Firearm deer season: Michigan DNR keeps close eye on Chronic Wasting Disease

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – As hunters brought deer in on the first day of firearm deer season, state officials are working to track the progress of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the deer population.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says once hunters come to get their deer tagged, they send them over to a lab at Michigan State University to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease and the results could take up to a week to come in.

“With Chronic Wasting Disease it’s really tough to tell just by looking at an animal,” said Chad Fedawa; a Wildlife Biologist for the Michigan DNR.

Fedawa says on opening firearm deer day, he and his crew will see roughly 80 to 100 deer at the Rose Lake Deer Check Station in East Lansing by the end of the day.

Fedawa says while they’re always on the lookout for Chronic Wasting Disease, it’s not easy to detect.

“From a hunter’s perspective, deer can look perfectly healthy, they won’t notice anything wrong with it but until we do the test that’s the only way we can determine if the animal is positive for CWD,” Fedawa stated.

Fedawa says in the past 3 years, Michigan DNR has seen nine cases of CWD in the Lansing area and for companies including “Specialized Deer Processing” in St. Johns, they’re always vigilant in looking for the disease.

“The deer have to be checked so they’re given a tag, they send samples to the lab and then they’ll send back a report if the deer clears from Chronic Wasting or if it doesn’t,” said Owner Chuck DeSander.

DeSander says in his 32 years he’s never dealt with a case of CWD.

“It’s great that people get out there, get them checked, get them in to get them processed, get them in under refrigeration and take care of your deer,” DeSander stated.

The DNR couldn’t stress enough how important it is to get your deer tested because they say it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you’re looking for locations of different check stations in the Lansing area, check out the “Seen on 6” section of our website.

There you’ll find the 5 locations that are open 7 days a week, but the hours vary.

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