PROOS: Combating chronic wasting disease

Michigan has adopted new regulations and laws aimed at stopping the spread of chronic wasting disease — a deadly neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose.

CWD poses a serious threat to our deer population and a hunting industry that supports our outdoor recreation operations and contributes roughly $2.3 billion annually to our economy.

The disease first was discovered in Michigan in a free-ranging deer in 2015. To date, more than 31,000 deer in Michigan have been tested for CWD, and it has been confirmed in 60 deer. There is no cure, and an infected deer can live with CWD for years and spread it through contact with other animals.

The new rules include limits on lures, a ban on baiting and feeding in an expanded 16-county CWD Management Zone, restrictions on transporting deer carcasses in some counties and expanded deer hunting in the zone.

The management zone starts in Hillsdale County and travels north to Calhoun County and the Lansing area and then west to Lake Michigan through Kent and Ottawa counties.

While regular firearm season in Michigan starts on Nov. 15, people can begin hunting deer in Indiana reduction zones on Sept. 15 and as a part of our state’s liberty and early antlerless hunts on Sept. 22-23.

I want to remind area hunters that state law now prohibits hunters from bringing certain parts of an animal carcass into Michigan from out of state. The law was enacted to guard against exposing our Michigan deer to CWD brought in from out-of-state sources.

The law exempts certain parts that do not pose a risk for CWD, such as hides, deboned meat, finished taxidermy products and antlers.

For more information on CWD and the new regulations, visit michigan.gov/cwd. Hunting guides, featuring all current rules, can be found at michigan.gov/hunting.

I encourage hunters to help stop this devastating disease, preserve our wild game population and protect our hunting heritage by having their deer checked. Check stations can be found at .michigan.gov/deercheck.

JOHN PROOS, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties. 

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