CWD creeps closer to Michigan

Tom PinkThe stories chronicling the recent discovery of chronic wasting disease in Pennsylvania’s wild deer herd could just as well be talking about Michigan.

Since CWD had been discovered in Maryland and West Virginia’s wild deer herd, and in Pennsylvania’s captive deer last year, biologists in the Keystone State figured it was only a matter of time before it was verified in wild deer. They were right.

Michigan’s DNR was widely criticized for following its own CWD plan when the disease was discovered in a Kent County deer farm in 2008, but if you look at what other states are experiencing, it becomes a little easier to see why state wildlife agencies might be accused of over-reacting when it comes to CWD. Once it is established, CWD is difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate.

Meanwhile, Indiana recently announced that it still has not found CWD in its wild deer herd, but we’ll see whether the state is able to make that claim next year. Several deer on a deer farm in that state escaped into the wild last year when a tree fell on one of the farm’s fences. At least one of the escapees was from a Pennsylvania farm where CWD had been documented.

While it has not been shown that any of the escaped deer in Indiana were infected with CWD, you can see where this is going. Wisconsin has the disease in its wild deer herd; Indiana may be next. Iowa confirmed it in its captive deer population some years ago but, so far, has not found it in its wild deer.

With more cases being discovered every year in both wild and captive deer around the country, it is difficult to imagine how we will keep CWD out of Michigan.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Michigan – Tom Pink, Social Media, Whitetail Deer

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