Why this deer disease could change the way Americans hunt forever
DETROIT — Despite rain and snow, thousands of Michigan hunters dragged their
deer to check stations to be tested for chronic wasting disease — a condition that comes from the same family as “mad cow” disease.
“I was amazed that we had 150 deer come through the check station on the first day of gun season in Montcalm County,” said Chad Stewart, Michigan Department of Natural Resources deer specialist. “Given the Wednesday opener and the bad weather, I was blown away.”
Dollars generated from deer licenses and hunting-related purchases bring in millions in matching funds for habitat restoration and endangered species. They also help fund the testing for CWD, a demon of a disease that has been identified in 11 free-ranging Michigan deer and is feared to be on the verge of crossing over to humans. It just might alter the way we hunt forever.
“When they look back on the history of deer management in Michigan, these years will be considered pivotal to the culture of deer hunting,” said Stewart. “I don’t want people to think it’s a death sentence for deer management.
“For now, there will be changes and additional restrictions. Change is hard to adapt to.”
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