Michigan Adds Hunting Periods for Antlerless Deer Due to Bovine Tuberculosis Spread

by Jon D. B.

An extended hunting season for antlerless deer is now in effect for northern Michigan hunters to help combat the spread of crippling Bovine Tuberculosis.

Antlerless deer hunting season is getting an extension for Michigan hunters with the turn of the new year. The decision, however, comes as a countermeasure to an alarming amount of Bovine Tuberculosis cases in local wildlife and livestock. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is set to extend the hunt for five northern Michigan counties. In doing so, they hope to stop the spread of bTB in the state.

According to local Michigan news ABC 12, “The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is allowing firearm hunting for antlerless deer only in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle counties from Jan. 7 to 10 and 14 to 17.”

“Increased antlerless harvest in these counties is important to reducing the number of deer interacting with farms and helps to limit the number of bTB-infected wildlife and cattle herds in the future,” Emily Sewell tells ABC 12. Sewell is the wildlife health specialist for Michigan Department of Natural Resources. As such, she is taking the lead on combating the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis.

All Licensed for Michigan Deer Hunting “Invited to Participate”

Moreover, Michigan state wants all hunters with a Michigan firearm deer license to know they are “invited to participate in the extra hunts.”

Each can take “antlerless deer with an unused 2020 deer or deer combo license,” ABC 12 specifies. In addition, “a private land antlerless license for Deer Management Unit 487 or a 2021 disease control permit,” is also valid.

For those in need, tags will also be available for sale statewide in Michigan through January 12 of 2021. A full list of properties where antlerless deer hunting has been extended is available here, courtesy of the state.

Michigan, however, is urging all hunters who take deer during the hunting extension to bring them to check stations. There, each head needs to undergo testing for Bovine Tuberculosis. Stations are available in Alpena, Atlanta, and Mio from 10 a.m to 3 p.m.

24-hour self-service drop boxes are also up within the regions, as well. These will aid hunters in submitting deer heads for testing – and quelling the spread of bTB for all in Michigan.

Bovine Tuberculosis Transfers to Humans, Says CDC

In addition, Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB – Mycobacterium bovis) causes Tuberculosis in humans. This has Michigan’s Wildlife officials on high-alert to stop its spread.

In fact, according to The CDC, “In the United States, the majority of tuberculosis (TB) cases in people are caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.”

“M. bovis is most commonly found in cattle and other animals such as bison, elk, and deer. In people, M. bovis causes
TB disease that can affect the lungs, lymph nodes, and other parts of the body,” the CDC continues. “However, as with M. tuberculosis, not everyone infected with M. bovis becomes sick. People who are infected but not sick have what is called latent TB infection (LTBI). People who have LTBI do not feel sick, do not have any symptoms, and cannot spread TB to others. However, some people with LTBI go on to get TB disease.”

Michigan’s decision to combat bTB comes after multiple states are already enacting measures to combat upticks in Chronic Wasting Disease across the U.S.

[H/T ABC 12]