Travis Smola

Michigan DNR Confirms First Case of CWD in Upper Peninsula

Another major area sees its first case of chronic wasting disease.

The Great Lakes State has seen its share of CWD problems in the past few years. But the always-fatal neurological disease has kept its ugly head out of the UP until now.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed a 4-year-old doe has become the first confirmed animal to test positive for CWD in the UP. The doe was shot in Dickinson County on a damage shooting permit approximately 4 miles from the state line.

Because Wisconsin has had their share of CWD issues, it's no surprise the DNR has tested more than 600 deer killed near the Wisconsin border this year. Those tests included deer killed by hunters, vehicles and on damage permits.

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"It was our surveillance efforts that revealed the disease in this particular deer," State Wildlife Veterinarian Kelly Straka said in a press release. "It is now especially important that these efforts continue."

Previous discoveries of CWD had been limited to six Lower Peninsula counties. Michigan officials began cracking down on illegal importation of carcasses they feared could bring CWD into the state a few years ago.

Now the DNR will set up a CWD core area in a 10-mile radius of Waucedah and will ramp up testing in those areas. It's worth noting the DNR will continue to allow baiting for the rest of the year. They also plan to start collaring deer in the area and will provide dropboxes for people to drop deer heads to be tested.

They're encouraging hunters to help them test at least 600 more deer in this new CWD-infected area. The idea is figure out if the CWD-positive doe was an anomaly or a sign of a larger outbreak. "At this point we are not establishing a mandatory deer check in the area, but that may become necessary if we don't reach out goal," Chief of DNR Wildlife Division Russ Mason said in the release.

"For next hunting season and beyond, the DNR will discuss possible response actions with UP hunters and other stakeholders to determine the best approach to fighting CWD in the region," DNR deer management specialist Chad Stewart said in the release.

We'll keep an eye on this story and bring you any updates as they come in.