Bovine Tuberculosis Information for Hunters

In 2014, bovine tuberculosis (bovine TB) was found in 12 wild white-tailed deer from five counties in Michigan: Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, Oscoda, and Presque Isle. Statewide 4,256 deer were tested. Since 1995, a total of 759 deer have been found positive from 209,789 deer samples in Michigan. For more information on bovine TB in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/bovinetb

Are we better off today than when we started our TB Management Strategies in 1995? Yes.

  1. There has been a consistent 20-year downward trend in prevalence of the disease in wild white-tailed deer.
  2. There is no evidence that bovine TB is spreading or building up outside the 5-county TB Area.
  3. Bovine TB has not become established in our elk herd.
  4. There is no evidence that Bovine TB has become established in any wildlife species other than deer.
  5. Fewer cattle herds are becoming infected with the disease.

Conclusion: “Stay the Course”: Because, if we roll back our management of TB, we can expect to see a decline in these positive effects.

This fall, 2015, the DNR is urging hunters to submit heads from harvested deer in the following counties: Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Cheboygan, Crawford, Gratiot, Huron, Iosco, Midland, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon, and Saginaw. Deer carcasses with chest lesions suspicious for TB should be submitted from anywhere in the state. The list of deer check stations is available at www.michigan.gov/deer If you see a deer with this type of infection, please contact the DNR so the carcass and viscera, in addition to the head, can be examined. Hunters may check their deer or elk TB lab results at www.michigan.gov/dnrlab

To address the potential spread of disease, baiting is illegal in Alpena, Alcona, Clinton, Ingham, Montmorency, Oscoda and Shiawassee counties.

What Hunters Should Look for When Field Dressing Deer

Deer with severe TB may have tan or yellow lumps lining the chest wall and in the lung tissue (see photos below). If you see a deer with this type of infection, please contact the DNR so the carcass and viscera, in addition to the head, can be examined. Hunters taking deer in any of the counties listed above should turn in the deer's head for testing whether these signs of infection are present or not. For more information on Bovine TB in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/bovinetb

ribcage of TB-infected deer
Tuberculosis-infected deer may have multiple pea-sized tan or yellow lumps on the inside of the ribcage (above)...
lungs of TB-infected deer
... or on the lungs (above). The lesions may be different shapes and sizes than shown.