Deer Diseases in Michigan: Hunters Take Note



Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan Whitetail

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was discovered in the free-ranging white-tailed deer herd in Michigan in 2015. Steps have been taken to determine the magnitude and scope of the infection in the deer herd population. Last year, seven positive animals were identified during the deer hunting season, with four occurring in Ingham County and three occurring in Clinton County.

Overall, CWD prevalence in Michigan appears to be low, but more samples are needed this year to fully determine the scale of the disease. Regulations established last year in the area surrounding where the positive animals have been found were expanded this year. The core CWD zone, DMU 333, has been expanded to include eight additional townships in southern Clinton County and northeastern Eaton County. The remainder of Eaton County and all of Ionia County have been added to the CWD Management Zone, which has been renamed DMU 419.

In addition, educational material has been developed to answer questions the public may have regarding this disease and what it means not only for the deer herd but for Michigan deer hunters and residents as well. For the most up-to-date information, please see the DNR emerging diseases website.

Michingan Deer Positive for Bovine Tuberculosis

In the northeast Lower Peninsula, the prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) showed a dramatic increase in the core area, DMU 452. Prevalence there increased from 1.0 percent in 2014 to 2.7 percent in 2015. Outside of DMU 452, the remainder of the five-county TB Management Zone (DMU 487) saw only a slight uptick in prevalence, from 0.2 to 0.3 percent.

The rate of apparent prevalence in DMU 452 over the last five years showed a significant increasing trend for the first time since information has been gathered, and if an increasing trend continues for three consecutive years, it will prompt a USDA review of DNR deer management practices.

Hunters are still strongly encouraged to harvest antlerless deer while deer hunting to help maintain reduced deer numbers and keep TB in check. Older antlered deer also should be harvested and are especially important to take to a check station, as these animals are much more likely to be TB-positive. Bringing in a deer or deer head to a check station for testing allows us to track the prevalence of the disease in the population and is an integral part of controlling the disease.


In 2013, a dairy herd in Saginaw County tested positive for bovine tuberculosis. There is no evidence of TB in deer near this location, but it is important to continue to test deer in this area to accurately assess the situation.

Individuals hunting white-tailed deer in the following counties are highly encouraged to provide their deer head for testing: Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Cheboygan, Crawford, Genesee, Gratiot, Huron, Iosco, Midland, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Saginaw.


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