Deer farmer explains CWD resistance breeding - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Deer farmer explains CWD resistance breeding


As concerns about chronic wasting disease rise, a Portage County deer farmer explains how research done on his farm may help combat the problem.

"Most deer are susceptible to getting CWD, some have a little bit of resistance," said Greg Flees, the owner of Wilderness Whitetails in Rosholt. 

It's that very point that Flees is harping on. 

"We believe genetic resistance is the best answer," he said.

On his farm, he works to breed for animals that carry CWD-resistant genes. That's done by performing DNA tests on fawns and marking them for breeding if they have the resistance gene.

But if the governor's proposal to add more restrictions to deer farms passes, this research will run into roadblocks. 

"We proposed a series of really aggressive measures," he said. "To make sure we can protect the population in the state of Wisconsin."

Those measures would restrict deer transports and force farmers to double-fence their property.

Flees, as well as other deer farmers, are concerned those moves would put farmers out of business.

"Deer farmers have always been looking for a solution," Flees said. "And in the end we'll be a much bigger part of the solution than we ever were a part of the problem."

A public hearing on the proposal will be held on June 11 in Rosholt. 

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