Article Posted: April 13, 2002

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LANSING-The Michigan Natural Resources Commission assembled
in Grandville today to conclude its two-day, regular monthly
meeting, focusing largely on wildlife issues.
Department of Natural Resources Veterinarian Steve Schmitt
presented to the Commissioners an update on Chronic Wasting
Disease, a deadly illness affecting deer and elk that was
recently discovered in Wisconsin. Schmitt noted that
Michigan must design wildlife regulations to keep the
disease out of the state, but that Commissioners should also
make plans to deal with the disease if it is ever discovered
here. His recommendations included a proposed surveillance
plan targeting 35 counties each year for the next three
years, testing 50 elk and 1,950 deer annually. The
surveillance plan further includes monitoring all hunter-
harvested elk. Ultimately, DNR biologists anticipate
examining 6,000 deer and elk during the three-year plan.
The Commission reviewed regulations, season dates and
management unit boundaries for deer, elk, fall turkey
hunting and trapping of beaver and otter. Commissioners
anticipate making final decisions on those items at the next
meeting. DNR staff presented a proposal to close woodcock
hunting this year in a section of Dickinson County as part
of a joint research project with the US Fish and Wildlife
Service and other Great Lakes States to determine causes for
the continued decline in woodcock populations. Biologists
noted that the Dickinson Woodcock Research Unit was selected
because it is similar to properties selected for study in
Wisconsin and Minnesota.
DNR Director K.L. Cool approved the formation of an "Off
Road Vehicle Trails" advisory board, composed of
representatives from user groups, ORV dealers, law
enforcement, conservation and environmental interests. The
Board is charged with assisting and advising the DNR on ORV
program issues, including regulations and standards, and
formulation of a statewide ORV plan.
For details about DNR or NRC actions, see the DNR Web site
The next regular meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources
Commission is May 9-10 at the Bengel Wildlife Center, 6380
Drumheller Road in Bath.

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