By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

"Reliable science provides support for a ban of baiting and feeding of white-tailed deer to reduce disease risks for Chronic Wasting Disease."

There, it's been said. And not by me.

No, those words come from a seven-page publication authored by Timothy R. Van Deelen, from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources research department. He's a researcher, studying deer as he earned his master's and doctorate.

To be sure, that doesn't make him special, but it makes him understand one of the questions that has been lingering in Kansas about artificial baiting of deer.

It's a question that has been asked and answered, then avoided by the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission.

Generally speaking, they've put the burden of banning baiting squarely on the backs of the state's hunters.

Without a hue and cry from hunters to ban baiting, it's not likely to happen anytime soon.

I'm not going to hold my breath that a hue and cry will come from hunters -- perhaps ever.

But hunters need to consider the words of Van Deelen: Science supports a ban to reduce disease risks for CWD.

Not to mention North Dakota just agreed to ban baiting on government-owned land and in the area where CWD has been found.

That's a good idea.

Oh sure, only 15 instances of CWD were found in Kansas in 2009-10.

But that's on top of one found in 2005, three in 2007 and 10 in 2008.

The disease is spreading. Just as sure as hunters will go afield in search of deer, the disease is rearing its ugly head.

It's a disease that can be spread deer-to-deer, in a number of ways, not the least of which is one animal licking another.

Bottom line, it's not a question of should the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission wait on hunters to come knocking at the doorstep for action on banning baiting.

We already know that's not going to happen; in fact, as the number of trophy deer start to dwindle, and there's no doubt that will happen one day, the corn piles likely will grow even larger.

Besides, the wildlife commission doesn't wait on hunters to step forward and make suggestions for upland game bird bag limits.

Rather than being reactionary, we might try the novel approach of anticipating something.

Let's ban baiting and artificial feeding now.

It will be good for the hunters and it will be good for deer.