What is the CWD Surveillance Zone?

The nine-township area of northwest Kent County surrounding the captive deer facility that produced a deer with chronic wasting disease – Tyrone, Solon, Nelson, Sparta, Algoma, Courtland, Alpine, Plainfield and Cannon — is the surveillance zone.

What does that mean?

All deer killed by hunters in the surveillance zone must be taken to a Department of Natural Resources check station for CWD testing. This is mandatory. Hunters may present just the head, but we would prefer the entire carcass.

How should I handle my deer?

Deer should be field dressed as usual. We recommend hunters always wear rubber gloves when field dressing all deer.

After I take my deer to the check station, then what?

DNR personnel will remove the head at the check station. Hunters may only possess the hide and antlers – with all soft tissue removed from them – and boned out meat. The name of a deer processor within the surveillance zone will be available at the check stations. The DNR will have dumpsters available at the check station sites for the disposable of the rest of the carcass for hunters who prefer to bone out the meat themselves.

In addition, the DNR will have refrigerated trucks on site. Hunters will be afforded the option of leaving the carcass in cold storage until the CWD test is completed. If the test is negative, hunters will be allowed to claim the entire carcass. If the test is positive, the carcass will be incinerated and the hunter will be issued a new kill tag.

How will I be notified and how long will it take?

We anticipate all hunters will be notified by postcard of test results within a week. Hunters will be expected to present their postcard at the check station when collecting their deer.

Where are the check stations and when are they open?

The DNR will maintain three check stations from Sept. 18 – Jan. 9, — except for state holidays – from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition, a fourth during the first five days of the firearms season, Nov. 15-19, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Season-long check stations include:

  • Howard Christensen Nature Center, 530 20 Mile Road, Kent City, (616) 675-3158

  • Rockford Sportsman’s Club, 11115 Northland Drive, NE, Rockford, (616)866-4273

  • Red Flannel Rod and Gun Club, 18 Mile Road, Cedar Springs, (616)696-3711.

From Nov. 15-19, there will be a check station at the Rockford Rest Area on southbound U.S. 131 at highway marker 99.

Is there any health risk to me?

Health officials say there is no evidence that CWD has or can infect humans. However, it is recommended that people do not eat meat from animals that test positive for the disease.

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