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August 19 • 04:38 PM
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Baiting, feeding deer banned by DNR


State's first case of Chronic Wasting Disease reported in Kent County



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August 27, 2008
TRI-CITY AREA — Whether you like to hunt whitetail deer or feed them in your backyard, things will be very different this season.

After Tuesday's confirmation by the Michigan DNR of the state's first case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a three-year-old whitetail deer from a Kent County breeding facility, an immediate ban on baiting and feeding of deer and elk in the Lower Peninsula has been issued.

According to the DNR, bait and feed sites increase the chances of contamination through the feces of infected animals.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose, the DNR says in a press release. Early cases were reported in western states, the press release states, but the disease has spread to some midwestern states.

"Infected animals display abnormal behaviors, progressive weight loss and physical debilitation," the press release states.

According to the DNR, the disease is spread through saliva and other fluids, and animals may become infected through direct contact to those fluids or from contaminated environments.

"Once contaminated, research suggests that soil can remain a source of infection for long periods of time, making CWD a particularly difficult disease to eradicate," the DNR press release states.

In addition to the baiting and feeding ban, the DNR has prohibited the transport of live wild deer, elk and moose statewide. Additional measures include a mandatory deer check for hunters who take deer in Tyrone, Solon, Nelson, Sparta, Algoma, Courtland, Alpine, Plainfield and Cannon townships.

"The DNR currently is seeking locations for additional deer check stations in the area to make it more convenient for hunters," the press release states. "To prevent unintentional spread of CWD, the only parts of deer harvested in the surveillance zone that will be allowed to be transported out will be boned meat, capes, and antlers cleaned of all soft tissues."

While devastating to the deer population, the DNR says there's no evidence that CWD poses any threat to humans.

Pick up the Sept. 3 print edition of the Tri-City Times for more information, including the impact the baiting and feeding ban will have on the local economy.

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Van Dyke Gas
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