CWD In Michigan, So What?

Ed H. from Michigan writes to ask about Chronic Wasting Disease. "They’ve found a deer on a game farm here in Michigan with CWD. What does that mean for our deer herd in the long run?"

Dr. Dave Samuel

Good question Ed, and I’m sure the game officials there wish they knew. But since no other deer on that game farm had CWD, it may not mean anything for now. Of course, the mere finding of a CWD animal triggered your state response plan and baiting was halted. Hunters complain about that, but the simple fact is that baiting helps spread CWD. 

Will we ever see CWD in the wild in Michigan? My guess is that this is almost certainly going to happen sooner or later. We really don’t yet know, but most deer biologists do not want to gamble and thus, when a CWD animal is found, management officials want to harvest as many animals in the vicinity as possible to prevent or slow the spread. Is that necessary? We won’t know for quite awhile.

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for over 31 years.

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