The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan State University are working on a project to vaccinate some of the state's deer herd.

Bovine Tuberculosis in Wild Deer

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Michigan's wild deer get tuberculosis just like humans but the DNR is working to eradicate the disease. If you are unfamiliar with bovine tuberculosis, it's an infectious disease that is spread by inhalation from nose-to-nose contact between animals or by ingesting contaminated feed or water.

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Bovine tuberculosis creates a danger for the deer herd and the hunters coming in contact with the deer they harvest. The DNR highly recommends when hunters harvest their deer, they field dress the animal using those long rubber gloves because humans can become infected if bacteria from the animal gets into a cut on a person's skin. The DNR also says not to eat deer meat with bovine tuberculosis and that is why you should check your deer into a check station.

Read More: 2023 Michigan Deer Harvest Numbers Down Considerably

DNR Vaccinating Michigan's Wild Deer

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The DNR has already begun the field study of vaccinating wild deer in Alpena County which is one of the counties where the disease is most prevalent. Unlike humans who would get a doctor's appointment to get vaccinated, the DNR along with Michigan State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have a different way they are approaching vaccinating wild deer.

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According to the Department of Natural Resources, the method they are using to vaccinate deer is being done orally. They are placing an oral bovine tuberculosis vaccine inside cubes formed with alfalfa and molasses near crop fields that are frequented by deer. The DNR leaves the cubes out for two days and then retrieves them. Several weeks later some deer will be harvested with special permits provided by the state. The harvested deer will then be tested by the State of Michigan and the USDA. If this process is successful, then the DNR will be looking to expand the vaccination of deer into other areas where there are problems with bovine tuberculosis.

Michigan's 2023 Final Whitetail Deer Harvest vs 2022 Harvest

Another year and another downward trend continues for Michigan's Whitetail Deer Harvest in 2023. Here's a look at the final numbers from each county, ranked by lowest to highest deer harvested, and how they compare to the 2022 season.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow

Michigan's Dismal 2023 Deer Season: County By County Look A-Z

Things are looking bleak for a once proud sport. With just one week to go, Michigan whitetail deer hunters (as limited and aging as they are), have a lot of work to do even to come close to last year's total deer harvest. Here's an alphabetical look, county by county, comparing this season's year-to-date total to 2022s.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow