DNR wildlife biologist addresses audience

Pefe Kailing

BIG RAPIDS — The intriguing aspects of deer movement behavior and results of testing deer for Chronic Waste Disease, were the main topics in the address of Michigan DNR wildlife biologist Pete Kailing to nearly 80 individuals attending the 2019 Sportsman’s dinner on Monday.

The dinner, presented by the Pioneer Group and Hearst Midwest Media, was staged at Ferris State’s University Center.

On his deer movement presentation, Kailing noted deer movement behavior had focused on four areas with home range, excursion, migration and dispersal.

“The deer will go a long way,” Kailing said. “Excursion is kind of a new concept. These are deer that move anytime of the year. It would be for a few hours or a few weeks.

“This was kind of a surprise to our researchers. No one had any idea deer would be moving in the summer like this.”

The DNR, Kailing pointed out, had focused on three basic objectives: to assess movement and dispersal patterns and their influence on disease spread in and around Deer Management Unit 419 in Michigan; estimate population parameters and contact rates critical to assessing population dynamics and influences in disease transmission in and around CWD management zones in Michigan and to inform localized disease surveillance and management strategies considering movement behavior and population.

On CWD testing results, Kailing noted with deer, the DNR had a goal to test 1,670 deer. There were 1,982 tested with zero testing positive. There were 3,527 deer tested in Newaygo County with none testing positive.

“That’s awesome news,” Kailing said.

Montcalm County had 45 deer testing positive out of 4,007 tested. There were 1,523 tested in Kent County with nine testing positive.

Overall Kailing pointed out, there were 26,273 deer tested in a 20-county area with only 62 testing positive. Over 30,000 were tested statewide.

“That’s the most deer tested by a state agency ever in the history of the U.S.” Kailing. “We really looked hard for it. We really looked hard in where we found it last year, in Kent and Montcalm counties.”

Even in Montcalm county, the percentage testing positive was extremely low.

“That’s really good news,” Kailing said.

Kailing noted Michigan hunters contribute, according to a 2019 economic impact study from the Michigan United Conservation cub, $8.9 billion annually to Michigan’s economy. This includes jobs created, gear purchased, travel, motels, lease, companies, publishing and other areas.



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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