The DNR wants to remind hunters to check their deer for chronic wasting disease this hunting season.
Just recently, a 4-year-old buck in Pine River Township in Gratiot County, and a 2-year-old buck in Carmel Township in Eaton County are suspected to be positive for the disease.
Samples from the deer were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for confirmation.
Chronic wasting disease has been confirmed in Clinton, Dickinson, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm counties prior to this discovery.
Michigan's rifle season has been going on for about 12 days.
“I continue to be impressed with hunters’ commitment to the health of Michigan’s deer, and want to stress again how much the actions of all hunters matter,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer and elk specialist. “It is only through hunter assistance that we have found CWD in new areas.
Stewart added that hunters should remember to check their deer, dispose of leftover parts in proper receptacles, and if possible, take more does in CWD-prone areas in the Lower Peninsula.
Deer check stations will continue to be open throughout the hunting season into early January.
The DNR says that several counties aren't showing strong participation from hunters checking their deer. Those counties are Gratiot, Isabella, Jackson and Kent.
“The DNR sets surveillance goals – shown as a number of deer tested in a particular area – to help us detect the presence of the disease at a certain level,” Stewart said. “It’s critical that we meet these goals to increase our understanding of the distribution of chronic wasting disease in Michigan, so we strongly encourage hunters in these areas to get their deer checked.”
To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in people. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.