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Tag Archive | "Mecosta County"

Man sentenced following DNR investigation


 

Game ranch owner falsified information related to chronic wasting disease testing 

A Mecosta County game ranch owner has been sentenced on charges resulting from an investigation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division, in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Lester Jay Gemmen, 64, of Morley, was charged with providing false information regarding the origin of two deer heads that were submitted for disease testing, and for failing to properly maintain fencing at the Super G Ranch. The ranch is a privately owned cervid (POC) facility, a designation that includes game ranches and hunting ranches.

He was sentenced by the 77th District Court to 60 days in jail for each count, ordered to pay $775 in fines and costs and must perform 80 hours of community service.

The investigation began in 2017 after two of the six deer heads submitted by Gemmen tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

“I commend the detectives from our Special Investigations Unit and our field conservation officers for their thorough, professional approach to this investigation,” said 1st Lt. David Shaw, supervisor of the Special Investigations Unit of the DNR Law Enforcement Division.

The facility’s remaining deer were depopulated and tested, but no further evidence of CWD was found. The facility remains under quarantine, currently preventing ownership of farmed cervids.

The Privately Owned Cervid Program is jointly managed by the DNR and MDARD. There is mandatory CWD testing in all registered herds in Michigan, under the oversight of MDARD. The DNR oversees POC registration and performs inspections of POC facilities. Proper maintenance of POC facilities is critical to protecting Michigan’s free-ranging and privately owned cervid herds.

CWD is a fatal central nervous system disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It attacks the brain of infected animals, creating small lesions in the brain, which result in death. It is transmitted through direct animal-to-animal contact or by contact with saliva, urine, feces, blood, carcass parts of an infected animal or infected soil. To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by humans or domestic animals.

Since May 2015, CWD-positive deer have been found in Michigan. As of mid-March 2018, 57 free-ranging deer have tested positive for the disease. CWD has not been found in the Upper Peninsula, though it has been discovered in Wisconsin, approximately 40 miles from the western Upper Peninsula border.

The DNR is working with stakeholders to address the status of CWD in Michigan. In the coming weeks, the DNR and the Michigan Natural Resources Commission will host a series of public engagement meetings across the state on CWD. The sessions will provide hunters, business owners and residents with opportunities to share their ideas and observations.

In addition, the DNR, NRC and MDARD are evaluating recommendations from the CWD Working Group, which was created after last year’s CWD Symposium. The symposium brought national and international experts to Michigan to discuss CWD. During the coming months, the DNR, NRC and MDARD will work with stakeholders to develop new CWD regulation recommendations.  

Visit www.michigan.gov/cwd for more information about the disease, preventive measures and the public meeting schedule.

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DNR seeks info on bald eagle death


Bald eagles are no longer endangered, but they are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. This eagle was spotted a few weeks ago in Solon Township. Photo by J. August.

Anyone with a tip should call or text the Report All Poaching line

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are asking for citizen assistance with an investigation into the death of a bald eagle in Mecosta County.

On Thursday, March 1, conservation officers were called to the vicinity of 20 Mile Road near Grant Center in Grant Township, where the mature bald eagle was discovered. The bird was lodged in the limbs of a large tree near the road.

Officers recovered the eagle, which had sustained a traumatic injury. It will undergo a necropsy at the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Lansing. Lab results may be used to confirm a cause of death and provide evidence that will be critical to the investigation.

“Bald eagles are a majestic, protected species. It’s important we resolve this case and that any violators are held accountable,” said 1st Lt. John Jurcich, district supervisor for the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “The public’s cooperation often makes a positive difference in these types of investigations. We value our partnership with the communities we serve and ask that anyone with information do their part by reporting it.”

Anyone with information is asked to call or text the Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at 800-292-7800. The RAP line is a convenient, effective way for citizens to report the illegal taking of fish or game, or damage to the state›s natural resources. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

An individual offering information that leads to a successful conviction may be eligible for a reward through the RAP program. While citizens can remain anonymous, they must provide their names if they wish to be eligible for a reward.

The penalty for killing a bald eagle is up to 90 days in jail, a fine ranging from $100 to $1,000, or both; and reimbursement to the state of $1,500 per eagle.

Learn more about eagles and other bird species at www.allaboutbirds.org/.

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CWD identified in a Mecosta County farmed deer


 

Chronic wasting disease was confirmed this week in a one-and-a-half-year-old female deer from a Mecosta County deer farm. CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose. The sample was submitted for testing as a part of the state’s CWD surveillance program.

“The deer farmer who submitted the sample has gone above and beyond any state requirements to protect their deer from disease, and it is unknown at this time how this producer’s herd became infected with CWD,” said Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development State Veterinarian James Averill, DVM. “In partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we are taking the necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of all of Michigan’s deer populations.”

“What we know about CWD is always evolving,” said DNR state wildlife veterinarian, Kelly Straka, DVM. “As new positives are found, we learn more about how it’s transmitted to determine the best way to protect both free-ranging and farmed deer.”

MDARD and DNR are following the Michigan Surveillance and Response Plan for Chronic Wasting Disease of Free-Ranging and Privately Owned Cervids. The positive farm has been quarantined and, based on the plan, DNR and MDARD will take the following steps:

*Conduct trace investigations to find possible areas of spread.

*Identify deer farms within the 15-mile radius and implement individual herd plans that explain the CWD testing requirements and movement restrictions for each herd. These herds will also undergo a records audit and fence inspection.

*Partner with the USDA on the management of the herd.

CWD is transmitted directly from one animal to another and indirectly through the environment. Infected animals may display abnormal behavior, progressive weight loss and physical debilitation. To date, there have been no reported cases of CWD infection in humans. However, as a precaution, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend that infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.

Since May 2015, when the first free-ranging white-tailed CWD positive deer was found in Michigan, the DNR has tested approximately 23,000 deer. Of those tested, as of December 6, 30 cases of CWD have been suspected or confirmed in deer from Clinton, Ingham, Kent and Montcalm counties. This is the first year any free-ranging deer were found CWD positive in Montcalm or Kent counties.

More information about CWD—including Michigan’s CWD surveillance and response plan—is available at  http://www.michigan.gov/cwd.

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DNR to answer questions about CWD in Mecosta County 


 

Feb. 22 town hall meeting in Morley

The Michigan departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) recently announced the finding of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a Mecosta County deer farm facility.

There are two upcoming opportunities for interested landowners, hunters and deer farmers to get the latest information and ask questions about this finding:

For deer farmers – Wednesday, Feb. 1
MDARD will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. at the Big Rapids Holiday Inn, 1005 Perry Ave., Big Rapids.

For hunters and area landowners – Wednesday, Feb. 22
The DNR will host a town hall meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Morley Stanwood High School Cafetorium, 4700 Northland Drive, Morley.

At the Feb. 22 meeting, local DNR wildlife biologist Pete Kailing, DNR deer management specialist Chad Stewart and DNR wildlife veterinarian Kelly Straka will present information on CWD, its effects on deer and deer populations, and the DNR’s CWD response to date. Following presentations, the panel will welcome questions.

“I have been getting many calls from hunters from the area, who want to understand our next steps,” said Stewart. “We scheduled our meeting a few weeks out in order to be able to share the most complete information available. When battling a disease like CWD, it is critical that local hunters and landowners are on board to help with the fight. We are thankful for the great cooperation we have received so far.”

CWD affects members of the deer family, including elk and moose. It is caused by the transmission of infectious, self-multiplying proteins (prions) contained in saliva and other body fluids of infected animals.

To date, there is no evidence the disease presents any risk to non-cervids including humans, either through contact with an infected animal or from handling venison. As a precaution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization recommend infected animals not be consumed as food by either humans or domestic animals.

To learn more about CWD, visit www.michigan.gov/cwd.

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Catch of the Week


OUT-Catch-Savickas-newSince they were not able to obtain a turkey hunting license, Anthony and Linda Savickas decided to take their sons, Ian and Tyler, pike fishing in Mecosta County in early May. It turned out to be a good choice. Tyler, 16, caught this northern pike, which weighed in at 20 pounds and 43-1/2 inches. His parents had it mounted for him, with friends and relatives pitching in to help create a nice keepsake for him.

Way to go Tyler, you made the Post Catch of the Week!

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Missing three-year-old found


A three-year-old Montcalm County girl was missing for three hours Monday before being found by police.

According to Howard City Police Chief Steven DeWitt, the Howard City Police Department was dispatched to an area in the 11,000 block of North Federal Hwy, in Reynolds Township on Monday, March 21, on a report of a 3-year-old missing girl, in a heavily wooded area. The child had wandered away from a guardian while going for a walk in the woods near the residence, and had been missing for about an hour.

A telephone alert system was used to automatically notify persons in the surrounding area of the missing child, and an Amber alert was issued to alert the general public.

The Michigan State Police, Montcalm County Sheriff Department and the Mecosta Co. Sheriff Department assisted Howard City Police. Over a dozen police officers were at the scene assisting in the search.

At one point, helicopters from the Michigan State Police and the U.S. Coast Guard were requested for assistance, as well as K-9 “Rock” tracking unit from the Michigan State Police Ionia Post, and tracking dogs from the Mid Michigan Working dogs volunteer organization.

The child was located by utilizing a K9 unit and searchers calling out her name. The child responded and was found behind a distant tree.

She was found about one mile from the residence, after wandering through a heavily wooded, swampy area. The child appeared to have crossed a stream at one point and was found soaking wet.

The victim was transported to a local hospital to be treated for exposure by  Montcalm County Ambulance. The victim appeared otherwise ok and told searchers that she “was lost” and “looking for home.”

The case remains open pending investigation.

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