This month

December 2018

Tests for Lyme disease don’t work well enough to diagnose illness early, federal panel says, USA Today, Nov 16, 2018Atop the list is testing. The report outlines the shortcomings of the standard practice of testing for Lyme through “serological assays,” or blood tests that look for antibodies. This form of testing is notoriously unreliable in detecting Lyme, especially in the crucial early stages of infection. Atop the list is testing. The report outlines the shortcomings of the standard practice of testing for Lyme through “serological assays,” or blood tests that look for antibodies. This form of testing is notoriously unreliable in detecting Lyme, especially in the crucial early stages of infection.

November 2018

Michigan hunting in major decline — why that matters, Detroit Free Press, Nov 9, 2018Michigan’s highly lucrative hunt, for decades, has been driven by one population cohort: white, male baby boomers, said Richelle Winkler, an associate professor in Michigan Tech’s Department of Social Sciences and author of the hunting demographics study. Younger people are still getting outdoors — they’re just not hunting. State park attendance and trail usage are at all-time highs, and activities such as bird-watching, paddleboarding and kayaking are soaring. This could pose a crisis in how Michigan funds its wildlife and habitat programs; have a huge, negative impact on the state’s economy, and raises the specter of deer overpopulation, accompanying animal diseases and increases in car-deer accidents.

Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, Board of Commission Meeting, November 8, 2018The Metroparks Board agreed to put a hold on culling deer at the parks this winter, or at least until additional information on PFAS levels in their deer is available. Parks are still trying to determine a deer sampling plan with the DNR– keeping in mind new data nearly daily on PFAS contamination areas. They agree in principle to plan sampling from “worst case” contamination areas. Right now, they know that PFAS levels are high at Kent Lake in Kensington. The cost of testing deer sample for PFAS is about $100 using the same labs as DNR.

Deer and Your Marijuana Plants, Grasscity, Nov 4, 2018There are many pesky animals that think your marijuana plants are a tasty snack. Deer happen to be one of the peskiest plant eaters out there.

October 2018

Genes behind rapid deer antler growth, hardening identified, Phys.org, Oct 30, 2018The researchers hope that their insights into antler genes might inform new approaches for treating diseases like osteoporosis. In healthy bones, two types of cells—osteoblasts and osteoclasts—work as opposing forces. Osteoblasts produce new bone tissue, while osteoclasts break down old bone. The two cell types work in a yin and yang style to continuously form and degrade bone to maintain balanced bone structure. In osteoporosis, osteoclast function overtakes osteoblasts, and the bone starts to break down. “We’re just at the beginning of this research, but our ultimate goal is to figure out how we can apply the same underlying biology that allows for rapid bone regeneration in deer antlers to help treat human bone conditions, such as osteoporosis.”

* SHOWCASING THE DNR, MI DNR, Oct 2018The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has stepped up its surveillance and information efforts in the wake of the Upper Peninsula’s first case of chronic wasting disease being confirmed Oct. 18 from Dickinson County’s Waucedah Township. Since 2015, the DNR has been conducting active surveillance along the Michigan-Wisconsin border. This surveillance effort detected the CWD-positive deer. A deer that is shot in an area infected with CWD should never be disposed of on the landscape in uninfected areas. At no time should the head, spine or other restricted parts of a deer killed in a CWD-infected area be moved, or disposed of, outside of that area.

Culling the Deer Herd Makes Healthy Sense, The Vineyard Gazette, Oct 25, 2018The actual number of cases of Lyme disease, babesia and anaplasmosis cannot be precisely ascertained. The actual size of the deer herd also cannot be accurately measured, and the extent of the spread of these tick–borne diseases via other smaller animal species can only be approximated. Lastly, it is difficult to model the actual effects of reducing the size of the deer herd on Martha’s Vineyard and how much effect this reduction will have on lowering the number of ticks carrying these potentially lethal diseases.
We must keep the focus on the current issues presented by ticks and their associated debilitating diseases. Let’s go with the best possible solution. The common sense response is to just get on with a deer herd reduction program.

Another major public health concern has also recently been identified: the transmission of babesia and anaplasmosis by blood transfusion. All blood in our neighboring state of Rhode Island, and some blood (if requested) in Massachusetts is being screened for the presence of babesia. Important studies supporting deer herd reduction have recently been published by Dr Kirby Stafford, chief scientist and state entomologist for Connecticut. These studies show that significant reductions in the deer herd strongly correlate with a reduction in number of deer ticks and the number of recorded cases of tick-borne diseases. Thus reducing the deer herd — the larger animals that are essential in the life cycle of the deer tick and other ticks — offers the greatest chance for reducing the incidence of these diseases.

American Eagle flight strikes deer on takeoff in Pennsylvania, USA Today, Oct 24, 2018An American Eagle regional jet departing from a small Pennsylvania airport aborted its takeoff Tuesday morning after striking a deer. None of the 43 passengers or three crew on the flight from Williamsport to Philadelphia were hurt, according to PennLive.com.

Rochester Hills continues to wrestle with overpopulation of deer, C&G, Oct 23, 2018Although deer-related car crashes are on a downward trend in Rochester Hills, city officials said motorists should be on high alert for the next three months. “We are culling deer every year,” Rochester Hills City Council President Mark Tisdel said. “We’re simply doing it with automobiles and not other methods. It’s a fact.”

Each year in Michigan, there are nearly 50,000 reported deer-car crashes, according to the Michigan State Police. Around 80 percent of the accidents occur on two-lane roads between dusk and dawn, and police say the most serious crashes occur when motorists swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or a fixed object, or when their vehicle rolls over.

Wild deer approved for human consumption as animal numbers rocket across Victoria, ABC Australia, Oct 22, 2108Farmers and scientists are welcoming all avenues that can be explored to reduce deer numbers. But they agreed the harvesting of wild deer meet would not be sufficient to control Australia’s deer population. A national deer control strategy has also recently launched, with five states and territories on board.

Michigan warns of PFAS levels in deer around Air Force base, MLive, Oct 19, 2918The state of Michigan has issued a “Do Not Eat” advisory for deer meat taken within a five-mile radius of a wetland area contaminated by some of the highest levels of toxic PFAS chemicals found in Michigan’s environment.

EHD found in Minnesota captive deer herd, Feedstuffs, Oct 19, 2018“This virus is transmitted between deer by biting midges, or gnats, which are most active in the fall before they are killed by the first frost of the season,” MBAH senior veterinarian Dr. Mackenzie Reberg said. “These bugs can’t travel far on their own, and we’re concerned by this detection because the herd owner hasn’t moved deer onto the property for several years.”

1st deer with wasting disease found in UP, Detroit Free Press, Oct 18, 2018A 4-year-old doe killed in the Upper Peninsula tested positive for chronic wasting disease, marking the first confirmed case of the incurable and highly contagious diseasein the UP this year.

One of the world’s largest organisms is shrinking, Science, Oct 17, 2018The Pando aspen grove, located in central Utah, is the largest organism on the planet by weight. From the surface, it may look like a forest that spans more than 100 U.S. football fields, but each tree shares the exact same DNA and is connected to its clonal brethren through an elaborate underground root system. Scientists first noticed the Pando shrinking in the late ’90s. They suspected elk, cattle, and most prominently deer were eating the new shoots, so in the new study Rogers and colleagues divided the forest into three experimental groups. One section was completely unfenced, allowing animals to forage freely on the baby aspen. A second section was fenced and left alone. And a third section was fenced and then treated in some places with strategies to spur aspen growth, such as shrub removal and controlled burning; in other places it was left untreated. The results were surprising: Simply keeping the deer out was enough to allow the grove to successfully recover, the team reports today in PLOS ONE. Even in the fenced-off plots where there was no burning or shrub removal, young trees were thriving.

‘Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss, Washington Post, Oct 15, 2018Thirty-five percent of the world’s plant crops require pollination by bees, wasps and other animals. And arthropods are more than just pollinators. They’re the planet’s wee custodians, toiling away in unnoticed or avoided corners. They chew up rotting wood and eat carrion. “And none of us want to have more carcasses around,” Schowalter said. Wild insects provide $57 billion worth of six-legged labor in the United States each year, according to a 2006 estimate.

The loss of insects and arthropods could further rend the rain forest’s food web, Lister warned, causing plant species to go extinct without pollinators. “If the tropical forests go it will be yet another catastrophic failure of the whole Earth system,” he said, “that will feed back on human beings in an almost unimaginable way.”

Ban On Baiting Part Of Michigan’s New Hunting Rules To Stop ‘Vampire Deer’, Radio.com, Oct 15, 2018Michigan officials have approved a series of deer hunting regulations intended to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease. Among the new rules is an immediate ban on baiting and feeding deer in the 16-county area of southern and central Michigan identified as the CWD Management Zone. Also imposed immediately was a statewide ban on natural deer urine-based lures and attractants not approved by the Archery Trade Association.

N.S. town permits bow hunting to fight urban deer dilemma, CTV News, Oct 13, 2018To combat a growing urban deer population, the town of Truro, Nova Scotia will be allowing hunting within its boundaries as of Monday. Only bows and crossbows will be permitted for the hunt, which has been limited to portions of the town’s sprawling watershed area.

* Chuck Martin: Got Deer (*!?@#!!)It turns out that an average adult deer can nibble its way through about a ton and half of food a year. That means that seedlings, buds and flowers have little defense against a herd of hungry deer. With the increase of herds into suburban neighborhoods, deer damage on our favorite plants has become a major concern. Not only deer feeding is a concern for the homeowner’s garden but the bucks are rubbing 1- to 3-inch diameter trees in order to show off their scent. The bucks are using their antlers to rub off the bark of a small tree and often killing these plants just to show off their masculinity.

Deer Health: The Link Between Water And Deer Disease, Grandview Outdoors, Oct 11, 2018When infected by blue tongue or epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), it sets up a potentially grueling demise for whitetails. Symptoms of these similar diseases appear within a week of being bitten — usually in the moist areas of the inner nose or eyelids — by a virus-carrying midge. The transmitter of these two similar diseases, Culicoides variipennis, a biting midge fly 0.5 mm long, lays its eggs in mud or sand on the edge of water. Adults emerge from larvae usually in the hot, dry months of August-September. Though adults live only about a month, the larvae can survive a year, thriving on decaying organic matter in their birthplace.

Northeastern US seeks to prevent arrival of deer disease , Phys.org, Oct 7, 2018Since it was first recognized in captive mule deer in Colorado about 50 years ago, chronic wasting disease has slowly spread to more than two dozen states and a number of Canadian provinces. States have spent millions trying to halt that from happening.

What will we do with all the deer, Iowa City Press-Citizen, Oct 7, 2018“Obviously, nobody wants to kill anything or most people don’t, but it’s a necessary evil kind of thing,” said Chris Whitmore, Iowa City Animal Services coordinator. “The population is way out of control. We are trying to do the best for the deer and the residents.” According to data provided by the Iowa City Police Department, between 2015 and 2016, the incidents of vehicle accidents related to deer jumped from 34 to 54. In the last five years alone, property damage caused by these wrecks nearly doubled.

Lyme-disease research in Howard County seeks best ways to reduce tick populations, Washington Post, Oct 4, 2018From woodlands to neighborhood backyards, mice are everywhere, even if usually unseen. But Hummell aims to capture dozens of them as part of a five-year effort by U-Md. and other researchers to figure out how best to reduce tick populations and, they hope, Lyme disease. Contrary to the popular belief that deer are the primary source of the disease spread by ticks, researchers say, it is mice that usually first infect young ticks with the bacteria that causes Lyme. Once the young ticks feed off the mice, they will drop off, grow into adults and then attach to a larger mammal such as a human or a deer on which they will continue to grow and reproduce.

Report: Deer crashes up in Michigan, down nationwide, WILX.com, Oct 4, 2018A new report from State Farm Insurance shows deer crashes are up in 2018 for Michigan. Michigan moved up to No. 8 on the nationwide list, with a one-in-80 chance of hitting a deer with your car. It was one-in-85 a year ago. According to State Farm, nearly 88,000 deer claims were reported between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018. The number of crashes reported in our state rose from 46,870 in 2016 to 50,949 in 2017. Not all insurance claims are accompanied by a crash report, hence the different numbers.

8 things to know about Michigan deer-vehicle crashes, MLive, Oct 1, 2018One of six Michigan traffic accidents in 2017 were caused by a collision with a deer. In October and November 2017, it was one in three, according to Michigan State Police data. Michigan had 50,949 collisions involving deer in 2017, plus another 3.056 caused by a driver trying to avoid hitting a deer.

* Be wary of deer traffic this time of year, Caillac News, Oct 1, 2018According to the Michigan State Police, a vehicle-deer crash occurs in the state once every 9.5 minutes and results in about $130 million in damages each year. Michigan is second nationally in deer-vehicle accidents with nearly 50,000 reported vehicle-deer crashes, trailing just Pennsylvania, and about 80 percent of these crashes occur on two-lane roads between dusk and dawn. The most serious crashes occur when motorists swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or a fixed object, or when their vehicle rolls over. In 2016, six people were killed in deer crashes, all on motorcycles. Another, 1072 motorists were injured in deer-vehicle crashes. Though the top 10 counties for deer-car accidents are located downstate, there are many such accidents that occur in the north.

* 53 Michigan communities with most deer-vehicle accidents in 2017, MLive, Oct 2, 2018More than 50,000 Michigan motorists collided with deer in 2017, and such crashes accounted for more than a third of crashes in October and November, according to Michigan State Police data. Deer-vehicle crashes injured more than 1,200 people and killed 17 in 2016. Below are the 53 Michigan cities and townships that had at least 85 deer-vehicle accidents last year, along with Google maps showing the locations of those crashes.

* Do Car Deer Whistles Work?, Livewire, Oct 3, 2018It’s only natural to look for ways to avoid deer collisions, and many people swear that devices like deer whistles really do work. However, all available evidence appears to favor proven car safety technologies, and techniques like defensive driving, as more effective at avoiding deer collisions than deer whistles.

* Managed Deer Hunt, WSCC, Sept 2018The purpose of this plan is to continue the established framework for reducing deer damage to watershed forests and surrounding property, given the lack of native canopy species recruitment and documented depredation to adjacent landscaping and agriculture. Although these managed hunts are not designed as a recreational opportunity, it is important to note that public interest and participation in our Program is very high. The Program is a management tool in areas where deer have exceeded the carrying capacity of the available habitat.

* Do the bumper-mounted deer whistles sold to help alert whitetails really work?, Deer + Deer Hunting, Nov 17, 2017Based upon the observed response of 319 deer, the researchers concluded the pure tones did not alter deer behavior in such a way as to prevent deer-vehicle collisions. In other words, the simulated sounds of deer whistles were no more effective than no sound at all. Overall, 54 percent to 71 percent of the observations were classified as neutral, meaning more than half the time deer did not alter their behavior in response to the test vehicle. Only the lowest frequency tested (.28 kHz) produced a significant response. And that was unfavorable, because deer were more likely to enter the roadway in response to the treatment.

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