Chronic Wasting Disease
What is it? - CWD is a disease that affects the nervous system of deer, moose, elk, and other members of the Cervidae family. Once infected, the disease creates small lesions in the brain of its victim and results in severe neurological symptoms. It is always fatal to the animals it infects, but it does not affect humans.
How does it spread? - CWD can be spread by an infected animal coming into contact with another animal, such as through saliva, urine, feces, blood, infected carcass parts, along with infected plants or infected soil.
What can you do about it? - Get any deer you hunt checked and tested, avoid long-distance movements with any deer carcasses, handle and dispose of your deer carcasses in a responsible way, if you hunt out of state make sure you only bring back allowed parts, and be sure to stay up to date with hunting regulations.
The impacts of Chronic Wasting Disease - CWD is always fatal and there is no cure for it as of the moment. If this disease spreads, it will drastically reduce the number of deer and/or depress older age classes (especially mature bucks). Because of this, CWD could negatively impact Michigan’s hunting traditions. Hunting is a huge part of Michigan’s economy, and generates more than $2.3 billion annually. If there is improper management or no major preventative actions against CWD, it may spread across the entire state and could cause immense damage to not only the wildlife in the area, but the economy as well.