Superior, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - Bill Stack has been a Wisconsin deer hunter for 40 years, and even with the recent discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in Washburn County, he's not concerned about the upcoming season.
"That has never once been a concern to me. I know that it's out there, but really, up here, that's the first case I've ever heard of it, and it's really not a concern to me at all. I'm going to continue deer hunting, and doing the things I enjoy doing," said Stack.
And, while Stack doesn't plan on letting a bait ban, or the CWD scare, alter his plans, over at Dan's Feed Bin, owner Dan Wicklund isn't as indifferent.
"The DNR wants to do away with this, and they're going to, eventually. I mean, you've got to have a reason to do it, and here, they got a reason," said Wicklund.
According to Wicklund, depending on the season, animal feed can make up almost half of his business.
"I would say, in the winter time, between feeding deer and birds, and everything else in here, it's probably, right now, about 50% of our business," said Wicklund.
And, with the ban enforced throughout the entirety of each county within a 10 mile radius of the property where the CWD –positive deer was found—that's Barron, Burnett, Polk and Washburn County—Wicklund is expecting a big hit: "I've had 5 or 6 people in here in the last 4 hours that said they're not buying a deer license this year. So, I mean, what are we going to do?"
Wicklund says, while CWD should be taken seriously, the DNR should be thinking about the potential economic impact the ban may have: "The state's not in that great of shape anyhow to be able to take sales tax away from every sport shop in the whole state of Wisconsin. I mean, you start looking at 5 1/2% cutbacks just here in Superior, and I don't know, can the state afford that?"
But, no matter what happens with the ban, one thing is certain. The hunt will still be on come this fall.
"I think they're going to continue to hunt the way they always have. They might be a little more cautious about eating the brain matter of the deer, but other than that, I don't think it's going to matter a bit," said Stack.
According to Conservation Warden Dave Zebro, this ban could be in effect for at least a few more years, until ample samples have been studied, and they are certain the risk of CWD is eliminated.