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Questions and Answers

  • CWD (and TB) test results can be checked online at https://mdnr-elicense.com/DiseaseLab using the specimen number from the disease tag placed on your deer's head during submission. Your driver's license or sportcard number can also be used if you provided it at the time you submitted your deer. Hunters should allow up to one month for testing results to be available.

  • Yes, in Mecosta, Montcalm, and Ionia counties. In 2021, only bucks with at least four points on one antler can be taken with a deer or deer combination license, in these three counties. 

  • Some locations have both traditional check stations, and drop boxes. Some locations only have one or the other. Visit Michigan.gov/DeerCheck for a map of locations.

  • Food plots are considered a normal agricultural practice and distinct from baiting. They are legal throughout Michigan.

  • In the core CWD surveillance area, any buck with an antler greater than three inches in length can be taken with a deer or deer combination license during all deer seasons. Additionally, hunters can purchase a universal antlerless license  to harvest an antlerless deer in the core CWD surveillance area, during archery deer seasons. 

    See the Hunting Digest for antler point restrictions in the remainder of the U.P. 

  • Mineral blocks/licks ARE considered bait.

    Effective January 31, 2019, no baiting or feeding is allowed in the entire Lower Peninsula.

    Exception:

    Hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements may use not more than 2 gallons at a time of bait in the CWD surveillance area during the Liberty and Independence hunts. Baiting for the Liberty and Independence Hunts may begin five days before the hunts begin.  

    What is this exception? To qualify as an individual, you must fit one of the following criteria:

    • Be a veteran who has been determined to have 100-percent disability or is rated as individually unemployable by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
    • Have been issued a permit by the DNR to hunt from a standing vehicle.
    • Have been issued a permit by the DNR to hunt using a laser-sighting device.
    • Be blind. “Blind” means an individual who has visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correction or has a limitation of his or her field or vision that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angular distance not greater than 20 degrees, as determined by the Commission of the Blind.
    • Be Deaf.
  • In areas where feeding is banned, you can feed birds and other wildlife if done in such a manner as to exclude wild, white-tailed deer and elk from gaining access to the feed. If a deer can eat the feed, that would be considered feeding deer and could be illegal depending on the area you are in.

    Effective January 31, 2019, deer and elk feeding is not allowed in the Lower Peninsula in an effort to prevent deer gathering around a food source, which increases the potential spread of CWD. We encourage you to use tube, hopper and suet bird feeders rather than putting seed directly on the ground or using platform feeders, which tend to attract deer and other unwanted guests. In addition, mess-free birdseed options are available to purchase at stores, which can help keep the ground clean. You can also prevent deer access to your feeders by fencing around your feeders, if possible.

  • Yes. In the core CWD surveillance area, a doe can be taken with a deer or deer combination license during archery deer hunting seasons. Additionally, hunters can purchase private or public land antlerless licenses for counties open to antlerless hunting to harvest an antlerless deer during archery deer seasons.

    See the 2020 Hunting Digest for antlerless season information in the remainder of the U.P.

  • Yes. Crossbows may be used during the late archery deer season (Dec. 1 – Jan. 1) in the core CWD surveillance area.

    In the remainder of the Upper Peninsula, hunters may NOT use a crossbow or a modified bow during the Dec. 1 - Jan. 1 late archery deer season and December muzzleloader deer season, unless the hunter is disabled and has a crossbow permit or special permit to take game with a modified bow.

  • Yes. Food-based scents can be used in areas where bait is banned, provided the product is not intended for consumption and is inaccessible to deer contact. 
     
    Under the previous definition of bait, any product from a plant or mineral designed to attract deer was considered illegal including scents, like apple, corn, acorn or other food-based scents. These products are considered low risk for potential disease transmission, so the recent change by the Natural Resources Commission now allows these products to be used as outlined in the paragraph above.?? 

    Natural cervid lures or attractants that contain or claim to contain cervid urine or other bodily fluids originating from cervids may not be used unless the products are produced by manufacturers that are actively enrolled and participating in either the official Responsible Hunting Scent Association or Archery Trade Association Deer Protection Program, which has been tested for the presence of chronic wasting disease by a qualified laboratory and certified that no detectable levels of chronic wasting disease are present and is clearly labeled as such. Synthetic cervid lures or attractants may be used. 

     

  • Natural cervid lures or attractants that contain or claim to contain cervid urine or other bodily fluids originating from cervids may not be used unless the products are produced by manufacturers that are actively enrolled and participating in either the official Responsible Hunting Scent Association or Archery Trade Association (ATA) Deer Protection Program, which has been tested for the presence of chronic wasting disease by a qualified laboratory and certified that no detectable levels of chronic wasting disease are present and is clearly labeled as such. Synthetic cervid lures or attractants may be used. 

  • Historically, the DNR has cut heads off nearly all deer that come in to check stations. In 2021, hunters are asked to cut deer heads off before coming to check stations if possible. If you would like to keep your antlers, please remove those from the head, but bring them with you when you visit a check station so that antler measurements can be taken.  

  • A 4-year-old doe has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. The deer was killed in Dickinson County’s Waucedah Township on a deer-damage shooting permit in September 2018 on an agricultural farm, about 4 miles from the Michigan-Wisconsin border. This event marks the first confirmation of chronic wasting disease in the Upper Peninsula.

  • CWD can be transmitted through direct animal-to-animal contact, or by contact with saliva, urine, feces, blood, and contaminated feed or water, carcass parts of an infected animal, contaminated plants or soil.

  • There is a purchase limit of 10 universal antlerless licenses per hunter in this area. 

  • Please be aware that test results may require additional processing time this year. Available results will be posted at www.michigan.gov/dnrlab. If CWD is found in a submitted deer, the hunter will be notified by phone. If CWD is not found, the test result will be posted online. 

  • The tag stays with the carcass for possession/processing. If the head is missing from the carcass and a CO can’t identify the sex of the animal, then questions arise if there is not a stub or proof that the animal was submitted for testing at the check station. With proof of submission, suspicion decreases. We know this has been an issue in the past and are working on ways to remedy this, but the standard recommendation is to bring the entire animal to check station, or if just transporting the head after the meat has been processed, bring the tag along with the head.

  • Not at this time. The DNR’s primary focus for response is stepped-up testing and active surveillance to determine the extent of potentially infected deer. Mandatory deer checks may be required if enough heads are not collected for testing through voluntary deer checks and other means of collection, like road-killed deer.

  • Only four species of the deer family are known to be susceptible to CWD: elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer and moose. Research to date has not provided evidence that domestic animals can be infected with CWD under real-world exposure conditions.

  • It is not recommended to eat the meat from known CWD infected animals or to feed it to domestic animals. Hunters in CWD areas are advised to debone their meat and dispose of the bones, especially the spine, by recommended methods (see above).

  • Deer and elk baiting and feeding is prohibited in the core CWD surveillance area in the Upper Peninsula. The core CWD surveillance area includes portions of Menominee, Dickinson and Delta counties. This zone surrounds the farm where a deer tested positive for the deadly disease in October 2018. 

    Exception: 

    Hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements may use not more than 2 gallons at a time of bait in the CWD surveillance area during the Liberty and Independence hunts. Baiting for the Liberty and Independence Hunts may begin five days before the hunts begin.  

    What is this exception? To qualify as an individual, you must fit one of the following criteria:

    • Be a veteran who has been determined to have 100-percent disability or is rated as individually unemployable by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
    • Have been issued a permit by the DNR to hunt from a standing vehicle.
    • Have been issued a permit by the DNR to hunt using a laser-sighting device.
    • Be blind. “Blind” means an individual who has visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correction or has a limitation of his or her field or vision that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angular distance not greater than 20 degrees, as determined by the Commission of the Blind.
    • Be Deaf.
  • In the CWD management zone, you can now use any legal firearm during muzzleloader season.

  • Check stations will have posted hours. Drop boxes are available for use at any time. Instructions for submission will be provided. You should be able to provide the following information: when the animal was harvested, exact location (preferably the county, township, range, and section), phone number and contact info of the submitting hunter.

  • The likelihood of cross-contamination is extremely small.  If the entire deer is brought in, the likelihood of cross-contamination is virtually nonexistent since the samples tested are at the base of the head and protected by the cape and muscle tissue of the animal. 

  • A deer harvested in Montcalm County in its entirety, Otisco, Orleans, Ronald, or North Plains Townships in Ionia County or Nelson, Spencer, Courtland, Oakfield, Grattan or Cannon Townships in Kent County cannot be possessed or transported outside of those listed areas, unless:

    • The harvested deer is deboned meat, quarters or other parts of a cervid that do not have any   part of the spinal column or head attached, antlers, antlers attached to a skull or skull cap cleaned of all brain and muscle tissue, hides, upper canine teeth, or a finished taxidermist mount OR;
    • The deer carcass is taken directly to a registered processor; AND/OR
    • The intact deer head detached from the carcass is taken directly to a licensed taxidermist.
  • There is no treatment or recovery; it is always fatal. CWD on the landscape will, over time, significantly reduce the number of deer and/or depress older age classes, especially mature bucks. Therefore, CWD will negatively impact Michigan’s hunting traditions. Michigan has about 600,000 deer hunters who harvest about 430,000 deer annually. Hunting generates more than $2.3 billion annually to Michigan’s economy. Without preventive management of CWD, the disease may become established across the state.

    • All wild deer, except fawns, positively confirmed to be from inside a county with a confirmed case of CWD shall not be possessed unless:
       
      •       ❱ Euthanized and sent or taken at the earliest possible time to the wildlife disease laboratory by direct arrangement with the wildlife disease laboratory or by arrangement with a local conservation officer, or
      •       ❱ Obtained by a permittee located inside a county with a confirmed case of CWD who humanely euthanizes the animal within 24 hours of receipt.
    • All wild fawns positively confirmed to be from inside a county with a confirmed case of CWD shall be possessed and released only if the capture and release point of the wild fawn is within a 10-mile radius of a licensed permittee.
    • All deer, except fawns, located outside of a confirmed county with CWD shall not be possessed unless:
       
      •       ❱ Euthanized and sent or taken at the earliest possible time to the wildlife disease laboratory by direct arrangement with the wildlife disease laboratory or by arrangement with a local conservation officer, or
      •       ❱ Obtained by a permittee located outside of a county with a confirmed case of CWD who humanely euthanizes the animal within 24 hours of receipt.
    • All wild fawns located outside of a confirmed county with CWD shall not be moved to a county with a confirmed case of CWD and shall only be released in the county of origin.
    • All deer shall be released by October 1.
  • You can only bring back the following:

    • Hides
    • Deboned meat
    • Quarters or other parts of the cervid that do not have any part of the spinal column or head attached
    • Finished taxidermy products
    • Cleaned teeth
    • Antlers attached to a skullcap cleaned of brain and muscle tissue

    If you are notified by another state or province that a deer, elk, or moose you brought into Michigan has CWD, contact the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory within two business days at 517-336-5030 and provide details.

  • The early and late antlerless firearm deer seasons are open on privately owned lands in all mainland Deer Management Units in the Lower Peninsula.
  • Infected animals may not show any symptoms of the disease for a long period of time, even years. The later stages of the disease in infected animals include loss of body condition, change in behavior such as a loss of fear of humans, loss of bodily control or movements, and excessive drooling.

  • Chronic wasting disease or CWD is a fatal central nervous system disease found in cervids (deer, elk, and moose). It is caused by small proteinaceous particles called prions that attack the brain of infected animals, creating small lesions, which result in death.

    • In Mecosta, Montcalm and Ionia counties within the CWD core area, during all deer seasons, you can use a single deer license or combination license to harvest a doe or a buck with four points on a side. 

    • In the remainder of the CWD management area, during all deer seasons, you can use a single deer license or combination license to harvest a doe. Also, hunters can purchase universal antlerless licenses  to harvest  antlerless deer during all deer seasons. 

  • Accurately document the location of the animal. Contact your local DNR Wildlife Office to report it or after business hours contact Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. Do not contact, disturb, kill, or remove the animal without DNR permission.

  • Off-site disposal (preferred)

    • Take directly to an appropriate landfill or use your regular trash pick-up that will be taken to the landfill.

    On-site disposal

    • If necessary to bury the carcass, do so as close to the kill site as possible and deep enough to prevent scavengers digging it up.
    • This method does not prevent future infections on that location but minimizes the chance of moving CWD prions across the landscape to areas that have not been infected.
  • The Liberty Hunt will be Sept. 11-12, 2021. This hunt is for youth and hunters with qualifying disabilities. The early antlerless season is a separate season and is Sept. 18-19, 2021.

  • A 19-county CWD management zone has been created, which includes: Barry, Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Lenawee, Mecosta, Midland, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa, and Shiawassee counties.

    A 5-county CWD core area has been created, which includes Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm and Newaygo counties.

  • Locations include DNR deer check stations, partnering meat processors and taxidermists, and DNR drop boxes. More information can be found at michigan.gov/deercheck.

  • Although the origin of CWD is unknown, it was first recognized in captive mule deer at wildlife research facilities in Colorado during the late 1960s. CWD was not actually identified as a Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy or TSE until the 1970s.

  • Since May 2015 when the first CWD deer was found in Michigan, CWD has been confirmed in free-ranging white-tailed deer in the Lower Peninsula from Clinton, Ionia, Ingham, Jackson, Kent, Gratiot, Eaton, and Montcalm counties. In October 2018, a CWD positive deer was found in the Upper Peninsula in Dickinson County. CWD has also been found in four different privately-owned deer facilities: Kent County (2008), Mecosta County (2017 and 2018) and Montcalm County (2019).

  • View the USGS map for locations of CWD in North America. 

  • There are portions of the state where baiting is still allowed (in the Upper Peninsula, outside the Core CWD Surveillance Area) and hunters with disabilities are still allowed to use bait during the Liberty and Independence hunts.

  • Most researchers and biologists agree that anything that congregates animals will increase the likelihood of disease transmission. Please see the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Technical Report on Best Management Practices for Prevention, Surveillance, and Management of Chronic Wasting Disease for further details.

     

  • Processors make their own decisions on how to process venison. Some wait to process until test results are returned, others move forward with processing. That decision is between the processor and the hunter.