New Rule: Deer Baiting Banned To Curb Disease

IMAGE: Florida Fish and Wildlife, CC BY-ND 2.0

New rules for 2018 deer season

| Will they help stop fatal deer disease from jumping to hunters? 

| John Hogan, WZZM | LANSING, Mich. – Stepped-up efforts to stop the spread of a deadly disease among Michigan’s white-tailed deer population includes a ban on baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula.

The baiting ban is the most visible of several deer hunting regulations approved this week by the Natural Resources Commission for the upcoming deer season and into 2019.

The ban on baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula takes effect Jan. 31, 2019, with an exception for hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements.

Commissioners also approved an immediate ban in 16 counties. They are Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa and Shiawassee counties.

“We feel that baiting and feeding can exacerbate spread of the disease, so we want to take precautionary steps and move forward with the baiting and feeding ban at this time,’’ said Chad Stewart, a deer specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Thursday’s action does not prohibit businesses and farmers from selling bait.

CWD is a neurological disease that attacks the brains of affected animals, eventually leading to death. It is commonly spread by contact with other infected deer, including through nose-to-nose contact.

CWD was confirmed at a Kent County deer farm in 2008. Seven years later, the disease was discovered in free-ranging deer. To date, chronic wasting disease has been confirmed in 60 free-ranging deer in six Michigan counties: Clinton, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm.

Michigan residents have long set out bait, notably carrots, apples and sugar beets, to attract deer. Stewart says the baiting ban is necessary because chronic wasting disease can be spread from one animal to another. Read the full story at WZZM13. 

Can chronic wasting disease jump from deer to humans? Concerns keep rising

Journal-Sentinel – Amid renewed concern about whether chronic wasting disease can jump from deer to people, a fatal human brain condition in the same family is showing up more often in Wisconsin and nationally.

It’s happening as state testing for the deer disease is down, and hunters routinely opt not to test deer killed in affected zones.

In 2002, the year CWD was discovered in Wisconsin, six cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease were recorded, according to the state Department of Health Services. In two of the last four years, 13 cases have been recorded. That’s a 117% increase.

Nationally, there also has been an increase in cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob. In 2002, there were 260 cases, compared with 481 in 2015, an 85% increase, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob is closely related to the form of mad cow disease that infected people, primarily in Great Britain, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, after they ate beef from infected cows. Indeed, human mad cow disease is known as variant-Creutzfeldt-Jakob. Both diseases attack the brain, and death usually occurs within a year.

The increase in Wisconsin comes as chronic wasting disease — which, like Creutzfeldt-Jakob, is caused by infectious agents known as prions — continues to spread among deer. Like its human counterparts, CWD also attacks the brain and is always fatal.

In Wisconsin, it appeared initially to be confined to a core area of western Dane County and eastern Iowa County. Today, there are 18 counties where CWD has been found in the wild deer population, according to state figures. Nationally, CWD is known to exist in at least 21 states … Read the full story at Journal-Sentinel. 

PREVIOUSLY: What’s Killing U.S. Deer Hunters? 

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