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"Pay For Positive" Might Work This Time Says Biologist

US Fish & Wildlife Services

A retired DNR biologist says the state should revisit the idea of paying hunters for each Chronic Wasting Disease positive deer they shoot.

Mike Foy says the "Pay For Positives" was the idea two decades ago of Alan Crossley, a co-worker of Foy's. Along with Whitetails Unlimited, they offered a $200 reward to a hunter for a positive deer.

But he says because at that time the number of positive deer was much smaller, it didn't work...

"...Any basic calculation, it would take 8 deer in the bag to have a reasonable chance of having a positive deer found. $200 for eight hard days of hunting just wasn't going to be much of an incentive..."

But since that time, the CWD landscape, Foy says, has changed. There are more deer that are positive, and with a larger incentive, it could lure hunters to go out. He says hunters go out to shoot healthy deer, not sick ones, but to get the herd healthy again, the sick animals need to be weeded out.

He says in some parts of southern Wisconsin, 30 percent of the female deer are affected, and possibly half of the males.

"...Would you consider shooting one extra deer for helping out getting our deer herd healthy again? Collectively, that is where it starts to add up. We have over 600,000 individual, unique licensed deer hunters in Wisconsin. That's equivalent to the seventh-largest standing army on earth on the opening weekend..."

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress will put the question before the public on April 8 at the Spring Hearings.Three funding levels are provided as examples in the question to help gauge potential costs, ranging from payments of $750, $1,000 or $1,250 for each CWD-positive deer.

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