Tag Archives: deer

Officials confirm first case of a fatal disease in free-ranging deer


State wildlife officials have confirmed the first case of a fatal neurological disease in free-ranging deer.

It’s called chronic wasting disease. It only affects deer, elk and moose.

CWD can leave them acting strange towards humans with- what officials call – “zombie-like” movements.

Dr. Steve Schmitt is with the DNR wildlife disease lab.

“The animals are thin, that’s because they’re not eating, they show abnormal behavior, they lose their fear of humans, you can approach them. Sometimes they walk in circles, sometimes they isolate themselves, sometimes they stand around with their tongue out drooling.”

The six year old doe was found in Ingham county in April, when someone called the police reporting suspicious activity from the deer. After testing done by the DNR, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, the deer was found positive of CWD.

Keith Creagh is the DNR Director. He has helped create an action plan for for Clint, Shiawassee and Ingham counties.

“Mandatory checking of deer will be required in this area in the hunting seasons, and restrictions will apply to the movement of carcasses and parts of deer taken in this area, I’ll also create a chronic wasting disease management zone which will include Clinton, Shiawassee, and Ingham counties.”

Although this is the first case reported in free-ranging deer, there could be others within the state.

Creagh says hunters all over Michigan should watch deer for chronic wasting disease, and notify the DNR if you suspect a case.

Officials say humans do not contract chronic wasting disease. However, as a precaution, hunters are urged not to eat the meat of an infected deer.

Study links deer to forest plant species changes

deerA recent study is linking changes in forest ecosystems in northern Michigan and Wisconsin to the eating habits of White-Tailed Deer.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It links at least 40 percent of plant species changes in the forests of northern Michigan and Wisconsin to White-Tailed Deer. Continue reading

Michigan conservation officers use robotic decoy animals to catch poachers

Whitetail decoy. Custom Robotic Wildlife courtesy photo.

Whitetail decoy. Custom Robotic Wildlife courtesy photo.

Hunters often use decoy animals to lure in prey. In Michigan, DNR officers have turned the tables; they use decoy animals to catch poachers.

Conservation officers use robo-deer and other fake animals to catch poachers in the act.

Officers say they frequently get complaints of people hunting from their vehicles or trespassing in rural areas.

That’s when, they said, they break out the remote controlled robo-deer. The decoys have moveable heads, tails and sometimes legs. Continue reading

Emergency supplemental deer feeding possible near you

The past two harsh winters and a coming third have many people worried about Michigan’s deer population.

Russ Mason, Chief of the Michigan DNR’s Wildlife division, said supplemental feeding in certain areas could help.

“We would move on public land. The public can get a permit from us and under certain conditions, so far from a road and so forth, they can feed if they choose to do so.”

The public will only be allowed to feed on private land.

Mason made it a point to explain how dangerous feeding can be if done improperly. He says people could end up harming more deer than they help.

DNR officials: Deer harvest numbers dropped compared to last year

Snow may be a great joy for snowmobilers and skiers, but for deer hunters in the Upper peninsula, the snow was a problem this year.

DNR officials said smaller deer populations, more snow, and a late corn harvest contributed to a low firearm deer harvest this year.

Michigan DNR officials said the firearm deer harvest across the state is down this year. Continue reading

Muzzleloader season opens today in Michigan

One shot, one deer. The single shot deer hunting season kicked off Friday, Dec 5th.

Brent Rudolph is a deer specialist from the Michigan DNR. He said it’s important to remember the differences between hunting zones.

“Ya know we have different zones in the state that we use for a variety of different species actually. So zone 1 is upper peninsula, that’s pretty easy to identify. Zone 2 is from Muskegon over to Bay County. And we use those different areas because there’s a little different climate, there’s different habitat. And so any variety of our species there’s a need to manage a little bit differently according to those boundaries.”

There are three zones in Michigan. Zones one and two are both open until Dec 14th, while zone three affords hunters an extra week to bring home the venison.

Rudolph said zone three is open longer because there tends to be larger deer concentrations in that area.

For more information on hunting zones, or anything else season related, visit the DNR here.

Deer are threatening the safety of air travelers

goofy deer

Wildlife and aviation experts say deer have become nuisances for airports and threats to pilots, especially during this time of year.

Officials say deer are attracted to airport runways for warmth. Runways maintain heat longer than the bare ground.
Continue reading