Michigan deer hunters became worried after deer had to be tested for chronic wasting disease, a fatal disease that affects their brains. “I was amazed that we had 150 deer come through the check station on the first day of gun season in Montcalm County. Given the Wednesday opener and the bad weather, I was blown away.” said Chad Stewart, Michigan Department of Natural Resources deer specialist.
Chronic wasting disease tests
CWD testing is funded from deer licensees and other hunting purchases. Other funds are used for endangered species and habitat restoration. In the case of the chronic wasting disease, it is vital that the disease doesn’t continue to spread.
If more deer become infected, there is a serious risk that humans will be the next ones that will be affected. However, this leads to an issue. Lately, deer regulations have focused on protecting younger deer, and it is restricted to shoot them when they are young, since they are supposed to be allowed to grow to an older age.
However, in the CWD situations, many of the deer infected are pretty young, and letting them live would mean that many others will be exposed to the disease. Eventually, it might lead to a point where the disease will begin to affect humans. According to scientists, this is definitely something that will happen.
Right now the hunters are trying to solve the problem and they had a few meetings where they discussed this issue. “There’s no way the DNR can do it themselves. We had almost 400 hunters show up at a meeting in Montcalm County. They asked such intelligent questions; they were so engaged and supportive. It was honestly one of the most inspiring meetings I’ve ever been to,” said Chad Stewart.