MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to help prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) by following all baiting and feeding bans.

According to a release, DNR officials say CWD is an always-fatal disease caused by a misshapen prion protein affecting the nervous system in deer, elk, moose, and caribou.

The disease is spread through contact with blood, saliva, urine, or feces from an infected animal and can also be spread from a contaminated environment as CWD prions can stay in the soil for what officials call “a long time.”

Authorities say baiting is when hunters intentionally place food and other items in an area to attract animals. Feeding is purposefully placing materials used to feed or attract wild animals for non-hunting purposes, including recreational and supplemental feedings, except as allowed for animals like birds and small mammals.

Baiting and feeding reportedly encourage deer to congregate in a specific location unnaturally which could create an environment where infected deer can quickly spread CWD and other diseases.

DNR officials say they implement baiting and feeding bans in any county that has a confirmed CWD-positive deer as a way to combat the spread of such diseases.

Counties with a confirmed CWD-positive deer then fall under a 3-year baiting and feeding ban and if the positive deer is found within 10 miles of another county, the adjoining county then falls under a 2-year ban.

If additional CWD-positive deer are discovered in a county already in a baiting and feeding ban, the ban will reset for an additional 2 to 3 years.

For more information on baiting and feeding regulations, as well as a map for counties that currently have active bans, click here.