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Extra deer hunt in Alpena County next month

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

State officials are holding a special deer hunt in Alpena County in early January. It’s an effort to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis in northeastern Lower Michigan.

 Chad Stewart with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says hunters can shoot antlerless deer only – and can only hunt on private land.

 “Certainly by taking more antlerless deer out of the population it’s going to reduce the deer herd,” Stewart says. “Those are the breeders in the deer population.”

The state has spent more than $150 million over two decades trying to combat bovine tuberculosis. Deer and cattle can pass the disease to one another.

“We’re sort of trying to get additional deer taken off of these private properties,” Stewart says, “where deer are more likely to come in contact with cattle.”

The state is encouraging landowners to allow hunters on their property through its Hunter Access Program. It provides payments to property owners if they participate.

 The hunt is scheduled for the first two weekends of January.