Due to the incidence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) identified in core Michigan counties, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, Mecosta County and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services began a program to sample the white-tailed deer population in Mecosta County for CWD. Unfortunately, this spongy degeneration of the brains of infected deer can only be determined by testing the harvested brain tissue of deer for the presence of the disease. Both private and public landowners are participating in the sampling of deer frequenting their property. The Chippewa Watershed Conservancy was one of the public landowners requested for help in isolating and determining the extent of the disease within this local population.
These studies will take place within a 5-county CWD Management Zone. Samples are collected through road-kill pickup and with sharpshooters from the US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services. The majority of the latest deer testing positive have been identified through this program.
The Quigley Creek Natural Area will therefore be closed to our user public after dark during the month of February. At this time, we do not anticipate that the Peterson Natural Area will undergo closure to the public, as this area has not been identified for use in the study.
We ask your cooperation in assisting the DNR and the USDA in identifying the extent of this problem by respecting the completion of the project, and refraining from entering the Natural Area during the harvest hours. If you are a private landowner and would like to participate in the program, please contact the DNR Rose Lake field office at 517-641-4092 or contact the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory at 517-336-5030.
The DNR provides CWD biweekly updates online at www.michigan.gov/cwd
For more information about Chronic Wasting Disease affecting local populations, see http://www.wsjm.com/2017/01/21/chronic-wasting-disease-found-in-two-central-michigan-deer/
For further information about CWD and its variants, please see http://cwd-info.org/faq/