Meeting to discuss Lansing Chronic Wasting Disease deer hunt

An aggressive approach to stopping the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer around Lansing will be the center of a meeting Monday night.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Lansing officials will go over details of a deer hunt starting in city parks. In December the city will close select parks to allow sharpshooters to kill deer there.

The DNR says the hunt is critical to determine whether Chronic Wasting Disease is spreading in Lansing deer herds. While there are hundreds of deer in the city, hunting is limited meaning few deer have been tested for the disease.

Since 2015, 9 deer killed in communities surrounding Lansing tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.

"Lansing and Lansing Township are of great concern given that we've identified the disease north, east and west of the metro area," said MDNR's Chad Stewart, who serves as the agency's deer, elk and moose specialist.

"Further complicating matters is the extensive network of parks, trails, and green spaces that serve as a home to seemingly many deer in the area. With few opportunities existing to manage these deer through traditional methods such as hunting, we need to incorporate another tool to achieve a better understanding of whether this disease may be present locally, and if so, how prevalent it is."

The removal will be conducted at night by expert sharpshooters on larger parcels of city-owned property. All deer taken will be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease.

Deer that test negative for the disease will be donated to Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger, which distributes venison to food pantries.

The public meeting is happening Monday, November 13 at 6 p.m. in the Foster Community Center gymnasium.