The buck, who didn't exhibit any fear of humans before it was killed, was turned over to the DNR for testing. Officials don't believe the animal had chronic wasting disease. photo by Michigan DNR photo.
December 19, 2018ATTICA TWP. — State wildlife officials say they don't suspect a sick deer found in Attica earlier this month had chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Holly Vaughn, wildlife communications coordinator with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said the official necropsy report is pending but the "likelihood was pretty low" that the animal had the fatal nervous systems disease, noting that no animals in or around Lapeer County have been found with the disease.
Vaughn said it's likely that the animal suffered some kind of trauma to cause its unusual behavior.
The buck was killed by a Lapeer County Sheriff's deputy and turned over to DNR officials on December 3.
The animal was first spotted near a residential area on Friday, Nov. 30 by a Washington St. resident.
A deputy responded to the scene that afternoon and spotted the animal. It didn't appear to have any obvious injuries and was able to walk around and eat but it did not show any fear toward people.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources was notified.
On Monday, Dec. 3, police responded to the vicinity again when a Peppermill Rd. resident contacted police to say the deer, still apparently sick, was in the area of Washington St. and Peppermill Rd.
Another deputy found the animal near the backyard of a home in the 200 block of Washington St. He reported the deer was still acting odd and had no fear of humans.
At that time, DNR officials asked the deputy to put down the deer if conditions allowed. The deputy dispatched one round and a DNR officer from Genesee County came to the scene to retrieve the animal's body.
According to the DNR's website, CWD attacks the brain of infected animals creating small lesions in the brain, which result in death. Besides deer, moose and elk can also contract the disease.
Infected animals don't always exhibit symptoms of the disease soon after contracting it. In its later stages, chronic wasting disease is often evident by loss of body condition, behavior changes such as a loss of fear of humans, loss of bodily control or movements and excessive drooling and salivating.
Anyone who finds a sick or dead deer is asked to document the location of the animal and then contact their local DNR Wildlife Office to report it or after business hours contact Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.
"Do not contact, disturb, kill, or remove the animal without DNR permission," officials warn.
The first CWD-positive deer in Michigan was identified in May 2015. Since then the disease has been confirmed in free-ranging white-tailed deer in the Lower Peninsula from Clinton, Ionia, Ingham, Jackson, Kent, Gratiot, Eaton, and Montcalm counties. This October, a CWD positive deer was found in the Upper Peninsula in Dickinson County.
Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she and her family reside in the Capac area where she enjoys gardening and reading.