Skip to main content

Landowners and Wildlife Viewers

Landowners

  • Landowners are a critical partner in managing CWD as many of Michigan's deer, elk, and moose live and thrive on private land.
  • Landowner stewardship of wildlife and its habitat has produced sanctuaries for the state’s deer, elk, and moose herds. We depend on landowner partners to help ensure that CWD does not gain a foothold on Michigan's private lands.

Wildlife Watchers, Photographers and all Michigan Residents

  • Keep getting out there and enjoying Michigan's wildlife viewing.
  • As avid wildlife observers you can help be our eyes and ears on the ground.
  • You can help curb CWD by reporting sick deer, elk, and moose you may encounter.
  • Food plots are considered a normal agricultural practice and distinct from baiting. They are legal throughout Michigan.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.