Deer check station encourages hunters to share harvest information

The local deer check station encourages hunters to send the deer for testing, which will check for CWD. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

The local deer check station encourages hunters to send the deer for testing, which will check for CWD. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — With deer hunting season underway, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is encouraging local hunters to support their efforts for improving the health of Michigan’s deer herd.

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Natural Resources branch is hosting a local check station, which will gather information about the local deer herd.

The check station is located at 310 Ninth Street in Manistee, and will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the month.

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is providing a deer check station for local hunters where they will collect data on the local deer population. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is providing a deer check station for local hunters where they will collect data on the local deer population. (Jane Bond/News Advocate)

Bob Sanders, LRBOI conservation department biologist, said the check station opened after a several year hiatus due to the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) within the state.

“We determine the location of where the deer was harvested, we age it based on the teeth wear, and if it’s antlered we measure them and count the number of points or we see if the doe was lactating or not,” he said. “We also encourage people to send it in to get tested for CWD.”

Sanders said the state can also test for bovine tuberculosis, although the disease is not common in this area.

“We collect the same info that the state DNR does and they provide us with the tags that go with the deer head to get tested,” he said. “We send them all down to Lansing to the lab there.”

He felt that the station fills a need in the community.

“There was kind of a gap in check stations here. We wanted to get a better handle on surveillance here for CWD and get a better handle to make sure it hasn’t spread out of Newaygo County up this way,” said Sanders.

He said it is important to monitor the diseased population due to the potential risk to humans.

“We don’t know for sure if humans can contract CWD or not,” he said. “We don’t think they can, but there is evidence that there is a potential. The FDA advises not to eat deer infected with CWD.”

Sanders urges hunters to report to check stations or the DNR if they see a deer with signs of illness.

“If they observe a deer they suspect is infected, they can give us a call and we’d be more than happy to go out and look at it, and the DNR will do the same,” he said. “If it is showing the signs, the animal would be put down by a conservation officer and will be sent for testing.”

According the the DNR, deer with the disease can be thin and show abnormal behavior such as loss of fear of humans, lowered head or excessive drooling.

Complete hours for the LRBOI check station and a map listing of other stations in the area can be found at www.midnr.com.

For more information, call (231) 723-1594.

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