As you’ve probably read, Michigan deer check station locations and hours and days of operation will be reduced in 2021.
This year, the DNR is beginning a five-year process of strategic, focused chronic wasting disease surveillance by testing deer heads around the state. This year, testing will occur mainly in the southernmost three tiers of Michigan counties. Over the next four years, the remainder of the state will be systematically sampled to determine if CWD is present in other areas where it has not yet been identified.
CWD testing for surveillance will continue free of charge for all deer harvested in Allegan, Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Eaton, Gratiot, southern Isabella, Hillsdale, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Joseph, Washtenaw and Wayne counties, and also from the core CWD surveillance area in the Upper Peninsula (portions of Dickinson, Menominee and Delta counties). Deer heads from these counties can be submitted at any open deer check station from now through early January. Deer harvested in Clinton, Dickinson, Ingham, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties can be tested for CWD for free through the DNR from Nov. 15-18 only.
We understand CWD testing may be important to hunters and their families outside of these geographic areas and time frames. The DNR has partnered with U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved labs to accept hunter-harvested deer from anywhere in Michigan for CWD testing. Please note this testing will come at a fee set by the receiving laboratory.
For the 2021 deer hunting seasons, the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab and the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab are both accepting CWD samples. If you plan to use these services, we recommend you look at the instructions now to save yourself time after your hunt. Regardless of the route you take for testing, be sure to make a plan for how you will store your harvest until you receive your test results.
To lower the cost of the testing and simplify shipping, hunters may wish to remove the needed lymph nodes from the head of their harvested deer. Watch this video for instructions. Due to potential safety concerns with bovine tuberculosis, hunters in Deer Management Unit 487 should not attempt to remove lymph nodes themselves. Please head to a DNR check station for assistance. For a list of check stations, dates, and hours, please visit Michigan.gov/DeerCheck.
Information about CWD testing and deer check station safety procedures can be found at Michigan.gov/CWD.