WDHA Library

This page contains a variety of information on deer baiting, feeding and diseases. This information is provided to clarify misconceptions on deer baiting, feeding and disease transmission. Please read through this material and form your own conclusions.


Articles and Papers on Deer Baiting and Feeding

Articles and Links on Diseases

Dave's Warden Reports

Links to Other Organizations


CWD Deer - One of the 3 original deer that tested positive for CWD from the 2001 rifle season. Note the polished antlers and the emaciated body. This seems to indicate that CWD was progressing quickly.

Hair Loss Deer - A deer shot at a feeder in the winter of 2002 in Bayfield County that was thin and missing hair on both sides of the body. Deer was diagnosed by a vet as having an abundance of biting lice. DNR biologists report numerous instances of this condition and that it is always associated with feeding. It is caused by a number of general factors which come into effect at the same time: physiological stress due to fighting, malnutrition, hormonal balance, and parasites.

Slipper Foot - The deer in this photo has a condition referred to as "slipper foot" or founders disease in cattle. It is a long term consequence (chronic response) to ingestion of a high carbohydrate diet. This has occasionally observed in wild WI deer, especially those who frequent feed/bait piles of corn. This deer was from Barron County, WI and was a 5 year old healthy doe, pregnant with twin fawns, in otherwise good health until it met a car.

Feeding - It would be difficult to say feeding doesn't congregate deer judging by this picture. Note the browse line on the trees in the background, illustrating habitat damaged caused by feeding.

Trophy Pile - One for the record books!

Deer Warts: Picture 1 and Picture 2 - Warning, these pictures are quite ugly! This deer was shot near Rhinelander. It has a severe case of what are probably simple warts (papillomas, fibromas, fibrosarcomas). They're fairly common and caused by a virus. However they are not transmittable to humans. They are spread close physical contact especially contact involving fighting or sparring that results in minor wounds in the skin.

Articles and Papers on Deer Baiting and Feeding

Potential Negative Affects of Baiting on Regional White-tailed Deer Harvest rates in South Carolina: A State With Conflicting Baiting Laws. A 2004 South Carolina study proving that deer baiting has a negative affect on overall deer harvest rates. We believe this is the first study to actually compare baiting vs. no baiting in separate areas which is a very important distinction compared to other studies that compared the use of bait/no bait in areas that allowed baiting (like WI and MI).

The Effects of Baiting on Deer Hunting in Wisconsin, June 2001 - This is the original article written by Mark A. Toso that was published in edited form in Deer and Deer Hunting Magazine, Wisconsin Outdoor News, and The Wisconsin Bowhunters Association newsletter. In Adobe Acrobat Format.

The Nutritional, Ecological, and Ethical Arguments Against Baiting and Feeding White-Tailed Deer. A 2006 opinion article in the Wildlife Society Bulletin. In Adobe Acrobat Format.

A Comprehensive Review of the Ecological and Human Social Effects of Artificial Feeding and Baiting of Wildlife, February 2002. A report written for the Canadian Government by the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre. A long but very informative document on the effects of feeding all kinds of wildlife, including birds. Has an excellent section on wildlife diseases spread by baiting and feeding, as well as wildlife population and privatization issues. In Adobe Acrobat Format.

Deer Baiting and Feeding Issue, August 21, 2000 - A paper by Keith McCaffery, nationally recognized retired WiDNR Deer Research Biologist. In Adobe Acrobat Format.

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Special Committee on Deer Baiting and Feeding Final Report and Recommendations, June 11, 2001. A large document but worthwhile reading, especially the expert testimony by the Veterinarians and Biologists from Michigan. You can also read why the committee ignored all of them. In Adobe Acrobat Format.

The Dangers of Using Supplemental Feeding to Increase the Carrying Capacity of Land for White-Tailed Deer, February 2001. Oral presentation to the Southeast Deer Study Group by Dr. Robert D. Brown. A very good and thought provoking paper, be sure to read the last section on ethics. In Adobe Acrobat Format.

Report on the Management Issues for the Southeast The Wildlife Society, Southeast Section Deer Committee. February 2001. Another very good paper about the ecological effects of deer baiting and feeding. In Adobe Acrobat Format.

Special considerations on baiting and feeding deer in Northern Wisconsin: How is concentration over a feeding site different than concentration in a deer yard? By Tim Van Deelen, Wisconsin DNR Deer Research Biologist. To answer the critics who claim that natural deer yarding behavior is no different or even worse than feeding.

WI DNR Memorandum, 2001 Gun Deer Season Report. Report by Chief Warden Tom Harelson on observations during the heavily baited 2001 gun deer season.

Just Say No to Wildlife Feeding - Link to a paper by the Wildlife Management Institute, a national organization of wildlife biologists.

Michigan Offers Wisconsin Lesson on Bovine TB in Deer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, February 2001. Link to article.

Deer Baiting Issues in Michigan, Michigan DNR, February 26, 1999. In Adobe Acrobat Format.

Deer and Elk Feeding Issues in Michigan, Michigan DNR, March 9, 1999. In Adobe Acrobat Format.

Articles and Links on Diseases

Alternative Feeding Strategies and Potential Disease Transmission in Wisconsin White-Tailed Deer. A 2008 article in the Journal of Wildlife Management that provides the best evidence to date that the baiting and feeding of deer spreads CWD.

Chronic Wasting Disease and the Science in support of the Ban on Baiting and Feeding Deer. by Timothy R. Van Deelen Ph.D. Wisconsin DNR Research Biologist. A factual paper to counter the false assertion that there is no proof that CWD can be spread by deer baiting and feeding. Link to the CWD Alliance website.

Alternative CWD Hypotheses: The Role of metals such as cadmium, copper, and manganese You may have heard about alternative theories for CWD involving soil contamination with heavy metals. This memo explains why experts on CWD research view these minority theories as highly suspect. Another consideration not mentioned is who is pushing these theories, most likely people associated with the captive wildlife industry who have a financial stake in how and why CWD spreads. MS Word document

Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance web site, a joint project of the Boone and Crockett Club, Mule Deer Foundation, and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. A very good site for factual CWD information. The mission of the CWD Alliance is to promote responsible and accurate communications regarding CWD, and to support strategies that effectively control CWD to minimize its impact on wild, free-ranging deer and elk populations.

Shoot This Deer, An article in the June 2003 Scientific American Magazine discussing the origin of CWD and the potential risk to humans and livestock.

The Facts About CWD From One Of The World's Leading Experts. March 28, 2002. A letter on CWD by Professor Val Geist from the University of Calgary, who is considered one of the world's leading experts on CWD. A must read for anyone who has seen conflicting information on CWD in the press.

Review of CWD Management Policies and Programs in Colorado, November 2002. A review of Colorado's approach in dealing with CWD by an independent panel of experts from around the country. If you have any doubts as to Wisconsin's CWD eradication plans, you should read this.

Journal Of General Virology. A paper on an experiment that conclusively proves feeding spreads CWD.

Colorado Fish and Game Dept. Chronic Wasting Disease Web Site. Best source of CWD information on the web.

Chronic Wasting Disease Control Program Implemented, Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management. April 5, 2001. Read what action Saskatchewan took when they found 2 wild mule deer with CWD.

Chronic Wasting Disease of Deer and Elk, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Factsheet about CWD control efforts in Nebraska.

Deadly Venison, Field and Stream Magazine. Link to an Article on Chronic Wasting Disease. LINK NOW WORKS!

Mad Deer Disease Spreads To Wisconsin? - Infected Venison Can Be Fatal. Isthmus newspaper Madison, Wisconsin. July 13, 2000. A factually correct article full of information written 2 years ago that clearly indicates the writing was on the wall.

Bovine TB web site. Information on the Bovine TB outbreak and control efforts in Michigan.

Detroit News Article on Bovine TB status in Michigan.

Aflatoxin Tainted Feed Could Hurt Wild Game. Link to a 1998 Texas report on the hidden dangers in “deer corn”.

Dave's Warden Reports

Read true stories by retired DNR warden Dave Sabrowsky, who kept a journal of outrageous and unbelievable violations during his 27 year career. The way he tells it there are things going on in the field we can't even imagine. You'll also get an appreciation of how difficult it can be to enforce game laws.

Volume 1 - "The Trap Door"

Volume 2 - "The #330 Deer Trap"

Volume 3 - "The Big Roast"

Volume 4 - "No Need to Get Out too Early"

Volume 5 - "Why Wait Until the Opener?"

Volume 6 - "Teaching the Next Generation"

Volume 7 - "Goldilocks Brother Goes Hunting"

Volume 8 - "Eye in the Sky"

Volume 9 - "The Felon"

Volume 10 - "Poor Old Lucky"

Volume 11 - "The Angry Baiter"

Volume 12 - "Fred's Fortress"

Volume 13 - "The Deer Farmer"

Volume 14 - "700 Acres of QDM"

Volume 15 - "The T-Zone"

Volume 16 - "Bow hunting the "Late" Season"

Volume 17 - "The Last Report - Not all Baiters are Violators, but all Violators Bait"

Links to Other Organizations

This area is for other organizations that have the backbone to do what is in the best interest of the deer herd. You will notice very few names here, as many hunting organizations refuse to take a stand for fear of losing membership, even though the scientific data clearly indicates that deer baiting is harmful to deer.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation - Perhaps one of the best hunting organizations in the world (besides the WDHA). They have opposed deer and elk ranching for years based on ethics of fair chase and disease considerations.

Minnesota Deer Hunters Association - A very successful organization founded in 1980. They have recently taken a position against deer feeding and are aggressively working on keeping CWD out of Minnesota. Plus they offered us advice and assistance to build the WDHA into Wisconsin's premier hunting organization!

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