New deer hunting regulations to affect 2018/2019 deer seasons

Aug 10, 2018

Chronic Wasting Disease is posing a significant threat to wildlife and hunting traditions.

A series of deer hunting regulations have been passed by the Natural Resources Commission aimed at slowing the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

Of the roughly 31-thousand white-tailed deer that were tested by the Michigan DNR, 60 came back positive.

Ed Golder is a public information officer for the DNR.

“Chronic Wasting Disease is a fatal neurological disease of the brain and nervous system that’s found in cervids - deer, elk and moose. In Michigan, it’s found exclusively in our white-tailed deer population.”

Golder said that while the disease is similar to Mad Cow Disease, there’s little to no risk to humans.

“It’s spread through the transmission of a prion, which is a folded over protein that goes from deer to deer through a variety of means. It’s very much like Mad Cow Disease in that sense. However, there is no indication that Chronic Wasting Disease is transmissible to human beings.”

Golder urged hunters to get involved.

“Hunters are going to be critical for us to determine the prevalence of the disease, and to slow the spread of the disease. In areas where we know we have CWD present, we really would appreciate hunters and we encourage hunters to bring their deer in to have them tested for CWD.”

The approved deer hunting regulations, which will be in effect for the 2018 deer seasons unless noted otherwise, include:

  • A statewide ban on the use of all natural cervid urine-based lures and attractants, except for lures that are approved by the Archery Trade Association.

  • An immediate ban on baiting and feeding in the 16-county area identified as the CWD Management Zone. This area includes Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa and Shiawassee counties.

  • A ban on baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula, effective Jan. 31, 2019, with an exception to this ban for hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements. The start date on this regulation is intended to allow bait producers and retailers time to adjust to the new rule.

  • Effective immediately in the CWD Management Zone and four-county bovine tuberculosis area (in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties), hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements can now use 2 gallons of single-bite bait, such as shelled corn, during the Liberty and Independence hunts.

  • Allowance of all legal firearms to be used in muzzleloader season in the CWD Management Zone.

  • A purchase limit of 10 private-land antlerless licenses per hunter in the CWD Management Zone.

  • Restrictions on deer carcass movement in the five-county CWD Core Area (Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm and Newaygo counties) and the CWD Management Zone.

  • Antlerless options on deer licenses/combo licenses during firearms seasons in the five-county CWD Core Area.

  • Expansion of early and late antlerless seasons in select counties.

  • Changes to regulations regarding wildlife rehabilitators.


In addition, the commission asked the DNR to move forward with:


  • An experimental mandatory antler point restriction regulation in a five-county CWD Core Area, including Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm and Newaygo counties. The restriction would begin in 2019, provided a survey of hunters shows support for the requirement and specific department guidelines are met. This is intended as a tool to evaluate the effects of antler point restrictions on the spread and prevalence of CWD, along with deer population reduction.

  • A hunter-submitted proposal for mandatory antler point restrictions in Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac, St. Clair and Lapeer counties. If hunter surveys support this regulation and specific department guidelines are met, it would be implemented in 2019.