Deer hunters in a dozen northern Lower Peninsula counties are urged to turn in the heads of harvested deer to an MDNR check station or drop box for bovine tuberculosis testing this hunting season. If testing quotas aren’t met by year’s end, the USDA could reevaluate the entire state’s TB status, imperiling Michigan’s beef and dairy farmers.
“The new memorandum of understanding between USDA and Michigan requires a significant number of deer heads to be turned in for TB testing in the Modified Accredited Zone and surrounding counties,” said Ernie Birchmeier, MFB’s dairy and livestock specialist. “It is imperative that we all collaborate to achieve those goals.
“Failure to meet the requirements could cause USDA to reevaluate the TB status of the entire state of Michigan. Lowering the state’s status could lead to additional testing requirements statewide, which would be a significant challenge for our beef and dairy farmers.”
While more than 2,000 animals across the Northeastern region of the state had been tested as of Nov. 20 (current numbers are available online), it's significantly under the MOU testing requirements.
Per the MOU, signed this past February, MDNR is required to conduct active surveillance for bovine TB in free-ranging white-tailed deer. Michigan’s Modified Accredited Zone (MAZ), which includes Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties, is required to test 2,800 deer annually.
As of Nov. 20, only 1,220 deer — just 43.6% of the number required — had been tested collectively in the MAZ.
New annual testing quotas are also required for the seven counties surrounding the MAZ including 500 free-ranging deer in Presque Isle County, and 300 each in Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Ogemaw, Otsego and Roscommon for a combined total of 2,300 deer.
Thus far only 798 deer had been tested in those counties — less than 35% of the number required in the USDA/MDARD agreement.
“It’s imperative we hit those testing quota numbers,” Birchmeier said. “Harvesting a large number of deer and getting the heads tested for TB can help reduce the overall population in areas that have a significant number of deer and we can help to prove to USDA that we are containing the disease and working to eliminate it.”
“Sixty percent of deer that test positive show no signs of the disease, so testing is important,” said Emily Sewell, DNR wildlife health specialist. “It’s important that hunters take precautions like wearing latex or rubber gloves when field dressing. If they notice any lesions on the lungs or in the chest cavity, they should avoid cutting into the lesions and bring the deer to a check station.”
Check station and drop box locations are listed below and online at Michigan.gov/DeerCheck.
For more information visit Michigan.gov/BovineTB or contact Sewell or Birchmeier directly.
DNR Drop Box Locations
- Alanson — Oden Hatchery Visitor Center; 24-hour drop box; 3377 Oden Road, Alanson; 989-732-3541 ext. 5031
- Alpena Field Office — check station, 24-hour drop box; 4343 M-32 West, Alpena; 989-785-4251 ext. 5233
- Atlanta Field Office — check Station, 24-hour drop box; 13501 M-33, Atlanta; 989-785-4251 ext. 5233
- Cheboygan Field Office — 24-hour drop box120 A Street, Cheboygan; 989-732-3541 ext. 5031
- Curran BP Gas Station — check station; M-65 & M-72, Curran; 989-348-6371 ext. 7477
- East Tawas State Harbor Dock — check station; 113 Newman St., Hwy. US-23, East Tawas; 989-275-5151 ext. 2039
- Gaylord Customer Service Center — check station, 24-hour drop box; 1732 West M-32, Gaylord; 989-732-3541
- Grayling Field Office — check station, 24-hour drop box; 1955 Hartwick Pines Road, Grayling; 989-348-6371 ext. 7477
- Hale — Alward’s Market, 118 S. Washington St., Hale; 989-728-2315
- Hillman BP Gas Station — 24-hour drop box; 27400 M-32 West, Hillman; 989-785-4251 ext. 5233
- Indian River Field Office — 24-hour drop box; 6984 Wilson Road, Indian River; 989-732-3541 ext. 5031
- Lincoln Field Office — check station; 408 Main Street, Lincoln; 989-736-8336
- Lupton — Rifle River Recreation Area; check station; 2550 E. Rose City Road, Lupton; 989-473-2258
- Mio DNR Field Office — check station, 24-hour drop box; 191 S. Mt. Tom Road, Mio; 989-275-5151 ext. 2722030
- Onaway Check Station — Tom’s IGA, 20597 State St., Onaway; 989-785-4251 ext. 5233
- Posen Check Station — behind Huron Oil Co., 10941 Michigan Ave., Posen; 989-785-4251 ext. 5233
- Rogers City — Adrian’s Sport Shop; 24-hour drop box; 335 N. Bradley Hwy., Rogers City,
989-785-4251 ext. 5233
- Roscommon Customer Service Center — check station, 24-hour drop box; 8717 N. Roscommon Road, Roscommon; 989-275-5151 ext. 2722039
- West Branch Field Office — check station; 410 N. Fairview Road, West Branch; 989-345-0472
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