The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Iron County committee recommends deer farm ban


January 18, 2019


Hurley — The Iron County Board of Supervisors will decide whether to ban deer farms for the time being after the county’s planning and zoning committee recommended imposing a temporary moratorium on importation and raising of cervids in the county Tuesday.

“Just to remind you, this doesn’t mean no deer farms ever. This is a one-year block on deer farms for us to figure out what we want to do,” zoning administrator Erika Roeder said in December. “It can be increased to two years at the the time of expiration, and then we can decide to create an ordinance that says no deer farms, or we can create an ordinance that says by conditional use.”

She explained the county would be able to impose rules on any farms if they were under conditional use.

The move is an attempt to prevent chronic wasting disease from entering Iron County’s deer population.

The fatal brain disease affects deer, elk, reindeer, sika deer and moose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no known cure once animals are infected, and symptoms include weight loss, stumbling, drooling and aggression.

There are no reported cases of humans being infected with CWD.

Wisconsin’s first CWD-positive deer was tested in 2002, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources, after being killed in the November 2001 hunting season.

There are at least 55 CWD-affected counties in the state, according to the WDNR, meaning they either have had a deer test positive within their borders or are within 10 miles of a positive deer.

Iron County is one of the few counties in the state without an active deer farm, and while the county is unaware of any plans to open one, the moratorium is an effort to be proactive.


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