LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) — If you harvest a deer this fall, Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to bring the full deer carcass or deer head to a Michigan DNR check station for free chronic wasting disease testing.
Regular firearms season starts Monday and runs through the end of November.
If you take a deer in Allegan, Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Eaton, Gratiot, southern Isabella, Hillsdale, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Joseph, Washtenaw and Wayne counties, or if you harvest a deer in the core CWD surveillance area in the Upper Peninsula (portions of Dickinson, Menominee and Delta counties), you should bring your deer head to a DNR check station.
CWD is a deadly neurological disorder that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose.
The DNR is beginning a five-year process of strategic surveillance to identify exactly where the disease is by testing deer heads around the state. This year, testing will be happening mainly in the southernmost three tiers of Michigan counties. Over the next four years, the remainder of the state will be systematically sampled.
Deer harvested in Clinton, Dickinson, Ingham, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties can be tested for CWD for free through the DNR from Nov. 15 to Nov. 18 only. U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved lab testing is available for hunters in these areas at any time for a fee. Visit Michigan.gov/CWD and click on “For Hunters” for information about USDA-approved labs conducting CWD testing.
Again this year, deer check station operations will look different than in years before the coronavirus pandemic. Hunters can expect extra measures to be in place to protect the health and safety of all. Hunters are required to wear masks at check stations and remember social distancing guidelines, staying 6 feet away from other individuals. You will be asked to remain in your vehicle at most check stations.
When submitting a deer head for CWD testing at a DNR check station, come prepared with information about the county, township, range and section where your deer was harvested. The deer head should also be removed, with 2 to 3 inches of the neck remaining. 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 antler measurements can be taken.
For more information on finding the closest DNR deer check station to you, click here.