deer

Jack Boyd

State biologists are asking the public for help combating a fatal disease that threatens deer. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is holding public hearings about chronic wasting disease (CWD) in April and May.

“CWD is one of the biggest threats – that we have long-term – to the sustainability of our deer herd,” says Chad Stewart, deer management specialist at the DNR.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

State officials are holding a special deer hunt in Alpena County in early January. It’s an effort to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis in northeastern Lower Michigan.

 Chad Stewart with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says hunters can shoot antlerless deer only – and can only hunt on private land.

Jack Boyd

A doe with chronic wasting disease has been found at a deer farm in Mecosta County. The fatal, neurological disease can be found in deer, elk and moose.

The number of deer thought to be infected with CWD tripled this fall, bringing the tally to 30 cases. Seventeen suspected cases were found in Montcalm County around hunting season. The deer farm's infected doe is the northernmost confirmed case so far. 

Jack Boyd

Cases of chronic wasting disease have been slowly increasing among deer in Michigan. Before hunting season this fall, there were nine cases of the disease. Now that number has risen to 30 suspected cases.

Sam Corden

It could be a more productive year for deer hunters in Michigan. The state Department of Natural Resources projects the deer harvest will go up this year compared to 2016, due to a milder winter. 

It's October, and deer are in the mood for love. That means Michigan drivers are at greater risk of hitting a deer. October through December is mating season for deer, so they're extra active and on the move.

Hunters oppose Ann Arbor's plan to sterilize deer

Jan 13, 2017
Sam Corden

Large urban deer populations have become an issue for many cities in Michigan, but finding a solution to that problem has proven to be complex.

Hunting groups typically advocate for hunting rights within city limits to curb deer numbers, but members of some communities have shown a distaste for this approach.

Last month, we heard how an abundance of deer is reshaping the forests in northern Michigan. Deer are eliminating trees like maple, oak and cedar in many places.

The trees can’t reproduce because any seedling that sprouts up is eaten.

Today, we visit a forest in Leelanau County where a conservation group has taken an unusual step to address the problem.

What hungry deer mean for Michigan's northern forests

Nov 10, 2016

With the start of firearm season next Tuesday, hunters will spread out across Michigan in search of white-tailed deer. Long, cold winters in the recent past have not helped deer thrive up north, particularly in the Upper Peninsula.

But foresters and conservation groups say there are still far too many deer in northern Michigan, and they are creating severe problems for forests.

Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer.

The State Department of Natural Resources is concerned about the spread of CWD through Michigan's deer population. 

Aaron Selbig

For 70 years, locals and tourists in Harbor Springs have enjoyed the town’s deer park, where a small herd of deer live inside a two-acre, fenced-in enclosure.

But a few years ago, activists began an effort to shut the park down. They say the city’s methods of controlling the herd are inhumane and unethical.


Amy Beth Edwards posed this question to our M I Curious team:

Why doesn't road kill get picked up on a timely basis in Michigan?

Edwards says she sees dead animals so often along her commutes to Chicago that she had to know why they're all there.

US Fish and Wildlife Service

State biologists hope that feedback from deer hunters will tell them if Chronic Wasting Disease has spread in Michigan. The state Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters to be on the lookout for deer that have the disease. Symptoms include emaciation, drooling and a lack of fear.

Deer biologist Chad Stewart says successful hunters will have their deer tested for the disease at DNR check stations.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan hunters brought home 15 percent fewer deer last year than they did in 2013. A report from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources blames the decline on bad weather and depleted populations in some areas.

Deer Management Specialist Chad Stewart says the Upper Peninsula was particularly hard hit.

“They’re coming off two extremely severe winters that really dropped the deer herd down and then they are dealing with a pretty high predator load up there, as well, that … keep numbers suppressed,” says Stewart.

Last week, state officials confirmed they found chronic wasting disease in a wild deer for the first time. Michigan now joins 22 states and two Canadian provinces where the disease has been found.

A serious health threat to state’s wild deer population has been detected in mid-Michigan. 

A six-year-old doe found in Haslett last month has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. 

The neurological disease is always fatal.  The disease is transmitted through saliva and other bodily fluids.   The disease is fatal to deer, elk and moose. 

Ken Bosma

The deer herd in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is so depleted the state is even talking about closing the firearm season this year. It’s just one option listed in a report to the Natural Resources Commission about possible responses to the situation.

Wildlife biologists estimate the population of deer in the UP is at its lowest level in 30 years. Extremely cold winters, particularly in 2014, are to blame, according to the report.

A recent community meeting in Ann Arbor illustrates a challenge urban areas throughout Michigan are facing: deer. Specifically, deer that are a road hazard or destroy parks and gardens.

Ann Arborites heard details of lethal or non-lethal ways to control the deer population.

A biologist from the city of Rochester Hills described his city's non-lethal program, relying on better road signage and much more community education.