Two mid-Michigan counties likely will be added to the list where chronic wasting disease has been found in deer. The Michigan DNR says a 4-year-old buck in Gratiot County and a 2-year-old buck in Eaton County are suspected positive for the disease. The samples were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa, for confirmation, which is expected next week.

Chronic wasting disease currently has already been confirmed in Clinton, Dickinson, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm counties. CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. As of Saturday, the DNR has tested more than 16,000 deer this year, with 20 of those confirmed positive for CWD. There are currently an additional 18 animals suspected positive from Clinton, Kent and Montcalm counties. Additional animals are being tested daily.

“I continue to be impressed with hunters’ commitment to the health of Michigan’s deer, and want to stress again how much the actions of all hunters matter. It is only through hunter assistance that we have found CWD in new areas. The DNR sets surveillance goals – shown as a number of deer tested in a particular area – to help us detect the presence of the disease at a certain level,” Stewart said. “It’s critical that we meet these goals to increase our understanding of the distribution of chronic wasting disease in Michigan, so we strongly encourage hunters in these areas to get their deer checked.” Chad Stewart, DNR deer and elk specialist

Despite strong participation from hunters throughout the CWD surveillance and management areas, there are several counties – particularly Gratiot, Isabella, Jackson and Kent – where testing is well below the goal.