Thumb-area APRs fall short, NRC takes aim at deer regulations in May

Chronic wasting disease regulations and U.P. antlerless deer license quotas are up for information, with fall turkey regulations up for action at the May Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting.

The meeting will take place at Lansing Community College at Gannon Bldg., 422 N. Washington Square, Lansing, MI 48933. If you are unable to attend but would like to watch, check out the MUCC Facebook page! A full agenda for the day can be found here.

The day will kick off at 9 a.m. with the NRC Marketing, Partnership, Youth and Outreach Advisory Committee. The agenda includes a discussion about the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) sustainable forestry campaign. Following the campaign overview, MDNR staff will provide an update on changes to the license sales system. Stay tuned for the NRC recap later in May for what changes are to come. Lastly, MDNR staff will provide an overview of non-resident marketing efforts.

At 10:30 a.m., the NRC Policy Committee on Wildlife and Fisheries will convene. Updates from both the MDNR Wildlife Division and MDNR Fisheries Division will be given by the respective chiefs. The wildlife report will include a USDA Wildlife Services memorandum of agreement, results from the thumb area APR survey, antlerless deer license quotas in the Upper Peninsula, and chronic wasting disease (CWD) regulations.

The NRC Committee of the Whole will meet at 1 p.m. A director’s report will be given by MDNR Director Dan Eichinger. Eichinger will recognize MDNR Deputy Director Bill O’Neill for his accomplishments and dedication of more than 30 years working for the department. O’Neill will be retiring on May 31, 2019. Eichinger will also introduce Shannon Hanna, who will serve as the new MDNR Deputy Director. Hanna has over 20 years of experience working with the MDNR. The director’s report will be followed by legislative and committee reports.

For Information

CWD Regulations

Commissioners will listen and consider recommendations on CWD regulations from the department.

Definition of baiting

One of the sections in the proposed regulations clarifies the confusion around the definition of bait. The definition of bait currently includes scented materials like oil-based attractants. The MDNR is recommending to change the definition to define baiting as consumption only. MUCC is amicable to this change, as it falls in line with our resolution opposed to baiting and feeding. This also matches the best practices for CWD management that was released by the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies last month.

The Liberty Hunt

During a discussion on bear regulations and license quotas, a recommendation was made by the department to move the Liberty Hunt to the second weekend in September in order to reduce conflicts between hound hunters and youth deer hunters. This change could be beneficial to hound hunters and waterfowl hunters, but some deer hunters are opposed to this change. MUCC has no position on this issue.

Upper Peninsula Regulations

MDNR is proposing a new CWD core area to be established in the 10-mile radius surrounding the positively-tested deer in Dickinson County. A baiting and feeding ban would go into effect in this area immediately. MUCC supports these measures as necessary steps in disease prevention. MUCC continues to support a full ban on baiting and feeding, except for supplemental feeding when deemed necessary in the U.P. during particularly harsh winters.

Lower Peninsula Regulations

The department recommends adding Barry, Lenawee and Midland counties to the CWD Management Zone due to the proximity of deer that are testing positive for CWD. Adding these counties to the management zone will allow for further testing and surveillance of CWD in the 2019 hunting season.

Implementation of a 4-point Antler Point Restriction (APR) on the deer license and deer combination license for Mecosta, Montcalm, and Ionia Counties

During the August 2018 NRC meeting, the NRC passed a resolution to work with the department to establish an experiment in the CWD core area to test the effectiveness of APRs as a CWD management tool. The department proposes dividing the five-county CWD Core Zone in half and enforcing APRs on one side while maintaining existing regulations on the other.

The proposed study would help to determine the effect of APRs on deer numbers, antlerless harvest and the sex and age composition. The study will not provide information on the prevalence and spread of CWD.

APRs in Huron, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, and Tuscola Counties

At the August 2018 NRC meeting, the NRC requested that the department evaluate the public opinion of APRs in the counties listed above. The survey resulted in 55 percent support for the proposed APR regulations. The department requires a 66 percent response in support of the regulation in order to recommend APRs to the NRC. The NRC could still put forth the regulations without a recommendation from the department, however.

Antlerless Deer License Quotas In the Upper Peninsula

The department reports having seen a recovery in the Upper Peninsula deer population since the harsh winters of 2013 and 2014. With the recent CWD-positive deer found in Dickinson County, the department is recommending increased antlerless harvest to manage the local deer herd. Increasing antlerless harvests can help with aggressive CWD surveillance and management.

For Action – NRC

Commissioners will be taking action on proposed fall turkey regulations presented at the April 2019 meeting. These proposed regulations will take effect during 2019, 2020 and 2021 fall seasons. The total number of licenses the department recommends is set at 51,350. The season will run from Sept. 15 through Nov.14. As mentioned in the April NRC posts, these proposed regulations are largely unchanged.

For Action – Director

A land use order is up for action before the director. Some of the changes are in response to statutory changes made during the previous legislative session. The order would allow for Class I electric bikes on certain improved and rail trails and prohibit Class II and III electric bikes on the same trails. A class I electric bike includes pedal assist. Sky lanterns will also be prohibited on state land due to their risk of fire hazard and minimal forms of control.

The director will also be taking action on an acquisition of land which will add 40.94 acres to the Allegan State Game Area.


  1. Wayne on May 1, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    So am I to understand that DDT affected the Regs from the DDC in the DMZ?? Or am I down with OPP??

    I’m sure your article was very inspirational and informative if I actually knew what the hell you were talking about…

    • Matt Wheaton on May 8, 2019 at 9:36 pm

      ” Increasing antler-less harvests (Statewide) can help with aggressive CWD surveillance and management.” Now that makes much more sense than a Bait/Feed Ban to reduce CWD spread!!

      ” During the August 2018 NRC meeting, the NRC passed a resolution to work with the department to establish an experiment in the CWD core area to test the effectiveness of APRs as a CWD management tool.” Seriously?
      Is the Bait Ban an experiment, too? It’s a fact, abolishing APR’s would reduce the spread and manage CWD better than a bait Ban!! Data proves it.

  2. Steven Hickman on May 1, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    Please allow baiting back, our group of 5 have agree if there is no baiting we will be going to Ohio to deer hunt this fall, and I know of some others that are ready to stop hunting in Michigan, if the DNR was smart they would come up with a baiting stamp you pay for if you plan on baiting the money could help with deer improvements.

    • Matt Wheaton on May 8, 2019 at 9:13 pm

      Free Baiting Permits were supposed to be allowed to handicap/disabled hunters if they qualify when this Ban was enforced. Wheres the information on that? Obviously, either a lie or failed promise to date.

      No one knows yet what those qualifications/criteria for that privilege during this current ban are, yet???

      I am sure the UP will be included sooner or later on the same Bait Ban, if it’s not reverse this year. It makes little sense to Ban the LP, but not the UP where they’ve been know to cross from WI contaminating our Deer.

  3. Mike on May 1, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    apr’s In lapeer county would be much welcomed

    • Jason B. on June 5, 2019 at 10:26 am

      Everyone who supports APR should boycott hunting in Mi. If the state is not willing to enforce APR for fear of loss of money. Then they will lose a ton if we hunt Ohio or other states. The vote does not match the beliefs of the 5 counties. We can prove that by not hunting or hunting else where because Mi bucks are terrible for anyone who doesn’t have 100s of acres to manange. Something g must be done!

  4. John barnhart jr on May 2, 2019 at 1:01 am

    Liberty hunt I think needs to stay where it’s at.and I don’t support a total baiting ban in the U.P

  5. Brian Cline on May 2, 2019 at 6:35 am

    If the NRC passes the thumb APR proposal after the vote did not meet the 66 percent requirement it will show they are out of touch and care nothing about Michigan hunters or our deer herd. DONT PASS THIS MESS!

    • Matt Wheaton on May 8, 2019 at 9:28 pm

      Wake-Up!! The Bait Ban proves they are out of touch and care little for the majority of hunters. Only $$$ get’s their attention for supporting bias research.

  6. Anthony Ottino on May 2, 2019 at 9:30 am

    The dnr and mucc.. still havent proven to me or anyone I know that baiting is the issue surrounding cwd . Show me the difference between baiting and a food plot. None. What about the corn soybean fields ect.. deer congregate and nuzzle all the time thanks for not helping us be successful.

    • Matt Wheaton on May 8, 2019 at 9:03 pm

      It’s primarily verbal/theoretic semantics to extend the Failed Prion Theory Research that has never produced a solution in 50 years!! CWD is a cash cow for Research $$$$.

      Food Plots and Baiting with Spin-cast Feeders or raw food are in principle, the same! Food plots only raise the cost to hunters more than does typical baiting. Only private land can have food plots, whereas, typical feeding/baiting was practiced on both private and State or Federal land.

      I know of many Deer hunters who refuse to honor the Bait Ban and those who will stop hunting if it isn’t reversed!! MI hunter numbers have been consistently dropping and this Ban will increase those numbers if it remains long enough.

      The farmland regions where there is always a high volume of crops available that Deer like, obviously would have a higher CWD detection rate due to higher numbers of deer than in the rural woods/wilderness regions.
      These food sources are available longer than hunters bait or feed annually!

      No one has research if the areas Deer gather and yard up in the winter in large numbers have CWD numbers higher either. Ironically, the DNR/NCR subsidize people feeding in some of these areas during the winter and it’s been on Youtube! The can feed, but we cannot! They obviously don’t practice what they enforce on the public!!!

  7. Mark watkins on May 2, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    More BS, and another 20%, of hunters drop out

  8. Dan Timmons on May 4, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    In any state but Michigan, 55% support would result in antler restriction enactment.

  9. Chad Sickon on May 5, 2019 at 9:23 am

    So the antler point restrictions even if turned down multiple times like in the thumb area just stay on the agenda until they get passed? I thought they have been voted down numerous times already.
    I’ve seen first hand in Manistee county how the antler point restrictions killed alot of the long time hunt camps along the power lines between hodynpyle and tippy dams.
    It seems like the property owners in those areas are the ones who got surveys, while I’ve only gotten doe tags in that county for 20 years, i was never sent any survey at the time they were implimented and the majority of local people I know personally didn’t receive surveys or support those rules going into effect.

    • Matt Wheaton on May 8, 2019 at 8:40 pm

      ** The hyper attention and threat of CWD, should in itself eliminate APR’s versus allowing culling and over-kill for testing!! That would have a greater impact reducing their bogus theory of CWD spreading more so than Bait Bans. Data has proven that!!

  10. Matt Wheaton on May 8, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    The ongoing symantics of the MUCC & NCR on Feeding/Baiting Ban to micro-regulate hunters more without TRUE scientific data proving such a Ban has actually proven anywhere in the USA to reduce the spread of CWD is growing crazier by the day here in Michigan.

    Current CWD Data has NOT proven to reduce the spread anywhere though it sounds good in theory.

    More Deer are killed by the extensive culling and testing for CWD than actually from CWD itself!!! The PRION theory has milked enough $$$ from States, etc over the past 50 years and accomplished little to nothing for it in stopping it. If this theory is continued to be followed, NO State budget will sustain the hyper-cost it demands.

    Dr. Bastian seems to have had greater success in his research regarding Spiroplama Bacterium causing CWD. Why not investigate the likely possibility he’s right and prove it or prove he’s wrong if you disagree!!! Pennsylvania has already agreed to support his research giving up on the current failure of the Prion theorists.

    Thankfully, MI legislators are stepping in on this biased madness by the DNR/NCR and requesting a reversal of the absurd Ban forced on MI hunters this year.

    The current trend of the DNR/NCR regulations will destroy Deer hunting much faster than CWD at the rate it’s going.

    UP and NLP hunters are disturbed that they have to travel to Lansing to weigh -in on their perspective of the Ban or CWD regulations continuously. This says volumes for the DNR/NCR’s value of our input to be sure!!!

    The current bias trend of policis/regulations the MI-DNR & NCR are destined to fail in their bias approach to the CWD threat. No state has proven otherwice in the past 50 years of CWD, that it won’t.

    ** ABORT the unproven Feed/Bait Ban and the craziness accompanying it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Matt Wheaton on May 8, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    ” VanderWall’s Senate Bill 37 would allow baiting and feeding of white-tailed deer, elk in MI ” March 4, 2019

    Deer hunting is an outdoor tradition enjoyed by more than 600,000 residents and brings considerable impact to the Michigan economy and the conservation of all fish and wildlife due to the license revenue it generates. Because deer and elk are an integral part of Michigan’s ecosystem and economy, the conveyance of disease among deer, other wildlife and humans should not be taken lightly.

    Just like baiting, deer and elk feeding congregates animals in a manner that increases the risk of spreading diseases. MUCC’s voting delegation confirmed their support for a ban to all baiting and feeding of deer and elk in the Lower Peninsula back in 2003, and MUCC members reaffirmed it again in 2007 statewide.

    The Michigan Chronic Wasting Disease Working Group also recommended a statewide ban on deer baiting and feeding after a review of the scientific literature and a symposium of wildlife scientists from around the world.

    Senate Bill 37, introduced by Senator Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) runs counter to these scientific recommendations by reinstating deer baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula as well as elk feeding, and making elk baiting legal for the first time in recent memory. Not only does it negate the sound science, it takes it out of the hands of the Natural Resources Commission or Department of Natural Resources completely to set ANY regulations related to baiting and feeding white-tailed deer or elk. While there are widely varying opinions on the social acceptability of baiting and feeding wildlife, the 40,000 sportsmen and women of Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) believe that effective, transparent, science-based natural resource management is paramount to the collective conservation and recreational opportunities our organization supports for the benefit of future generations.

    ** Hunters, the MUCC isn’t Pro-Hunter or truly speak for the majority of MI Hunters!!

    Actual Bill:

  12. Phil on June 20, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    Did the apr pass for Sanilac county

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