Two new counties likely will be added to the list of Michigan counties where chronic wasting disease has been found. CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose.
A 4-year-old hunter-harvested buck in Pine River Township (Gratiot County) and a 2-year-old hunter-harvested buck in Carmel Township (Eaton County) are suspected positive for the disease. The samples were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for confirmation.
Chronic wasting disease currently has been confirmed in Clinton, Dickinson, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm counties.
As of Saturday, the Department of Natural Resources has tested more than 16,000 deer in 2018, with 20 of those confirmed positive for CWD. There are an additional 18 animals suspected positive from townships in Clinton, Kent and Montcalm counties. Additional animals are being tested daily.
"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."
Despite strong participation from hunters throughout the CWD surveillance and management areas, there are several counties - particularly Gratiot, Isabella, Jackson and Kent - where testing is well below the goal.
To continue the fight against CWD, Stewart reminds hunters to keep hunting throughout the December deer seasons, check their deer, dispose of leftover parts in the trash, and, if possible, take additional does in the Lower Peninsulas CWD areas.
Deer check stations and drop boxes will continue to be open throughout the remaining hunting seasons into early January, while the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory and partner Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory will continue processing and testing deer for another six weeks or more as hunting seasons continue.
For check station locations and hours, visit www.michigan.gov/deercheck.