Walker Says He’ll Reintroduce Rule To Slow CWD

Comments Come After Lawmakers Kill Governor's Emergency Rule Restricting Deer Carcass Transport

Deer in field
Melissa Ingells/WPR

Gov. Scott Walker said he’ll work with the Legislature to reintroduce an emergency rule banning hunters from moving deer carcasses out of counties affected by chronic wasting disease. Walker’s comments come just days after a Republican-led committee killed part of an effort to slow the spread of CWD the governor called for this spring.

In May, Walker directed the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to draw up emergency rules to combat CWD. The DNR was to draft a measure banning hunters from transporting deer carcasses out of counties listed as CWD affected, while DATCP was tasked with drafting a rule requiring “enhanced fencing” at deer farms and hunting preserves.

While the citizen-led Natural Resources Board followed through and approved a rule banning carcass movement and it’s own rule requiring additional fencing at deer farms, the DATCP board voted to take no action on Walker’s request.

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In late September, state Sen. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, announced that he would seek to suspend part or all of the DNR emergency rule in his role as co-chair of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. Nass argued that the rules for hunters and deer farms shouldn’t have gone through the emergency rule process.

Nass said hunters would be confused by the new regulations that were set to take affect during the 2018 deer hunting seasons. Rather, Nass said it would be better to make changes through the regular rulemaking process, which can take up to two years.

On Oct. 1, the committee voted to suspend the carcass movement aspect of the DNR’s emergency rule but voted to keep the enhanced fencing requirements for captive deer facilities.

At a press event at Chippewa River Industries in Chippewa Falls Wednesday, Walker said he’s heard from Nass and other lawmakers on the committee and he’s willing to work with them.

“Obviously some lawmakers have some specific concerns as it ties into carcasses and individual hunters and we’re willing to work with the Legislature on making modifications as well as long as, in the end, it ends up being an aggressive effort to combat chronic wasting disease,” said Walker.

The governor pointed out that through the emergency rule process many public hearings were held by the DNR and DATCP, giving stakeholders and the public plenty of chances to weigh in on his CWD proposals. Walker said he plans to reintroduce his carcass movement ban and hinted that it could come via standalone legislation.

“In this case I think we can come back and work with the Legislature and some of the concerns they had and still, ultimately, help us combat chronic wasting disease,” said Walker.

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