Travis Smola

Michigan Introduces More Carcass Importation Rules in Fight Against CWD

Here's what Michigan hunters need to know for hunting out of state this year.

Michigan is in an ongoing battle against chronic wasting disease. And now, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced some new restrictions on importing deer carcasses from other states in an effort to control the disease.

It's the latest measure the state has taken in an attempt to avoid introducing the prions that spread the deadly neurological disease. These rules apply for any cervid (deer, moose or elk) taken out of state. Previously, Michigan had restrictions for certain places known to be CWD-positive. This year, these restrictions will apply for animals harvested in any other state or Canadian province regardless of its CWD status.

According to a press release from the DNR, hunters are now only allowed to bring the following cervid parts into the state.

  • Hides
  • Deboned meat
  • Quarters (legs that do not have any part of the spinal column or head attached)
  • Finished taxidermy products
  • Cleaned teeth
  • Antlers
  • Antlers attached to a skullcap cleaned of brain and muscle tissue

It's worth noting the DNR has conducted sting operations in the past where people illegally importing whole deer carcasses faced charges and loss of their animal.

"We're asking everyone who hunts out of state to understand and follow these regulations," Dean Molnar, assistant chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division, told the DNR. "Those who don't will face fines, penalties and confiscation of the animal. We need everyone to abide by the regulations and follow the law. The health of Michigan's big-game population depends on the cooperation of hunters. We are all in this together."

The news of these new regulations comes almost four months after the DNR recommended a new CWD containment zone in Montcalm and Mecosta counties.

If you've been following CWD news in Michigan, you might recall the fears there come from a bizarre story about an Amish processor providing a deer ranch owner with extra heads for state-mandated testing. Two of the heads eventually tested positive for the disease.

The state also created a scientific panel to fight the disease back in April. It seems the battle against CWD in Michigan is just beginning.