Federal lab confirms Montcalm County deer had CWD

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed this week that a 3 1/2-year-old female deer taken during Michigan’s youth deer hunting season in September has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the Michigan DNR said in a news release Friday, Oct. 6.

The animal, harvested in Montcalm Township in Montcalm County, is the 10th free-ranging deer in Michigan found to have chronic wasting disease. The youth hunter who harvested the deer opted to take the animal to a DNR deer check station and then submitted the animal for testing – steps the DNR strongly encourages hunters across the state to take during the 2017 deer hunting seasons, the agency said in the release.

With Wednesday’s confirmation of chronic wasting disease in the Montcalm County deer, DNR Director Keith Creagh has signed an interim order (effective Oct. 4, 2017, through March 29, 2018) outlining next steps as governed by Michigan’s CWD Response and Surveillance Plan, the DNR said. The order:

  • Creates a nine-township Core Area that includes Douglass, Eureka, Fairplain, Maple Valley, Montcalm, Pine and Sidney townships in Montcalm County, and Oakfield and Spencer townships in Kent County. Within the Core Area specifically:
  • Institutes mandatory registration of deer at a check station within five miles of the new Core CWD Area, within 72 hours of harvest, starting Nov. 15. (Available stations currently are at Flat River State Game Area and Howard City.)
  • Removes antler point restrictions for the restricted tag of the combo deer license within the nine-township Core Area.
  • Allows antlerless deer to be tagged using the deer or deer combo license(s) during the firearm, muzzleloader and late antlerless seasons.
  • Institutes mandatory submission of the head for testing of a road-killed deer within 72 hours of pick-up.
  • Allows disease control permits, effective immediately, for landowners with five or more acres within the nine-township Core Area.
  • Bans the feeding and baiting of deer in Kent and Montcalm counties, effective Jan. 2, 2018, and encourages hunters not to bait and feed in these areas immediately.

The DNR will work with the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to make the order permanent, adjusting as needed in response to the evolving situation, the DNR said in the release.

Starting Nov. 1, several new deer check stations near the new Core Area will accept deer for CWD testing. Archery hunters are encouraged to have their deer checked at existing check stations during the early archery season. A complete list of check stations, including locations and hours, as well as weekly CWD updates, are available at michigan.gov/cwd.

As additional deer have tested positive for CWD within Michigan, the DNR has put specific regulations in place. Currently, there are two CWD Core Areas, which are deer management units (DMUs) 333 and 359. To review regulations related to those areas, also visit michigan.gov/cwd.

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