With the deer hunting season kicking off this week, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is encouraging hunters in four Lower Peninsula counties to have their harvest checked for Chronic Wasting Disease.
It’s currently mandated that harvested deer be checked in a nine-township Core CWD Area in and around Lansing, where three deer were confirmed to have the disease earlier this year.
But Chad Stewart of the DNR says they’re also urging hunters in Eaton, Clinton, Ingham and Shiawassee counties to have their deer tested for CWD.
Eaton was recently added to the suggested testing area after preliminary tests on a deer killed in DeWitt indicated the one-and-a-half year-old buck had the illness.
Stewart says the DNR has also launched an education campaign in the Upper Peninsula, so hunters going into Wisconsin, which has been dealing with a CWD problem since 2001, know they are not supposed to bring entire deer carcasses back into the Michigan. He says the disease tends to stay in the brain and spine and the illness can be spread if the deer carcass is discarded in the environment.
CWD is a neurological disease that causes erratic behavior in deer and elk and eventual death. It cannot be spread to people.