A 3½-year-old female deer taken during Michigan’s youth deer hunting season is likely to be the 10th free-ranging deer in the state found to have chronic wasting disease.
The animal was harvested in Montcalm Township in Montcalm County, and preliminary tests indicate the animal may be positive for CWD. The DNR is awaiting final confirmation from the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
The suspect deer was harvested by a youth hunter during the September youth season. The hunter voluntarily took the animal to a DNR deer check station and submitted the animal for testing.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It is caused by the transmission of infectious, self-multiplying proteins (prions) contained in saliva and other body fluids of infected animals. Susceptible animals can acquire CWD by direct exposure to these fluids, from environments contaminated with these fluids or the carcass of a diseased animal.
Some CWD-infected animals will display abnormal behaviors, progressive weight loss and physical debilitation; however, deer can be infected for many years without showing internal or external symptoms. There is no cure – once a deer is infected with CWD, it will die.
Since May 2015, the DNR has actively conducted surveillance for CWD. To date, more than 14,000 deer have been tested since the first positive case was found, with nine cases of CWD confirmed in free-ranging white-tailed deer previously identified in Ingham and Clinton counties.
Starting Nov. 1, several new check stations near the new Core Area will accept deer for CWD testing. Archery hunters are strongly 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.