Harvested in Montcalm County during last months youth hunting season, a 3 1/2 –year-old doe is believed to be Michigan’s 10th free-ranging deer with chronic wasting disease.

After an initial round of testing, the preliminary results indicate the presence of the disease but the DNR has stated that they are still awaiting final confirmation from Michigan State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

“We cannot thank this family enough for bringing their deer to a check station,” said Dr. Kelly Straka, DNR state wildlife veterinarian. “Without their effort, the disease may have gone undetected in this area. We encourage hunters from any part of the state, especially the south-central Lower Peninsula, to have their deer tested.”

Over the past two years, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources has been active in the fight against the debilitating disease, testing over 14,000 deer since the originally infected animal was found.

Regarding this new suspect positive deer, the DNR is determining next steps as outlined in the CWD Response and Surveillance Plan, including:

  • Creating a nine-township Core Area that would include Douglass, Eureka, Fairplain, Maple Valley, Montcalm, Pine and Sidney townships in Montcalm County, and Oakfield and Spencer townships in Kent County. Within the Core Area specifically:
    • Instituting mandatory registration of deer within 72 hours of harvest, starting Nov. 15.
    • Removing antler point restrictions for the restricted tag of the combo deer license if license is used within the nine-township Core Area.
    • Allowing antlerless deer to be tagged using the deer or deer combo license(s) during the firearm, muzzleloader and late antlerless seasons.
    • Allowing the public to pick up road-killed deer and allow them to be possessed with a salvage tag if the deer head is submitted for testing within 72 hours of pick-up.
    • Allowing disease control permits, effective immediately, for landowners with five or more acres within the nine-township Core Area.
  • Banning the feeding and baiting of deer in Kent and Montcalm counties, effective Jan. 2, 2018, and encouraging hunters not to bait and feed in these areas immediately.

“With some hunting seasons already under way, we are not recommending that a new deer management unit be created for the area at this time,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer specialist. “If you purchase or have purchased licenses for DMUs 354 or 341, they can be used in the new Core Area, but it’s critical for hunters to follow the final regulations related to those nine townships.”