Hunter shoots deer with unusual marks

REED CITY — A hunting season usually doesn’t go by without a hunter not seeing something unusual.

That happened again this year with Reed City’s Kevin Spica who brought the buck into the Department of Natural Resources deer check station south of Big Rapids in the rest area off of U.S. 131. He shot it opening day in Osceola County in the Reed City-Evart area. It was an 8-pointer with 14-inch rack span.

“I saw the (conservation officer) out in the woods and he’s never seen one before,” said Spica. “He’s got some skin tags and some warts”

“It’s not real common for sure,” said DNR check station volunteer Jeff Greene.

Spica said it took him 30 seconds to down the deer once he first spotted him.

The DNR’s Al Stewart, a upland game specialist for the DNR, was at the check station and diagnosed what the body marks were called as fibromas.

“It’s bumps on their head,” he said. “He had some on the eyes on and some on the leg.”

Basically, fibromas marks are not threatening for the whitetail deer.

“If it got around the eye where it couldn’t see, that might be an issue,” Stewart said, reading from DNR information on the subject. “It’s just a growth. You see it, but it’s not common. They’re regularly referred to as skin tumors or warts. They’re randomly distributed on deer but appear most frequently about the eyes, neck and legs. They can be single or multiple. Light infections can be one or two, heavy infections can have 25 or more on them.

“How transmission is accomplished in the wild is not known, possibly is through contact of broken skin with infectious materal be it from an infected deer or vegetation that has been rubbed or brushed by an infected deer. The fact that the incident is highest among bucks suggest that fighting is a means of spreading the disease.”

Insect bites could also be a factor, he added.

“They don’t harm the meat, it just looks bad,” Stewart said. “Domestic animals like cattle and dogs are subjected to similar warts of this kind.”

In related DNR news, Stewart said the grouse and woodcock season went well in northern Michigan and the UP

“Grouse and woodcock had been doing well. Woodcock season is closed now. People seem to be finding woodcock out there,” Stewart said. “Woodcok numbers have been pretty good. Grouse, we’re on the downhill side of the cycle. People have reported seeing some good grouse numbers. Generally people were more optimistic about it from what we were seeing and what we were anticipating, being on the low end of the cycle.”