Legislation designed to fight the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan passed the Michigan House of Representatives recently and now heads to the Senate. House Bill 5146, introduced by Rep. John Kivela (D-Marquette), increases the penalty for importing the carcass of a cervid (deer, elk or moose) into Michigan from a state with CWD.
(Photo: MUCC Statewide Vice President George Lindquist and Representative John Kivela testify in support of HB 5146 in committee)
Importing the carcass of a cervid from a state with CWD is a violation of the Wildlife Conservation Order governing game laws in Michigan. House Bill 5146 increases the penalty for violating that part of the WCO to a misdemeanor with a fine range of $500 to $2,000 and up to 90 days in jail. Currently, the fine range is $50 to $500.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs supports the bill and both our Deputy Director, Amy Trotter, and our Statewide Vice President, George Lindquist (representing the U.P. Whitetails of Marquette County), testified in support of the bill in a committee hearing. The bill is critically important to keeping CWD out of the Upper Peninsula, as Wisconsin has detected the deadly deer disease in a captive deer farm less than 30 miles from the U.P. border.
Michigan hunters hunting out of state can still bring back the deboned meat, hide, antlers and/or antlers attached to a clean skullcap. CWD can be transmitted through other parts of the carcass, such as the spinal column.
In mid-Michigan, the DNR updated the CWD Core Area and CWD Management Zone to account for additional CWD-positive deer found since the original Meridian Township case. In total, 7 deer have been confirmed with the disease in Michigan out of over 5,000 tested, ranging from Meridian Township in Ingham County to Watertown Township in Clinton County.
The CWD Core Area now includes Westphalia, Riley, Olive, Victor, Eagle, Watertown, Dewitt and Bath Townships in Clinton County; Lansing, Meridian, Williamstown, Delhi, Alaiedon and Wheatfield Townships in Ingham County; Oneida and Delta Townships in Eaton County; and Woodhull Township in Shiawassee County. In this CWD Core Area, deer check is mandatory for hunters and restrictions apply to the movement of deer parts and carcasses out of the zone. In the CWD Core Area and the five-county CWD Management Zone (Ingham, Eaton, Ionia, Clinton and Shiawassee Counties), feeding and baiting deer is prohibited. Visit www.michigan.gov/cwd for more information.
For his leadership on this and other conservation issues, Representative John Kivela will be honored with MUCC's Legislator of the Year award at our Annual Convention in June.