A bevy of regulations related to chronic wasting disease and white-tailed deer management were passed by the Natural Resources Commission during July’s meeting and will be implemented for the 2019 hunting season.
The meeting was held at the MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Lansing. Every NRC meeting is streamed live through MUCC’s Facebook page. If you missed this month’s meeting, feel free to watch it here.
The NRC Policy Committee on Wildlife and Fisheries kicked off the day. Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter’s update featured BASSMASTER’s annual top 100 Bass Lakes with the following Michigan Lakes that made it into the top 100:
- Lake St. Clair – Top 10 in the nation
- Burt/Mullett Lakes
- Bays de Noc
- Saginaw Bay
- Lake Charlevoix
- Grand Traverse Bays
Dexter also highlighted the Habitat Management Unit’s Stream Habitat Workshop and eDNA work for invasive carp detection.
MDNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason’s update featured the Bang for YOUR buck initiative and included information about Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. Dan O’Brien, MDNR wildlife epidemiologist, gave an update on CWD. His update highlighted the importance of prevention in areas where CWD has not been detected and how baiting and feeding create human-driven circumstances that make it more likely that the disease can be established or spread.
The NRC Committee of the Whole began with a director’s report from MDNR Director Dan Eichinger. To kickoff his report, Eichinger presented the Partner’s in Conservation award to Steve Wyckoff for his years of conservation public service and volunteerism with Ducks Unlimited and his work with MUCC and the Conservation Coalition.
Mason and MDNR Deer Specialist Chad Stewart gave an update on CWD regulations with reference to the department’s stance on proposed regulations and commissioner-offered amendments.
Commissioners took action on CWD regulations. Regulations that were approved by commissioners include:
Definition and timing of baiting
- The definition of bait was changed to include “for consumption only,” so that scented materials not accessible or intended for consumption would be allowed.
- The date for deer baiting has been changed. In areas where baiting is allowed (or in the case of hunters with disabilities as indicated below), baiting can occur five days before and during the second Saturday Liberty Hunt in September and through the remainder of all deer seasons.
Hunters with Disabilities
- During the Liberty (2 days) and Independence hunts (4 days), hunters with disabilities are allowed to bait in all areas, including CWD management and CWD Core Zone closed to baiting. No more than 2 gallons of single-bite baits can be used at a time in a CWD management area.
The Liberty Hunt
- The Liberty Hunt has been moved to the second weekend in September. The 2019 Liberty hunt will now be September 14-15 instead of September 21-22.
Antler Point Restrictions in the Lower Peninsula
- A 4-point antler point restriction has been placed on all deer licenses and deer combination licenses for Mecosta, Montcalm and Ionia counties. This does not apply to qualified participants in the Liberty (youth and hunters with disabilities) or Independence Hunt (hunters with disabilities).
Antler Point Restrictions in the U.P.
- APRs are removed in the Core CWD Surveillance Area of the Upper Peninsula
Baiting and Feeding in the U.P.
- Baiting and Feeding is banned in the Core CWD Surveillance Area of the Upper Peninsula. Hunters with disabilities have an exemption and are allowed to bait during the Liberty and Independence hunts.
Reinstate Antlerless Option During Archery Season in the U.P.
- The antlerless option has been reinstated during archery deer season for hunters hunting on the deer license or deer combo license in areas open to antlerless licenses.
Use of Crossbows in the U.P.
- Crossbows are allowed in the late archery season in the Core CWD Surveillance Area.
Lower Peninsula CWD Management Zone
- Barry, Lenawee and Midland counties are added to the CWD Management Zone.
Salvage Permit Deer Movement Restrictions within the Core CWD Area.
- Carcasses can be transported outside of the county in which they were killed as long as it does not contain any part of the spinal column or head attached, removal of all brain matter and tissue of the skull cap.
The amended Wildlife Conservation Order can be found here.
For Action – Director
Director Eichinger signed the following:
Regulate Target Shooting in Grand Traverse County
- This order formally designates the Supply Road Range as a department shooting range and closes Hoosier Valley area to all target shooting.
Campsites on Beaver Island State Wildlife Area
- Motorized vehicles are not allowed in the designated camp area unless otherwise posted.
As a reminder, baiting and feeding in the lower peninsula is illegal year round with the exception of hunters with qualifying disabilities during the Liberty and Independence hunts.