Michigan wildlife officials have issued a plea to Berrien County deer hunters: We need your deer.

In a state-wide effort to test deer for Bovine Tuberculosis and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), wildlife managers are gathering samples from all counties along the Indiana and Wisconsin borders as well as several interior counties.

Berrien is a tough one, said DNR wildlife manager Rod Clute, because Michigan has no wildlife office there.

“We’re desperate for Berrien County deer, which is why we will be checking them in every Monday and Thursday from 10 to 3 at Warren Dunes State Park,” said Clute, who is property manager at Crane Pond Game Area in Jones. “We can get what we need from Cass and St. Joseph County because of Crane Pond’s location. But because of the logistics, Berrien is another matter.”

Clute noted that there has been no reports of either disease in southwest Michigan, nor does he anticipate finding it in the deer he is testing. CWD has not been found in Indiana or Michigan, although it has been confirmed in some deer in Wisconsin. Bovine TB has been documented in deer located in a few northeastern Michigan counties.

“This is just a precautionary measure and proactive statewide effort to monitor the diseases,” he said. “The more animals we test, the better we feel about saying that we don’t have it.”

Clute said he needs 50 deer heads from each county along the border. Hunters who visit the check station at Warren Dunes aren’t required to give up their deer heads and will receive a deer hunter’s cooperative patch regardless. But Clute hopes they will.

“We will remove the head, tag it and send it to Lansing for testing of CWD and TB,” he explained. “We will mail the hunter the results within 14 days.”

The biologist reminds hunters that the Warren Dunes check station will be closed Veterans Day, Nov. 11, and that someone will be there Friday, Nov. 15, the opening of gun season.

Regardless of what county you hunt, you can check deer at Crane Pond. Appointments are urged, and you can do so by calling (269) 244-5928.

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