Gratiot is one of two counties added to the list of chronic wasting infection sites in Michigan, after a deer killed this hunting season was tested positive.
This is the first time that a deer in Gratiot County is suffering from the disease; Eaton County has also just been added to the list of infections, according to a press release from the Department of Natural Resources.
Until now, 18 other animals from this hunting season are suspected to be positive for CWD.
Earlier this season, cases of chronic wasting were confirmed in Clinton, Dickinson, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm Counties, according to the DNR.
The Gratiot County infected deer was a 4-year-old kid killed in Pine River Township and tested for CWD by the hunter, one of more than 16,000 deer tested to date. now this year.
This Gratiot deer season is one of 16 counties included in a chronic wasting disease management area, after deer from nearby Montcalm County have been tested positive.
Other counties in the Management Zone include Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa and Shiawassee.
For hunters, this means that any deer killed in these counties can only be taken out of the county when it has been fully processed – no meat on the bones and no brain matter or teeth – or a head or a complete carcass was presented within 24 hours. a control station, according to the MNR website.
Despite the "strong participation" of hunters in the various areas of mass destruction, DNR officials say that some counties, including Gratiot, Isabella, Jackson and Kent, have been tested for "hunted by hunters", below the targets set this year.
"I continue to be impressed by the hunters' commitment to the health of the Michigan deer, and I want to re-emphasize the importance of the actions of all hunters," said Chad Stewart, deer and elk specialist, DNR. "It is only through the assistance of hunters that we have found MDC in new areas (…), we strongly encourage hunters in these areas to have their cervids checked."
To continue the fight against CWD, Stewart recommends that hunters:
• continue to hunt during December deer season
• Check their deer
• Throw the leftovers in the trash
• If possible, take additional measures in the Lower Peninsula blood pressure zones
The deer checkpoints and drop boxes will remain open throughout the remaining hunting seasons until early January. The locations and times of the control stations are available at michigan.gov/deercheck.
Updated test results are available at michigan.gov/cwd.
To date, no case of MDC infection has been reported. However, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that infected animals should not be eaten as food by humans or pets.