LANSING — State Representative John Kivela (D-Marquette) recently introduced House Bill 5146 to increase the penalties for illegally bringing a deer carcass into Michigan from another state that is known to have deer with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
“Right now, the Upper Peninsula has not had a problem with deer showing Chronic Wasting Disease, and we want to keep it that way,” said Kivela. “But the disease has shown up in a deer in an Oneida County, Wis., hunting facility that is only 25 miles from the border of the Western U.P. We need to strengthen our laws to discourage people from transporting deer carcass’ into the U.P. so that we can avoid the disease showing up here as it has shown up in the Mid-Michigan area.”
Kivela’s bill would increase the penalties for illegally bringing a deer carcass into the state from another stated with the known presence of CWD to a fine of between $500 and $2,000, and or a sentence of up to 90 days in jail.
Even without the presence of this disease, the U.P. saw a decline in the harvest for the most recent firearm deer hunting season according to the most recent data from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Michigan’s four confirmed cases of CWD have all occurred in Mid-Michigan around the state Capitol region.
“We need a healthy deer herd because hunting is important to U.P. communities, and deer license fees also help fund some state fish and game programs,” said Kivela. “Hunters need to know that we are serious about protecting U.P. deer, and these penalties will drive home the seriousness of CWD and how we are fighting to prevent it.”