This week on Points North, for some, slowing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan is not enough. Can we stop it?
Plus, can the disease spread to humans?
While there haven’t been any confirmed cases yet, some researchers are concerned humans could catch Chronic Wasting Disease. They say humans could get by eating contaminated meat, similar to how Mad Cow Disease was transmitted from livestock through beef.
At the beginning of the year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources banned deer baiting and feeding across the entire lower peninsula. Then in July, it was banned in parts of the Upper Peninsula.
Many in the hunting community say without baiting, hunting license numbers will drop.
Chad Stewart is the deer specialist for the Michigan DNR.
He says the number of deer licenses sold is down, but that’s part of a consistent decline in deer hunting that’s been happening for years.
“As of right now, our deer license sales are down about 4 percent,” Stewart says. “That’s pretty standard rate of attrition that we see annually every year."
Stewart says hunters are getting older — many of them are in their 50s and 60s — and there’s not enough younger hunters coming up behind them to keep those numbers from falling.
“I think the rapid or the massive decline of hunters because of one regulation is somewhat overstated,” he says. “Because there are a lot of reasons why hunter pick and choose why they go hunting.”
That being said, Stewart does say license numbers could still change, as many hunters wait until November to buy deer hunting licenses for the season.