Slowing the spread of CWD

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Antlerless deer in a field

Slowing the spread of CWD

Deer hunting seasons kick off this weekend with the Liberty Hunt and, in certain locations, the early antlerless firearm season. Within specific areas of the state there are opportunities and regulations in place to help battle chronic wasting disease (CWD).

What YOU can do to help

  • Keep hunting, especially in CWD areas. Find CWD-specific areas at
  • Get your deer checked and tested for CWD. 
  • Find DNR check station and drop-box locations, including partnering meat processors and taxidermists, at Some drop boxes are open 24 hours.
  • Visit to check your test results.Test results may take up to 14 business days during the busier times of the season. 
  • Avoid long-distance movements with your deer carcass. For carcass transportation rules, visit (pages 39 and 52 of the Hunting Digest).
  • Handle and dispose of your carcass in a responsible manner – dispose of leftover carcass parts through your garbage service, an appropriate landfill, incineration or deep burial at the harvest location.
  • If you hunt outside of Michigan, bring back only allowed cervid parts (see page 53 of the Hunting Digest).


  • The Liberty Hunt, Sept. 22-23, takes place on private and public lands statewide in Michigan open to firearm deer hunting (pages 27 and 30 of the Hunting Digest outline who is eligible for this hunt).
  • Many deer management units are open to the early antlerless firearm season, which is Sept. 22-23 on private lands only. Visit to find the list of open areas. 
  • There are baiting and feeding restrictions in place for certain locations within the state (see page 50 of the Hunting Digest).
  • Approved urine and lure attractants can be found at (additional details on pages 48 and 49 of the Hunting Digest).
  • Carcass transportation restrictions can be found on pages 39 and 52 of the Hunting Digest.
  • In CWD areas, deer licenses may be used to harvest antlerless deer and/or antlered deer with at least one antler 3 inches or longer (learn what is allowed on page 38 of the Hunting Digest).
  • There is a purchase limit of 10 private-land antlerless licenses per hunter in the CWD Management Zone (see pages 34, 39 and 40 of the Hunting Digest).

NEW antlerless license opportunity

Hunters have the option of purchasing discounted antlerless licenses at 40 percent off the usual price. These licenses are good for private land within the CWD Management Zone through Nov. 4, 2018, when they expire. In addition to these discounted licenses, hunters still can purchase regular, over-the-counter antlerless deer licenses (see pages 39 and 40 of the Hunting Digest).

Field-dressing and processing your deer

It is recommended that when field-dressing your deer, you:

  • Cover all open wounds.
  • Wear rubber gloves.
  • Minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Bone out the meat from your deer. Avoid cutting through the brain or spinal column during processing.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water after handling any parts of the carcass.
  • Wash knives, saws and cutting table surfaces immediately after processing.
  • Dispose of leftover carcass parts through your garbage service, an appropriate landfill, incineration or deep burial at the harvest location.
  • Bury gut piles after field-dressing a deer or dispose of them at an appropriate landfill location.
  • Avoid consuming or cooking the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen and lymph nodes of harvested animals.
  • Request that your animal be processed individually, without meat from other animals being added.

If you see a sick deer

While you're out hunting, keep an eye out for deer exhibiting signs of CWD. Deer with the disease can be thin and show abnormal behavior such as loss of fear of humans, lowered head or excessive drooling. Report sick deer to the DNR at 1-800-292-7800 or online at