MINOCQUA - A new plan calls for paying Wisconsin hunters a thousand dollars or more for killing a deer with chronic wasting disease.
Supporters believe the "bounty" system could slow the spread of the deadly illness. The proposal appears to have support in the state, but has others concerned about cost.
About 57 percent of voters at this spring's Conservation Congress hearings backed the plan. It would give hunters between $750 and $1,250 dollars if they killed a deer found to have CWD after a test.
"Folks are getting very worried about what this disease can do to our Wisconsin deer hunting culture," said Mike Foy, a retired DNR wildlife biologist. "If we don't find some way to slow down or stop this disease, I think that the deer hunting economy is clearly at risk."
Foy is promoting the plan through his group, Payments4Positives.
Kurt Justice, the vice chair of the Vilas Co. Conservation Congress, is concerned about CWD.
But he's also concerned about the cost of the pilot program. It would give away about $1 million in bounties.
"Where does this money come from?" Justice asked. "The amount is a little shocking to me, personally. I don't think hunting should be about bounties, but obviously, this is a different situation."
But Foy believes $1 million is worthwhile if it helps protect Wisconsin's $1 billion deer hunting industry from CWD.
"I think, in the long run, or in the big picture, you can easily justify $1 million to try and see if you have the tool," Foy said. "There's been a lot of discussions about how to slow it down or go on defense to keep it from getting in other areas, but, at some point, you can't play defense forever. You've got to start going on offense."
The state legislature would have to approve spending taxpayer money on the program.
RHINELANDER - Donations to members of the military will fill the lobbies of local banks soon as part of a care package donation drive.
Rhinelander's Military Support Group kicked off its 19th donation drive this fall, partnering with People's State Bank for the third year.
"We have vets working for us, we have families of vets, a lot of our base is vets, that's just a strong community base for us," said commercial banking specialist Stacy Timm.
Nearly 7,300 items were donated in 2017 and 8,900 items were collected last year.
A brat fry earlier this month, raised just under 700 dollars to help send those donations to veterans and active duty service members.
Support group member LeRoy Eades said donations mostly go to Wisconsin service members who can't make it home for the holidays.
"A lot of them won't be home for Christmas, so this is just a little piece of Christmas we're giving to them," said Eades.
Peoples State will accept donations until Veterans Day on November 11. Donation drop-offs can be found at bank locations in Rhinelander, Wausau, Rib Mountain, Weston, Eagle River, Minocqua and Marathon.
ST. GERMAIN - Few things can ruin a Friday night fish fry in Wisconsin - except maybe a lack of fish.
"A lot of those Lake Erie perch are ending up on the plates of Wisconsin restaurants and Wisconsin suppliers, so when something happens to Lake Erie … then the restaurants and suppliers can feel that," said DNR Fisheries Supervisor David Boyarski.
Faced with a shortage of yellow lake perch, Cathy Kuske, DJ's Northwoods Family Restaurant manager, has found a way to combat the issue.
"When I ask the distributor how much they have, he'll tell me how many cases and I'll order twice as many cases as I normally do, just so we don't run out," said Kuske.
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