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Chronic Wasting Disease Hits Michigan Deer

Michigan deer have had it rough as of late. It was only in 2012 that Michigan deer were suffering from epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD. Now in 2015 the deer of Michigan may be exposed to another danger from chronic wasting disease (CWD). CWD is a neurological disease that afflicts white tailed deer. Afflicted deer will act abnormally, eventually become physically debilitated and die.

The first case of CWD was found in a deer in Meridian Township, Michigan, which is east of Lansing. The 6 year old female was acting strangely. The DNR confirmed CWD in an announcement made on May 26th.

That was all it took for the DNR to go into emergency preparedness. CWD is fairly contagious and already exists among deer populations in 23 states as well as Canada. It would not take much for it to spread throughout Michigan, devastating our deer population. Preventative measures taken in May included allowing unlimited anter-less deer hunting in a defined “core” zone around the incident, mandatory checking of deer taken during hunting season, population surveys, and a deer cull in the core area prior to hunting season (the “core” CWD area is defined as Alaiedon, Delhi, Lansing, Meridian, Wheatfield and Williamstown townships in Ingham County; Bath and DeWitt townships in Clinton County; and Woodhull Township in Shiawassee County).

On July 17th, a second CWD-positive deer was found in Meridian Township. By that date, 304 deer had been tested. The DNR stated they plan to maintain their aggressive vigilance and monitoring of the distribution of the problem with the help of hunters. People who observe suspicious-looking deer, who may be behaving oddly, can call the DNR Wildlife Disease Lab at (517) 336-5030 or report it online.

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