DNR thanks hunters, federal officials and more in fight against CWD.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is crediting partners in their fight against chronic wasting disease this year.
Four deer were confirmed to be carrying the neurological disease also known as CWD this year. A fifth has initially tested positive though final testing still needs to be done.
While the long-term effects on the Michigan deer herd are still unknown, the DNR has sent out a press release thanking everyone who has partnered to help state officials combat the deadly disease that affects deer, elk and moose.
"From the individual who reported the initial sick deer, to U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services doing targeted surveillance, to the hunters who complied with regulations and checked their harvested deer, to the township officials who have supported DNR efforts - they are all important pieces to hopefully eradicating this disease in Michigan," DNR deer moose, and elk management specialist Chad Stewart said in the release.
The DNR seems especially thankful to the efforts of individual hunters who submit deer for testing. In the latest suspected case, the hunter who shot the deer brought the animal in to have it aged and get a successful hunter patch. Officials convinced him to have a test done. "If he hadn't agreed, we may not have found another suspect," Stewart said.
The release further states the DNR will be conducting CWD surveillance which will help them determine what regulation changes might be on the table for next season. They are looking to involve the public the fight against the disease.
Earlier in the year they involved the community of Meridian in their plans after the first CWD-positive deer was discovered there. They are looking to do the same with Clinton County residents with a town hall meeting Jan. 12 at the DeWitt Charter Township Valley Farms Community Center.
"We would like to build the same type of support in DeWitt and Watertown townships that we have seen in Meridian," Stewart said. "Township officials, hunters and landowners are critical to our plan."
Interestingly, the release by the DNR also speaks out against what they call misinformation and resistance to the fight against CWD.
"We have individuals and groups who want to provide their own opinions on this disease," DNR veterinarian Steve Schmitt said. "The information they are putting out is blatantly incorrect and we want hunters and landowners to inform themselves through credible science."
CWD has been all over the headlines this fall throughout the Midwest and in places such as Texas and Wyoming. Michigan hopes the impact can be controlled and the good of the herd can be maintained, but it remains to be seen how drastically Michigan deer will be affected.