LANSING, MI – There will be half as many Department of Natural Resources deer check stations in the field during the upcoming firearm hunting season. DNR officials say they don't have the money to hire the additional people to staff the stations this year.
AUDIO: The DNR is getting less money from the Legislature and from hunting and fishing licenses. Reducing check stations and temporary hiring is expected to save about half a million dollars.
Wildlife officials use information gathered at the stations to estimate the size and health of Michigan's deer herd. Mike Bailey of the DNR's wildlife division says they will rely even more on hunters to report in when they find deer they suspect are sick.
"The major emphasis for finding diseased animals is we depend upon hunters and citizens to tell us this deer is not normal," Bailey says.
Bailey says that means deer that don't try to run from people or have lesions. That can indicate bovine tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease, which can also threaten livestock.