DNR checking deer at rest area

BIG RAPIDS — The DNR was keeping busy with various check stations on Friday including one at the rest stop south of Big Rapids, off of U.S. 131.

Hunters were coming in and having their deer checked. The station is also open today.

Among the individuals working with the DNR was retired wildlife biologist Jeff Greene. Among his duties was checking the deer’s teeth.

“We age these deer by the wear and the replacement of the teeth,” Greene said. “This deer (he was working on) has all its adult teeth and one year’s worth of wear on the premolar. So it’s a two-year-old buck.”

Supervising the operation was DNR wildlife biologist Karen Cleveland. As of mid-afternoon on Friday, there were less than 100 deer checked.

“I’m hoping we’ll see what we did last year,” she said. “Last year we saw about over 200 deer in two days. When they come in, we take biological data. So we’re aging the deer coming through. We are monitoring deer in this area for Chronic Wasting disease. We’re taking quite a few heads from the surveillance area for (CWD) testing.

“Our lab is staying really busy for heads coming in. We started off a little slow (Friday) morning. I picked up after lunch. But the fact we got this (wintry) weather…For the opener..we’re optimistic we’ll see some nice numbers coming through Big Rapids. There’s some good-looking deer coming in.”            

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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