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Lawmakers discuss changing the rules on deer hunting in areas with chronic wasting disease

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are considering a resolution to end some restrictions on deer hunting.

The restrictions are in place in parts of the state known to have chronic wasting disease. CWD is a neurological disease in deer the state has been trying to contain.

The antler-point restrictions are meant to protect younger male deer and increase the number of older male deer in Michigan.

But critics complain the study actually threatens to spread CWD outside its current core area, which includes Kent and Montcalm counties.

“It should be noted that at its core this is not a biological experiment, it’s a sociological one ... designed simply to measure the impact of a specific regulation on hunter behavior,” says Jim Sweeney, with the Concerned Sportsmen of Michigan.

“We don’t want to grow older, bigger bucks in areas where there is CWD. And we don’t want to have younger diseased bucks dispersing the spread of the disease geographically,” says Sweeney.

The antler study started in 2019.

The Natural Resources Commission has decided to quit doing the study in the core CWD area after this fall’s deer season.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.