2015-06-17 / Sports

CWD confirmed in Michigan’s deer herd

Michigan’s DNR has identified in ( death. There is no known treatment, vaccine or cure for the disease. The deer found with CWD was located in Meridian Township (Ingham County). The six-year old doe was confirmed on May 20 of this year as positive by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

The DNR has tested over 20,000 Michigan deer over the past 20 years and has only found one other deer with CWD. That deer was a captive deer from Kent County back in 2008.

CWD has been found in 21 states and 2 Canadian provinces and is very infectious. The disease has also affected the elk herd in Canada, some western states and Wisconsin.

CWD can be spread by a contaminated live deer, a contaminated carcass or urine taken from a diseased deer and used as a deer attractant. It is believed that CWD may be transmitted both directly through animal-to-animal contact as well as indirectly through a contaminated environment (such as soil). CWD prions exist in the blood, feces, urine, saliva, and carcass remains of infected cervids.

The DNR asks that the public and hunters report deer that are unusually thin and/or exhibiting unusual behavior, such as acting tame around humans and allowing someone to approach them, by calling DNR Wildlife Disease Lab at 517-336-5030.

CWD does not infect people or any animals except deer, elk and moose. To date, there is no evidence that CWD presents a risk to humans, either through contact with an infected animal or from handling contaminated venison. However, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that people not eat the infected animals.

Now that CWD has been confirmed in Michigan, the DNR will implement the following steps outlined in their Response Plan for CWD developed in 2002 and revised in 2012, addressing this disease-- a. Establish a Core CWD Area consisting of nine townships. The nine townships include Meridian, Lansing, Delhi, Williamstown, Alaiedon and Wheatfield townships in Ingham County; DeWitt and Bath townships in Clinton County, and Woodhull Township in Shiawassee County. Hunters from these 9-townships will be required to take their deer to a check station. The deer’s head will be turned over to the DNR for study, and restrictions will apply to the movement of meat, carcasses and parts of deer taken in this area.

The possession or salvage of deer killed by collision with a motor vehicle within this Core area is also prohibited, since the DNR will be collecting these deer and testing them for CWD.

The DNR will be issuing unlimited antlerless licenses in the CWD core zone, hoping to eradicate the disease. b. Create a CWD Management Zone, which will include Clinton, Shiawassee and Ingram counties. Antlerless quotas during hunting season will be increased and an early antlerless deer season will be added in this CWD Zone. c. Implement a deer and elk feeding and baiting ban, which will include both the Core CWD Area and the three-county CWD Management Zone. Additional deercheck stations will be established in both areas to accommodate hunters.

Michigan’s North East Lower Peninsula has been hit with TB and its deer herd has suffered because of it. Then just three years ago in 2012, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) killed hundreds of deer in southern Michigan. As a result of these two instances, hunter participation and deer harvest numbers in both areas have declined.

Chronic wasting disease is a very devastating disease and can greatly affect our Michigan deer herd. The DNR will be doing whatever they can to control and eradicate this disease.

All Michigan deer hunters need to support the DNR and do whatever they ask in protecting our deer herd so that will be able to enjoy our excellent deer hunting in the future.

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