Good News/Bad News? 2011 Michigan TB Surveillance Report

As hunters and livestock owners in Northeast Michigan know, we are the only state in the nation where Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) has taken a stronghold in the wild deer population. The TB prevalence rate has decreased over the last 15 years, but more recently has leveled off at about 2 percent in the core area, Deer Management Unit (DMU) 452, which takes in parts of Montmorency, Alpena, Alcona, and Oscoda Counties. However, in 2011 there was an unexpected decline in the prevalence rate to 1.2 percent. One year of data does not make a trend line, so we will see if this holds true in the next few years.
In 2011, only 17 deer tested positive for TB out of a total 6,155 deer, elk, and moose tested in Michigan. Fourteen of these deer were from the core DMU 452, but three positive deer were discovered in nearby Presque Isle County.
As you might recall, in November baiting for deer was again allowed in Presque Isle County after a last minute move by the Natural Resources Commission resulting from political pressure in the area.
Will these recent TB-positive deer have a negative effect on this baiting regulation for 2012? We will see.

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