This is the first year any CWD-suspect free-ranging deer were found in Montcalm or Kent counties, according to the DNR release.
A mule deer buck shot by a hunter November 12 north of Chester near the Canadian border has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
From 2015 to 2016, a total of four deer (in DeWitt, Eagle and Watertown townships) in Clinton County tested positive.
So far in 2017, one deer has tested positive in Clinton County and no deer from Ingham County has tested positive. In Ingham County, five deer from Meridian Township tested positive from 2015 to 2016; since then, no deer from Ingham County have tested positive for CWD.
Most of the deer with the disease is in Montcalm County.
The DNR says finding this many deer so quickly is a major concern for the deer population.
The DNR said they set up management zones where the disease has been detected and have intensified surveillance in those zones. All deer taken by hunters in that area must be checked, while feeding and baiting deer there are prohibited. Currently, there is no general deer hunting season open near where the deer was harvested in HD 401.
The state Department of Natural Resources encourages hunters to bring their deer to check stations.
"Hunters are our best ally in understanding the magnitude of chronic wasting disease in MI", said Stewart.
CWD is deadly in deer, and can significantly hurt deer populations.
An incident command team defines an initial response area (IRA) around where an infected animal was harvested, and may recommend a special CWD hunt to collect enough samples to determine disease prevalence and distribution.
Though there is no evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, it is recommended to never ingest meat from animals that appear to be sick or are known to be CWD positive.
The DNR says anyone who harvests deer in Montcalm County should have their deer tested by bringing them to a deer check station. It is caused by the transmission of infectious, self-multiplying proteins (prions) contained in saliva and other body fluids of infected animals. Results are updated weekly.
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