Michigan expands CWD management zone

By Dana Kobilinsky

A doe in feeds on vegetation in Michigan. ©James Marvin Phelps

The spread of chronic wasting disease — a deadly neurological disease in deer and other cervids — into more counties in Michigan has caused the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to expand their Core Chronic Wasting Disease Area.

Deer hunted in the Core Chronic Wasting Disease Area must go through mandatory check stations to help biologists determine if other deer are infected. The area now includes 17 townships, which is eight more than there were last October. The included townships are all in Ingham, Clinton, Shiawassee and Eaton Counties.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources also expanded the CWD Management Zone, an area larger than the CWD Core Area, where there are baiting and feeding bans as well as voluntary deer-check stations for hunters. This zone will now include Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Shiawassee and Ionia Counties.

“With the detection of CWD-positive deer in the southern part of Clinton County, we need to better understand the magnitude of the disease in those areas,” said Chad Stewart, a deer specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in a press release. “Expanding our surveillance to include those areas is key at this point, and we need help from landowners and hunters within the expanded zone to help us with this effort.”

Other changes regarding CWD management include banning deer feeding and baiting on all properties within the Core CWD Area and management zone, opening Eaton and Ionia counties to an early antlerless deer season..

Other states are also considering management zones. In an effort to manage the disease in Arkansas, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recently voted to establish a chronic wasting disease management zone in 10 counties in northern Arkansas. This is after the disease had been found in five of the counties included in the zone with the first being found late in February of this year. The commission hopes this will help slow the spread of the disease.

Dana KobilinskyDana Kobilinsky is a science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at dkobilinsky@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about her article. You can follow her on Twitter at @DanaKobi.

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