An infected deer with chronic wasting disease was discovered a few months ago in Michigan forests, raising concern among wildlife officials.
Therefore, the deer hunting season has been hotly debated as for whether the hunters should be allowed to use bait to attract the deer. CWD is a deadly neurological disorder, which cannot be cured.
Once entered in an environment, this disease spreads quickly and becomes impossible to eradicate. The only way to prevent it from spreading is to kill the infected deer. The wildlife officials are worried that if the bait becomes widely used, it will attract too many white-tailed deer, thus facilitating the spread of chronic wasting disease.
Also, the authorities discovered another deer infected with CWD a few miles from the border of the Upper Peninsula in Wisconsin. The problem is that over 500,000 hunters will most likely want to buy a hunting license for the firearms deer hunting season, which will take place in Michigan’s farmlands and woodlands.
In addition, other 100,000 are expected to hunt in the muzzleloader or archery season. This period is prolific for farmers, gas stations, and many stores throughout Michigan because they will sell bait to every hunter.
According to James DeDecker, one of the agricultural educators for Michigan States University, estimating the impact of the bait industry on the local economy is difficult. However, he believes that farmers increase their income by selling bait to hunters.
Many of these farmers have grown crops such as corn and sugar beets, the white-tailed deer’s favorite food. Wildlife officials warn the public that CWD doesn’t infect just deer but also other species, including moose and elk.
CWD attacks the brain of the infected animal leading to a slow and painful death. Compared to other diseases caused by viruses or bacteria, CWD spreads through prions, which are mutated proteins.
The white-tailed deer get infected through contact with saliva and animal feces. Common symptoms include listlessness, excessive salivation, teeth grinding, and loss of appetite. In the end, the animal becomes emaciated and dies.
Hunters who harvest a deer in the CWD Management Zone must bring the carcass for testing at the closest DNR check station. These stations are opened every day during the firearms hunting season.
Also, hunters must be aware of any display of odd behavior related to chronic wasting disease and immediately report them.
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