Chronic Wasting Disease

An emaciated deer stands near a fence.
Terry Kreeger / Wyoming Game and Fish Department/CWD Alliance

To help combat chronic wasting disease, Michigan is banning deer baiting and feeding across big parts of the state. It’s highly unpopular with some hunters and lawmakers.

But, banning bait will only slow CWD from spreading to new areas, and more aggressive approaches that might actually stop it could be just as unpopular.


The Michigan DNR has proposed a partial ban on deer baiting in the U.P. among other recommendations, in advance of the 2019 hunting season.
Michigan DNR

A ban on deer baiting could spread to the Upper Peninsula for the 2019 hunting season.

Last year, the first deer tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in the U.P. and that prompted the recommendation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The deer was found in southern Dickenson County.

Chad Stewart, deer and elk specialist for the DNR, says the ban would not be across the entire U.P.

“We’re proposing just a small area focused around that index case that we identified last year,” he says.

Benzie Central Schools got a cop in the district in January. The position is funded by a county millage and will last four years.
Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, learn about how one northern Michigan county tackled school safety by putting police officers in their schools. Plus, head out to Lake Leelanau to watch ice boaters enjoy the final days of the season.


A new bill introduced by State Sen. Curt VanderWall (R/Ludington) would reverse Michigan's ban on deer baiting and feeding.
Michigan DNR

A bill introduced in the State Senate earlier this year would reverse the ban on deer baiting in Michigan.

 


Larry Martin puts another arrow on his bow string at FPS Archery shop in Cadillac.
Dan Wanschura

 

Deer hunting is declining in Michigan. In the late 1990’s, almost 800,000 people were hunting deer in the state. Twenty years later, that number has dropped by around 25 percent.

A new ban on deer baiting is likely to further that trend. 

But the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the ban is necessary for the long-term health of the state’s deer herd.


Jack Boyd

State biologists are asking the public for help combating a fatal disease that threatens deer. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is holding public hearings about chronic wasting disease (CWD) in April and May.

“CWD is one of the biggest threats – that we have long-term – to the sustainability of our deer herd,” says Chad Stewart, deer management specialist at the DNR.

Jack Boyd

A doe with chronic wasting disease has been found at a deer farm in Mecosta County. The fatal, neurological disease can be found in deer, elk and moose.

The number of deer thought to be infected with CWD tripled this fall, bringing the tally to 30 cases. Seventeen suspected cases were found in Montcalm County around hunting season. The deer farm's infected doe is the northernmost confirmed case so far. 

Jack Boyd

Cases of chronic wasting disease have been slowly increasing among deer in Michigan. Before hunting season this fall, there were nine cases of the disease. Now that number has risen to 30 suspected cases.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer.

The State Department of Natural Resources is concerned about the spread of CWD through Michigan's deer population. 

US Fish and Wildlife Service

State biologists hope that feedback from deer hunters will tell them if Chronic Wasting Disease has spread in Michigan. The state Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to be on the lookout for deer that have the disease. Symptoms include emaciation, drooling and a lack of fear.

Deer biologist Chad Stewart says successful hunters will have their deer tested for the disease at DNR check stations.

Last week, state officials confirmed they found chronic wasting disease in a wild deer for the first time. Michigan now joins 22 states and two Canadian provinces where the disease has been found.

A serious health threat to state’s wild deer population has been detected in mid-Michigan. 

A six-year-old doe found in Haslett last month has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. 

The neurological disease is always fatal.  The disease is transmitted through saliva and other bodily fluids.   The disease is fatal to deer, elk and moose.