The July 12, 2018 Natural Resources Commission was another display of passionate discussion about necessary hunting regulations, metrics, and management and education activities to contain the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan.
The proposed Wildlife Conservation Order Amendment 12 of 2018 (MUCC summary available here) has been up for discussion for the last 2 months and is planned for NRC action at their August 9 meeting. In light of the feedback NRC members have been receiving, they have requested that the DNR prepare further amendments to the order that could be voted on as they approve the final set of regulations.
Chair Vicki Pontz asked, on behalf of the NRC, that the DNR update the current proposed order for action on August 9 to remove the proposed October antlerless firearm hunt in the CWD Management Zone and add Jackson, Calhoun, and Hillsdale Counties to the 13-County CWD Management Zone (Making it a 16-county zone).
The rest of the NRC members offered possible further amendments for consideration. It is important to note that some of these are in conflict with one another, so it will be up to each individual commissioner to decide how they want to vote on these various options before them. Public feedback on the options before them is critical in the next three weeks, find the NRC contact information here.
Proposed Amendments to the Chronic Wasting Disease Regulations (by NRC Commissioner who proposed it):
- Resume the antlerless harvest option on a deer license during archery season for 6 southern Upper Peninsula Deer Management Units (DMUs 122, 055, 255, 155, 121, and 022)
- Expand the proposed discounted expiring antlerless license to the TB Zone, DMUs 487 and 452.
Rex Schlaybaugh, Wildlife and Fisheries Committee Chair
- Create a whole deer carcass transport restriction (unless checked and tested) for the counties in the CWD Management Zone outside of the 5-County Core Area (which already has a carcass transport restriction proposed). Deboned meat and other products (without brain or spinal matter) would be allowed to move without checking the deer.
- Require that an assigned lottery license expire if not purchased by the hunter by November 1st and reissue leftovers over the counter.
- Establish targeted antlerless harvest goals by DMU in the CWD Management Zone. Create an Antler Point Restriction (likely 3+ on a side) on the deer license and add an APR to the unrestricted tag of the combination license for the entire CWD Management Zone (the current proposal keeps the 4+ on a side APR for the restricted tag of the combination license). These APRs would be removed if there is a failure to meet the targeted antlerless harvest goals established.
- Remove restrictions from antlered deer licenses in the CWD Management Zone and TB area, allowing hunters to harvest does on the deer tags with any hunting method
- Remove APR (4+ on a side) from the restricted deer tag in the CWD Management Zone and TB Area.
- Eliminate the carcass movement restrictions (unless checked and tested) from the 5 county Core Area and create a restriction only in the 7 counties where CWD has been detected (Ingham, Clinton, Kent, Montcalm, Ionia, Mecosta, Jackson). Unless checked and tested, whole carcass could not be moved to or through any county that CWD has not been detected. Deboned meat and other allowed products can still be transported without restriction.
- Change the proposed feeding and baiting restrictions:
- Create a deer feeding ban in the CWD Management Zone
- Ban baiting in the 7 counties where CWD has been detected
- Restrict baiting to only 2 gallons of shelled corn in the remainder of the CWD Management Zone