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CWD testing goals and outcomes February 27, 2020 Michigan

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CWD testing goals and outcomes February 27, 2020 Michigan, DNR News


Surveillance efforts for the 2019 seasons are complete. The DNR tested just over 20,000 deer for chronic wasting disease, continuing Michigan’s role as a national leader in CWD surveillance efforts. The year before, during the 2018 seasons, about 25 percent of all deer heads tested in the U.S. were tested here in Michigan.

“Once again, we’d like thank our hunters for their cooperation in helping us meet our CWD surveillance goals,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “Testing for CWD is of primary importance for the department and we couldn’t meet these goals without the assistance of deer hunters.”

Eichinger also praised the assistance of deer processors, taxidermists, local businesses that house deer head drop boxes and other important partners who provide necessary assistance to the department.

For the 2019 seasons the department set testing goals of about 9,200 deer in the Lower Peninsula’s 16-county CWD management zone and approximately 3,300 in the Upper Peninsula’s surveillance areas. Those regions, respectively, saw 16,000 and 1,500 deer tested. More than 2,500 deer also were tested in other parts of Michigan not associated with disease surveillance goals.

“This year, we achieved most of our individual county and area goals. In some regions, our goals were quite lofty, and even though we didn’t meet them, we still tested a lot of deer,” said DNR deer specialist Chad Stewart. “The goals we set, and the ensuing test results help us to determine where on the landscape the CWD is found and the scale at which it exists.”

In the Lower Peninsula, Gratiot, Isabella, Jackson, Muskegon and Ottawa counties fell short of surveillance goals, though nearly 4,000 deer were still tested in those five counties.

In all, 65 CWD-positive deer were identified from the 2019 hunting seasons – and all were from counties with a known CWD presence.

“Our primary area of infection remains in parts of Montcalm and northeast Kent counties, where we knew the disease existed going into 2019 hunting seasons,” Stewart said. “We are encouraged that we have not found new CWD positives outside of this known area.”

Despite finding 65 positive animals, officials caution about comparing the low number of positives with the high number tested and saying there is not a problem.

“Fifty-three of our total positives came out of Montcalm and northeast Kent counties, where we tested about 3,000 deer,” Stewart added. “This may not sound like much, but we know from the experience of other states that without active management of the disease, CWD prevalence rates can increase rapidly over time.”

Stewart said that CWD is a problem in Michigan’s deer herd that will require a commitment to long-term solutions. “Active management includes targeted removals, baiting and feeding bans and carcass movement restrictions and is our best chance of keeping the disease as limited as possible for as long as possible,” he said.


DNR reviews 2019 deer seasons March 28, 2020 Michigan, The Iron Mountain Daily News
... The DNR tested just over 20,000 deer for chronic wasting disease ... In all, 65 CWD-positive deer were identified from the 2019 hunting seasons – and all were from counties with a known CWD presence... “Fifty-three of our total positives came out of Montcalm and northeast Kent counties, where we tested about 3,000 deer,” ..,


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