Checking Out of State Deer Hunters For Banned Firewood

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Beloit: The interstate is filling up with trucks bringing 10,000 out of state hunters to Wisconsin for the gun deer season. But the DNR and the Department of Ag are worried about what may be in the back of those trucks-firewood.

"We've got a lot of people coming in from out of state and from those states where they've found emerald ash borer," says Mick Skwarok, a pest specialist for the Department of Ag. "Buy it where you burn it is one of our key messages."

He'll be roaming some of the visitor centers on the Illinois border hoping to talk to hunters. "We'll talk to folks about the problems that can be moved around on firewood and we'll ask them to stop doing that."

The emerald ash borer is an invasive species that has wiped out millions of ash trees in neighboring states. It hasn't been found in Wisconsin yet, but the bug travels in firewood.

The state banned out of state firewood in campgrounds this summer, and they don't want wood for deercamp to go unused and sit there.

"In the spring those adults emerge and there's our infestation," says Mick.

The campaign is still educational, "We've already targeted campers with postcards. We've targeted non-resident gun deer hunters with a postcard. We need to start broadening that message to a larger audience."

But the state wants to let everyone know that moving firewood can lead to infestations. "The movement of emerald ash borer and other pests and diseases is accerated and complicated by firewood movement," says Mick.

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