MUCC, Nugent face off over baiting white-tailed deer and HB 4687

Baiting deer took center stage this morning as Ted Nugent passionately and candidly claimed he was not a scientist or biologist on the subject — but someone who lives with deer — in front of the House Committee on Government Operations.

Nugent, who testified next to Rep. Michelle Hoitenga (R-Manton) and Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), used a myriad of social issues to prop up his claim that the ban on baiting is not founded in science and that House Bill 4687, sponsored by Hoitenga, should be passed.

HB 4687 mirrors SB 037, sponsored by Sen. VanderWall, and attempts to circumvent Proposal G, a 1996 ballot referendum, and the use of sound, scientific research to manage our game species by allowing the use of baiting and feeding for white-tailed deer in Michigan.

In total, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has compiled 162 peer-reviewed, scientific articles to support their recommendations to the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) on the management of white-tailed deer in Michigan in the face of disease — particularly, chronic wasting disease (CWD).

This literature review, along with the 2017 Michigan CWD Working Group recommendations as well as the 2018 “Best Management Practices” released in 2018 from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, supports a prohibition on baiting and feeding cervids.

Nugent, Hoitenga and VanderWall did not provide any scientific literature or information to the committee to support the trio’s arguments.

“I have given you no opinions here today…if they [scientists] think they can stop deer from swapping spit, they’re idiots. I’d recommend they stay in the lab, wear their white jackets and shut up,” Nugent said. “Let people who live with the deer make decisions based on what the deer do.”

The NRC, through Proposal G, is responsible for determining the manner and method of take of game species in Michigan. The Legislature has granted the NRC the ability to regulate deer and elk feeding through statute. HB 4687 and SB 037 would rescind these authorities and allow the baiting and feeding of cervids to continue unregulated.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) Executive Director Amy Trotter testified in opposition to the bill, citing expansive scientific knowledge and recommendations from the scientific community across the United States.

“We have clear and consistent science that shows baiting and feeding of white-tailed deer is a human factor that contributes to the spread of chronic wasting disease,” Trotter said. “Deer naturally congregate, MUCC doesn’t dispute that, but we can control congregating them over bait placed in the field by hunters.”

CWD is a prion disease that is transmitted through bodily fluids including saliva, feces, urine and blood. The incubation period of CWD is three years, so deer that are sick do not appear sick and can spread the disease. There is currently no known cure or vaccine, and the Center for Disease Control recommends people do not consume deer that test positive for CWD.

CWD is also considered an environmental contaminant because the prions bind to the soil and can then be transmitted to cervids.

MUCC has opposed baiting and feeding of white-tailed deer since 2007; but, it does support supplemental feeding in the Upper Peninsula during particularly severe winters. The organization reviews their policy positions at their annual convention each June using the best available information.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs supports the DNR’s recommendation and the NRC’s decision to forego baiting and feeding of white-tailed deer in the face of chronic wasting disease.

When asked about whether conservationists used bait, Trotter said that conservationists span all walks of life and all different types of hunting styles — from the weekend warrior to Ted Nugent.

“MUCC does not wish to criticize hunters who have baited in the past, but we feel it is our job as a conservation organization to help hunters understand the risk and educate them on new, legal methods of hunting,” Trotter said. “The health of our deer herd must come first so that the next generation of hunters are afforded the same opportunities we were.”

Michigan United Conservation Clubs is the largest state-specific conservation organization in the nation with more than 40,000 members and 200 affiliate clubs. MUCC is focused on uniting citizens to conserve, protect and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage.


  1. Bob on September 17, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    This ban is hurting many small business owners in the hunting industry as well.

    • Matt W on September 25, 2019 at 4:46 pm

      It’s hurting Youth Hunts, Public Land Deer Tag sales, the MI Hunting Industry and incentive for continuing the decline of Hunters in MI.

      Wheres the transparency, accountability and public voting for these “To BIG” agencies the blunder more than they serve to help?

  2. Douglas Martindale on September 17, 2019 at 3:32 pm


    • Matt W on September 25, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      Whether you need to Bait in your setting or not should be a free-choice of the hunter. Mandating a choice is wrong. BAITING has not been proven to accelerate or impact the spread of CWD. only TB!!

      The BAN will minimize Public Land Tag sales much more this year! Private tag will increase because of the Food Plot option only.

  3. Kevin Kuzera on September 17, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Good job MUCC. Stay the course to defeat HB4687 and SB 037.

    • Matt W on September 25, 2019 at 4:29 pm

      MUCC is in bed with Lansing, not really representing the MI Hunter!

  4. George Kilander on September 17, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    They say the health of the deer herd comes first hmmmmmmmm what about the snipers they use over corn feeders and such!!! They’re breaking their own law!!!! The deer they don’t shoot eats out of the same corn feeder you people are hypocrites!!! You don’t care about the well being of the animals you solely care about lining your filled pockets with our licence dollars I hope you all fail with this ban and lose millions!! Since when has deer hunting become so political!!! In my eyes the MUCC and The DNR are Democratic run!! And I feel sorry for the officers that have to enforce your stupid laws I stand with Ted Nugent and Curt Vanderwall on this bait debate!!!!

    • Matt Wheaton on September 27, 2019 at 5:01 pm

      It should be illegal to hunt on the edge of farmers fields with produce growing in them!! That style hunting isn’t authentic either anymore than hunting a bait pile.
      And as for MORE regulations bring the answer, they don’t have enough officers on the payroll to enforce them per county for what they mandate to be monitored and enforced.

  5. Dennis Roberts on September 17, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    How can you stop baiting on public land but those that own land can leave crops or food plots for deer. Do you think that deer won’t congregate on private land and spread CWD. What the hunters are allowed to use is miniscule to what land owners can leave. It looks more like those that don’t oun private land are the only ones it will effect.

    • Matt W on September 27, 2019 at 5:09 pm

      Where’s the EXPERT reasoning and explanation for the allowance to BAIT in the UP , but not in the northern LP? This seems very problematic.

  6. Jerry on September 17, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Believe me, some scientist in a lab can’t teach me anything I don’t already know about whitetail deer behavior. They naturally use licking branches and herds use natural food/water sources in their home ranges. They lick each other for crying out loud. You people are morons.

  7. Jim Adams on September 17, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Sorry, I agree with Ted. Until you can show how baiting deer causes them to congragate more than a bean field, apple orchard or acorns for that matter you are being hypocritical.

  8. Kerry Stout on September 17, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Leave deer management to wildlife professionals. That’s what they are hired to do. Leave politicians, and emotional game law violators, like Ted Nugent out of it!

    • Matt W on September 27, 2019 at 4:56 pm

      A lot of the mess we have in wildlife management was made by the professionals/experts blunders over the years!! No accountability for it either, just swept under and progress forward like it never happened.

  9. Paul Anderson on September 17, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Ted is 100% right! We are losing adult hunters by the thousands year after year because of the cost and complexity of the laws. Now we can’t bait?!?! People only have limited time to get out and hunt and if you want their tourism dollars you better not make it so hard to invest in the little downs all over this state. Why have a youth hunt to promote hunting if their aren’t any adults to take them hunting. Let nature be nature and stop with the science that doesn’t apply.

  10. Michael on September 17, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Well then let’s just get rid of all the farmers fields then. While your at it cut down any and all apple trees. Any one with any common sense would see that it does not matter if you say no baiting. The deer still have to eat and will still be sharing food that is out there. Keep the portions to two gallons if you want. Just let them bait. It makes no sense.

  11. Franz Neruda on September 17, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Your key words are, “the disease is thought to be transmitted through saliva , feces , urine and blood “ ! So according to you’re THOUGHT , you have no clue to how the disease is spread . So if the deer are breeding according to your train of thought , they will breed their way into extinction due the exchange of bodily fluids. All your actions are knee jerk reactions , I will no longer support MUCC in anyway shape or form .

  12. R. J. Branham on September 17, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    Well I think if you don’t want baiting you need to stop the farmers from growing hay,beans and corn that the deer feed on all summer,spring and fall

    • Matt W on September 27, 2019 at 5:34 pm

      They’d sure scream if they were enforced to put 10′ fences around their Fields!! However, Farmers have more representation than Deer Hunters!

  13. Karl Kellner on September 17, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    I agree with Ted bait ban has not slowed TB in deer .

  14. Curtis Stone on September 17, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    “162 peer-reviewed study’s” equate to nothing more than opinion pieces supporting an agenda.
    Does baiting promote the spread of disease? Common sense says absolutely. But NO more than “bait plots” or other natural feeding habits. What could really expand CWD is the further reduction of harvest created by fewer hunters and fewer opportunities for harvest created by bait, creating over populations.

  15. Peter Tazelaar on September 17, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Why doesn’t MUCC have a member vote on this?

  16. Jeremiah on September 17, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    What about the findings of the scientist in Pennsylvania that claims the incubation period is only 12-18 months and it isn’t a prion based disease and found the actual cause of CWD is a newly discovered spiral bacterium and claims this same bacteria is also directly linked to a few human diseases

    • Another Bob on September 22, 2019 at 10:57 am

      Yup. Allocate the funds for research (science). Michiganders worked hard to eliminate the emotional decisions enacted into law by anti-hunting groups and other special interest groups. Now some want to throw out the scientific method so they can hunt over a pile of bait and reap some short term financial gains. Science studies may not address all of the relevant factors, but it is better than what we were doing before. “Science…… We don’t need no freaking SCIENCE!” Someone’s money or personal interest should not be deciding what happens with Michigan’s resources.

  17. Steve Valley on September 17, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Pass HB4687 baiting can be used to find sick deer and take them out of the herd. cameras can be used over the bait to look for and help find sick deer. Deer are more likely to go to bait than by chance of getting them on trail camps on a trail. Trail cams are placed on bait to find out what is out in the woods(area) let hunters help get sick deer out of the herd!!!!!!

  18. Miranda on September 17, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    If Mr. Nugent is such a mighty hunter and ‘lives with the deer’ then he should know them well enough to be able to hunt the animal without baiting. A person that is in the public’s eye should not try to use their image and throw a tantrum in order to get their way. Facts, good solid scientific facts will win the argument; not your opinion.

    • Matt W on September 27, 2019 at 5:37 pm

      The jury is still out on SOLID scientific unbais facts. Many of them cannot agree with each other unless it impacts their research funding.

  19. Scott on September 17, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Sorry, The MUCC doesn’t speak for all Michigan hunters..I believe if a poll was taken,Michigan unaffiliated hunters would out number Michigan MUCC members ..All I See is Michigan hunters input being ignored often.This is just like the apr’s…Just promotes trophy hunting..We have hunters out there thinking they deserve to see and harvest big bucks every time they go out..As Fred Bear said years ago…If your goal is to harvest a big buck,You missed point of what hunting is about. I will not support MUCC.

  20. Gary Dahlquist on September 17, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Don’t lesson to Nugent, he is a loud mouth that really doesn’t know what he is talking about. Michigan needs to go back to be a no bait state! If you can not harvest a deer with out beating, then you are not a ethnical hunter! Michigan should of never allowed baiting to begin with! All the fuss is mainly do to the various establishments that sell bait, profiting of the sales. If baiting is to continue, then much should reap at least 60 percent of all bait sales! Make it worth while, otherwise, ban baiting once and for all and do not be influenced by old rock stars who as well can’t harvest an Animal with bait (watch is program, bait, bait, bait).

    • Jerry on September 20, 2019 at 3:22 pm

      *spell check* or don’t use so much emotion when you type.

  21. Dave Windsor on September 17, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Keep up the work! I can’t believe Kurt is sponsoring a bill to undermine the work of the DNR!

    • Matt W on September 25, 2019 at 4:32 pm

      Because the MUCC, NRC and DNR are basing their tactics and Bans on opinion and unproven theories instead of unbias true science. Too Many MUCC people in the NRC & DNR following anagenda of their own!

  22. Chad on September 17, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    Way to go mucc protect our resources!

    • Matt W on September 27, 2019 at 5:11 pm

      Where’s that when allowing Cougars & Wolves into the mix???

  23. Lloyd Rapelje on September 17, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    MUCC has always been against baiting deer. The problem is the deer herd is not being managed they are over populated and nothing is being done to control/manage the deer herd. Nature has a way of controlling the population and it is happening. If the DNR/NRC was serious about managing the deer herd they would do more than set “targets”. In the county I hunt the doe permits have been over 5000 for the last five years and at the end of the season there is more then 3000 left over. What do you think happens to the population? Setting these targets does nothing to manage the deer herd. What about mandatory checks so you know how many were harvested. What about reducing the cost of these permits? What about giving grants to meat processors so they can be donated at no cost to process? What this baiting ban has done is ensure less deer are harvested, with no real scientific evidence that other than opinions, as Ted says. So I can plant a food plot and and a deer can eat off leave and the next can do the same, why then is eating a beet any different? Have a rule to spread the bait if a pile is an issue…. It”s a joke. its being done because certain groups are in control of this and its their agenda(and has been) to stop baiting. It will lead to less future hunters and collateral damage are small business owners. I can only hope the legislature will stop this over reach. Oh yea, what about that TB zone, how is that working….that area has been designated for over 10 years any end to this. The end to this DNR management is the eventual end to deer hunting and deer in Michigan as their only priority is fines/fees they don’t have time for real management. MUCC your support is a joke and I would encourage any hunter to stay away from your organization.

    • Matt W on September 27, 2019 at 5:20 pm

      They create less incentive to us work with them(MUCC,DNR,NCR)when they don’t budge from their stance and come to some common ground with hunters. The cost of hunting itself isn’t getting any cheaper. The incentive to hunt is getting exploited by the BIG BUCK/ANTLER POINT FRENZY. Then on top of that, your be-littled if you don’t comply with Food Plots which are costly if done right. A reform in how we hunt is getting more politicized and controlled.

      It encourages MORE un-American GUN CONTROL when hunting becomes less of a reason to have them.

  24. Chris A Tjapkes on September 17, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    MUCC is going to lose a lot of members over this.Deer and other cervids are herd animals. They naturally eat together, herd together and so on. That is a fact all know. In earlier “treatments” for CWD, states like Wisconsin wiped out herds to stop the spread of the disease. Was that scientific? I’ve never hunted over bait, but I think banning it is just about as dumb as shooting a lot of healthy deer to ind out how many deer have CWD.

  25. Dennis Poet on September 18, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Deer congregate at food sources not just bait piles. And what I mean by food sources is cornfields, beanfields, Hardwoods with mass Acorn drops, fruit trees, Clover patches, and so on and so on and so on. Get the point! Baiting should be illegal! I like the idea of spreading it out instead of putting it in one big pile. But other than that you’re not going to stop the transfer of saliva! Makes no sense to me why they do not trust the hunters to make this decision. Let them have a vote!

  26. B on September 21, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    The anti-hunting crowd is having a grand time with this, we as the hunting group will rip each other apart…hunting is going to be endangered…we need to stand together and support our centuries old traditions of harvest to table hunting for whatever species is in season…throughout history deer have been shot over bait, Native Americans did it as sure as Michiganders have done it for years. That includes farm fields, fruit trees, mast trees, water, etc….Yes one can learn other methods of hunting and be successful, but that takes time, of which many of us have a short supply…the bottom line will change drastically the days of 600-700 thousand deer hunters in Michigan and the economic impact they had on the economy are is not rocket science to figure out why the numbers are tanking, raised liscense fees and now this, two of several factors I believe…

  27. Matt W on September 25, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Deer congregate in fields, orchards, gardens and fields. They also congregate closely when yarding up in the winter and in some locations are fed by the very agencies banning us from a few weeks a year of baiting.

  28. Matt W on September 25, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    MUCC is Politically Rogue and Politically & Scientifically Bias. Their politically Correct form of Cnservation is “CONTROL”.

  29. Matt W on September 27, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    22 States out of 50 still allow Baiting, etc. The freedom of choice in style of hunting and managing Deer is less and less each year with Landowners. It’s non-exisitant for us on public lands.

  30. Matt W on September 27, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    MUCC supports and is behind the MICHIGAN OUTDOORS… no wonder the BIAS is weekly presented. The 3 segments presented regarding the Controversy of the BAIT BAN(BB) was incomplete and short-sided. Would’ve been nice to see Dr. James Kroll’s perspective on the show and also, Dr. Frank Sabastian’s input. However, they were not likely ever offered a chance because their views are not inline with MUCC,NRC or the DNR!!

  31. Matt W on September 28, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    Dr. James Kroll sets the record straight on CWD at this year’s ADA 2019 seminar: ** A MUST SEE!!!

  32. Matt W on October 1, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    “An acid found in soil may make a disease killing deer less infectious”
    The incurable neurodegenerative disease is crippling deer, elk and moose populations

    A major compound in soil organic matter degrades chronic wasting disease prions and decreases infectivity in mice, according to a study published November 29 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Judd Aiken of the University of Alberta, and colleagues.

    Chronic wasting disease is an environmentally transmissible, fatal prion disease affecting free-ranging deer, moose, elk and reindeer. It is endemic in North America, present in South Korea and has recently been confirmed in northern Europe. Environmental prion contamination plays a major role in the increasing incidence of chronic wasting disease, with infectivity being released into the environment by decaying carcasses, or through shedding of biological fluids including urine, feces, and saliva. The transmission of chronic wasting disease involves soils as an environmental reservoir of infectivity. Different soil compounds can differentially bind prions and change their infective properties.

    Aiken and colleagues tested the role of a major soil organic matter compound, humic acid, for its ability to bind chronic wasting disease prions and impact infectivity. The researchers examined a wide range of humic acid concentrations, representing the extensive spectrum of humic acid levels present in native soils. The findings suggest that soil organic material degrades chronic wasting disease prions. Incubation of chronic wasting disease prions with high concentrations of humic acids decreased both the chronic wasting disease prion signal and infectivity in mice, whereas lower levels of humic acids did not significantly impact protein stability or infectivity. According to the authors, the study provides new insights into soil-prion interactions, the persistence of prions in soil, and their bioavailability to grazing animals.

    Aiken adds, “CWD is a significant emerging and fatal disease of deer, elk and moose. Given it is shed from infected animals into the environment where it can serve as a source of infection, it is essential that we understand the impact of soil and soil components on this unusual infectious agent.”

  33. Matt W on October 2, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    ** The Question often (or should be) posed by the public or hunters to Wild life Agencies and Researchers regarding CWD is: ” What is your Scientific-Proven Plan?”, “Wheat is your Proven Method of Measuring Success?” , “What’s your End-Game?” ** To date you hear cricket’s chirping and no logical scientific answers!! No wondered we’ve achieved VERY little in the war success against CWD!!

  34. Matt W on October 10, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    ** The Question often (or should be) posed by the public or hunters to Wild life Agencies and Researchers regarding CWD is: ” What is your Scientific-Proven Plan?”, “What is your Proven Method of Measuring Success?” , “What’s your End-Game?” ** To date you hear cricket’s chirping and no logical scientific answers!! No wondered we’ve achieved VERY little in the war success against CWD!!

    They have only an their Agenda, NOT a proven plan, measuring ability or end game! All done without a vote by the public!

  35. Matt W on November 5, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    Plan to Allow Deer Baiting Clears House Committee:

    ** A chance that COMMON SENSE might PREVAIL!

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