It's become clear, after several years of expanded testing for CWD, that this disease is now endemic in Michigan and will be here for the foreseeable future. It is highly likely that the introduction occurred in Kent County, in 2008, related to the captive cervid enclosure, where the first CWD positive deer in Michigan was detected. It has therefore likely been expanding unchecked in Central Michigan for the last ten years.
Sportsmen need to be aware of the serious threat that this disease poses to the resource and to hunting as we know it. The Concerned Sportsmen of Michigan support the DNR's CWD response plan, which was revised in 2012. We also urge hunters to become educated about this disease. Based on the best available science, targeting yearling bucks, who have the potential to spread the disease outside of the core area in which it was found, will play an important role in the mitigation efforts. In the immediate vicinity of the index case and where other deer may test positive, eliminating entire family groups is deemed useful. As with bTB, adult males have significantly greater potential to have and transmit CWD and should also be targeted for removal, if possible.
CWD is transmitted both by direct deer-to-deer contact and also by indirect contact, via environmental contamination. We would urge sportsmen in the contamination zone and in areas close to it, to refrain from engaging in practices such as baiting, using mineral blocks, making man-made water holes, planting food plots, particularly those with root vegetables in them, making mock scrapes, using natural deer urine products, as well as any other hunting or land management related practices that cause aggregation or un-natural concentrations of deer, which is thought to contribute to environmental contamination of CWD. More information about the CWD outbreak in Michigan will be posted periodically on our download page.
Since 1996 Michigan has been dealing with Bovine Tuberculosis in the deer herd in the Northeastern part of the Lower Peninsula. Whitetail deer have become a reservoir species for Bovine TB, which has become endemic in the deer herd in a 5 county area.
Deer have been found to be the primary source of introducing TB to a number of cattle and dairy herds in the Northern Lower Peninsula. The means of exposure is probably due to environmental contamination of pastures and stored cattle food. A number of studies have documented the fact that bTB bacillus can remain viable for extended periods of time, on a variety of substances that both deer and cattle frequently come into contact with.
Over $200 million dollars have been spent in efforts to eradicate the disease from the deer herd in that area but attempts have proved unsuccessful. In recent years, prevalence levels have been maintained at a low level, due to a combination of agricultural best practices, that limit cross contamination between deer and cattle and herd reduction efforts, which have reduced the size of the deer herd in that area, compared to the early years of the outbreak.
Since 2015, prevalence rates in the deer herd in the core TB zone have been trending up. This increase is troublesome, as increased levels of TB continue to threaten the MOU that is in place between Michigan and USDA, which will be re-negotiated this year. Increased levels of TB continue to have a significant negative economic impact on the agricultural community in that region.
There are concerns that the Hunters Choice regulations that were put into effect in that area between 2010 - 2017, may be contributing to the substantial uptick in TB prevalence that occurred last year, within the 5 county area, outside of the core zone.
The Concerned Sportsmen of Michigan
Promoting the responsible management of Michigan's Whitetail Deer herd, using sound biological science.
Providing information and education on topics relevant to responsible deer management in Michigan.
Protecting our resource through issue advocacy designed to promote practices that mitigate the impact of communicable diseases that effect Whitetail Deer in Michigan.