AUGUSTA — From the far side of a plowed field comes the sound of a brassy bleat. A red-coated figure astride a small chestnut horse crests a small slope. The man is Bob Carr, the joint master of foxhounds and huntsman at Battle Creek Hunt. As a joint master of foxhounds, Carr is responsible for hunting operations. As a huntsman, he is in charge of the hounds.
By JOSHUA BENDER
Capital News Service
LANSING – In an effort to protect Michigan’s deer, the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to double the number of core areas monitored for deadly chronic wasting disease. This expansion would include six new townships in Eaton County and two in Clinton County. The fatal disease interferes with the digestive abilities of deer, literally causing them to waste away in its later stages, said Drew YoungeDyke, chief information officer for Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the state’s largest hunting organization. The disease can cause deer to become delirious, walking in circles for hours and being unable to even properly drink water, he said. “They become kind of robotic.”
The full extent of the spread of the disease is not yet known, said Chad Stewart, the DNR’s deer management specialist.
By Liam Tiernan
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter
One deer in Clinton County was among two deer in mid-Michigan that tested positive for CWD, bringing the total up to seven in the past year. Department of Natural Resources officers report that a three-year-old female harvested by Department sharpshooters in Watertown Township tested positive for the disease. CWD, or Chronic Wasting Disease, affects deer, moose, elk, and other cervids. The disease is neurological, affecting and attacking the brain and central nervous system, causing death. The disease is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids.
A 9-month-old male deer was found in Meridian Township with a disease known as CWD. CWD stands for Chronic Wasting Disease, a fatal disease that affect white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. Deer in Meridian Township have been on close watch by the citizens, as it’s important that the township keeps track of the prevalence rates and spread. “The township parks department, police, and administration are cooperating with the DNR to monitor the spread and attempt to control the disease,” said Capt. Greg Frenger of the Meridian Township Police Department. “It is unclear how the disease came to Michigan.
BATH — Bath may be a relatively small community compared to others in the state, but what it lacks in population size it makes up for in natural bounty. The third annual Wild Game Dinner, hosted by the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy this month, will once again highlight Bath’s plentiful natural resources by showcasing local hunters’ contributions to their township while benefiting wildlife conservation efforts. Taking place March 19 at the Bengel Wildlife Center from 6-10 p.m., Bath’s 2016 Wild Game Dinner will feature a silent auction, music and door prizes, a cash bar, and an all-you-can-eat strolling dinner of wild game and other food. Food will be replenished until 9 p.m.
The provisions at these dinners can vary greatly, ranging from relatively standard wild game choices to more exotic ones for adventurous eaters. For this particular event, participants can expect “some bear, venison, some duck, some geese, some lake trout, and a whole list of other different game,” said Kim McKenzie, Office Administrator at the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy.
With the Michigan deer-hunting season in full swing, local hunters should be conscious of new hunting regulations being enforced due to the presence of chronic wasting disease in deer. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has created new regulations that will prohibit the possession or salvage of deer that have been killed in motor vehicle collisions and will also enforce the mandatory testing of deer during the hunting season. The goal of these new regulations is to “help determine the geographic distribution and magnitude of the disease and lower deer population density, which may lower the propensity for further disease transmission,” said National Wildlife Health Center Emerging Disease Coordinator Bryan Richards. According to information from the DNR, the first case of chronic wasting disease, a neurological disease found in deer and elk that attacks the brain and produces small lesions that result in death, was confirmed in Meridian Township in April 2015. Two additional cases have also been confirmed so far this year.
By BROOKE KANSIER
Capital News Service
LANSING – Hunting is killing Michigan wildlife – and not just in the way you think. It’s because a toxic metal – lead – has been a hunting staple for centuries. Despite being removed from products like paint, gasoline and pesticides, lead remains popular for shot and bullets due to its malleability and tendency to fracture, making for bigger wound tracks and faster kills. That fracturing has its downsides, however. Lead fragments in gut piles – left behind when hunters lighten the load to carry their kill out of the woods – can put wildlife at risk of ingesting remnants of the toxin, according to the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin.
By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — The North American beaver has been called “the quintessential ecosystem engineer,” and any doubters can look at the animal’s long-term environmental impact in the Upper Peninsula. Many of its engineering feats are still evident on the landscape after more than 150 years — longer than such other engineering marvels as the Eiffel Tower, the Mackinac Bridge, the Trans-Siberian Railroad and Toronto’s CN Tower have stood. The proof is visible in the continued existence of dozens of Ishpeming-area beaver ponds first mapped in 1868, according to newly published research. “This study shows remarkable consistency in beaver pond placement over the last 150 years, despite some land use changes that altered beaver habitats,” ecologist Carol Johnston wrote in the study. “This constancy is evidence of the beaver’s resilience and a reminder that beaver works have been altering the North American landscape for centuries.”
And in an interview, Johnston said a major lesson from the study is that beavers come back to the same spots on the landscape and reuse them time and time again.
By Luke Robins
Clinton County Chatter staff reporter
ST. JOHNS – Located north of St. Johns, at 4665 N. DeWitt Road, Clinton Lakes County Park is infested. Not with something one normally calls a pest control & exterminator service for when they hear the word infested like termites or cockroaches, but with a much larger, winged animal; the goose. Clinton County officials say they have a geese problem at their parks and officials are attempting to control it with the help of citizens through a controlled hunt in October and November.
By MICHAEL KRANSZ
Capital News Service
LANSING — In portions of the northern Lower Peninsula next year, farmers in need of relief from hungry deer and hunters in search of turf might mutually benefit from an expanded state land-access initiative. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) initiative, called the Hunting Access Program, would open more private land to hunters in the northern Lower Peninsula with a new federal grant of nearly $1 million. Among the counties included are Alcona, Montmorency, Emmet, Cheboygan, Antrim, Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Manistee, Mason, Lake and Wexford. Currently, only landowners in Southern Michigan, mid-Michigan and the eastern Upper Peninsula who want to be paid to open their property for hunting are eligible, said Mike Parker, the DNR biologist spearheading the program. Landowners set restrictions on the type of hunting and can earn up to $25 per acre, depending on the type of hunting allowed and habitat quality, according to DNR.