all he's known for.

"I belong to Wisconsin Giant Pumpkin Growers," said Bessey. "The biggest pumpkin I ever grew was 680 [pounds] and that was 12 years ago."

Growing his current 380 pound gourd takes a lot more effort than just some fertilizer.

"It pretty much is a full time job," said Bessey.

This year, his pumpkin means a little more to him than just another powerful pumpkin.

"My father has always been growing pumpkins and once he passed away this winter, I got back into growing giant pumpkins," said Bessey.


+ Read More

Play Video

PARK FALLS - Last month, Vilas County supervisors rejected the idea of hiring a county administrator.

An administrator would take care of the day-to-day operations of the county. However, surveys showed the board had little interest in that plan.

But the city of Park Falls might want to give a city administrator a try.

"It's just a silly way to run a $6 million enterprise," said Alderman Michael Bablick of Park Falls' system that foregoes a full-time administrator.

+ Read More

BARRON - Update:

Authorities say a Wisconsin teenager who has been missing since her parents were found dead in their home isn't a runaway and that they think she's in danger.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said during a media briefing Tuesday that he can't reveal why authorities believe 13-year-old Jayme Closs is in danger because it could compromise the investigation. But he repeated his plea for the public's help in finding her.

Deputies responding to a 911 call found the bodies of 56-year-old James Closs and 46-year-old Denise Closs at around 1 a.m. Monday in their home in the western Wisconsin town of Barron. No cause of death has been released but authorities said gunshots had been fired.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here