DNR

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.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources doesn’t have enough people out in the field to keep an eye on everything in nature, so it relies on hunters, hikers, anglers, and activists to report things that are out of the ordinary.

But there was a problem with the department’s method of getting that information: red tape. The DNR had 15 different observation forms.

But now, there's an app for that.

David Cassleman

State officials want hunters to shoot more deer in northeastern Lower Michigan – a lot more. Infected deer in this area spread a disease called bovine tuberculosis. It can kill cows, and it can be passed to people through unpasteurized milk.

Before Europeans arrived in Michigan, “moose were pretty much all over” the state, said Rachel Clark of the Michigan History Center.

After that arrival, the moose population declined as settlers began over-hunting the animal and damaging its habitat.

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.

City of Gaylord

Wildlife officials say the elk population in northern Michigan is stable.

The state Department of Natural Resources uses two small airplanes to count the elk herd near Gaylord. This year, DNR estimates the herd at about 1,300 elk. That compares to about 1,000 elk in 2012.

Biologists say wild elk had disappeared from Michigan in the late 1800s. The elk herd that can be found today is descended from seven elk that were released in 1918.

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.

You might’ve heard about cougars being spotted in Michigan. There are also cougars out west and there’s the Florida panther. But what we’re talking about here is something called the eastern cougar.

Michigan Radio

Fisheries managers in Michigan are enlisting fishermen in the fight against Asian carp infestation. The state Department of Natural Resources is asking anglers to inspect their live bait for juvenile Asian carp.

The small fish look very similar to minnows and other common types of bait but their eyes are set lower on their bodies. DNR Resources Manager Nick Popoff says their eyes are “sub-terminal.”

As April approaches, the chance for wildfires increases. Most Michigan wildfires occur in April, May or June with few a few minor fires happening throughout the rest of summer and into fall.

Wildfire prevention specialist with the Department of Natural Resources Dan Laux says this spring is already shaping up to be warmer and drier than those in the past. The snow melting so early may mean wildfire season could come sooner, but with the ground remaining damp for a while, Laux isn't too concerned.