Last fall the Natural Resources Commission and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources brought together experts on CWD from around the country (and world) to review the latest in science and management principles on CWD. Other states have enacted policies that include: changes in hunting regulations; restrictions or bans on deer carcasses from other states; baiting and feeding bans to prevent deer-to-deer contact that spreads the disease; banning urine-based lures which are thought to spread the disease; and banning live cervid movement from out-of-state.
A multi-disciplinary working group, which included an MUCC representative, took that information to make recommendations to the NRC about deer management in Michigan. Dr. Kelly Straka of the DNR Wildlife Division and Dr. James Averill of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development presented the recommendations of the nine-member CWD Working Group at the most recent NRC meeting. The group met three times and developed five overarching recommendations to the NRC and the department:
- Pursue the help of an outside marketing agency to develop messaging for Michigan’s vision for CWD surveillance and management.
- Form a consortium of states and provinces to seek federal, state and private funding to share research on CWD surveillance methods, diagnostic tools, transmission pathways and management practices.
- Work cooperatively with the Agriculture and Rural Development Commission to assess the effectiveness and direction of privately owned cervid facilities, with an emphasis on biosecurity and CWD risk factors.
- Continue to employ a science-based strategy for CWD management.
- Develop statewide, science-based management plans based on regional prevalences of CWD.
The full Working Group report can be found online. Over the next five to six months, the commission and department will engage stakeholders and the public to use these focus areas to develop CWD management recommendations. Action is expected from the commission this summer.
MUCC intends to be a driving force to protect our wild deer from CWD and contain it in the areas where it has already been found, which will include but is not limited to implementing the recommendations regarding a deer baiting and feeding ban, increased regulations and enforcement on captive cervids, and ensuring adequate funding for monitoring and management efforts.