VanderWall’s Senate Bill 37 would allow baiting and feeding of white-tailed deer, elk

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 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.


  1. Bill Malloch on March 4, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    Please leave the U P out of the banned area.

  2. Joe Permoda on March 4, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    Again someone submitting a bill they know nothing about, why include Elk?. I am disappointed at the MUCC long time opposition to baiting. Two articles in current magazine about food plot baiting, yes I read that it’s not the same as baiting because of the area yet you can have a 10×10 plot. Ban food plots too they congregate deer. Make it fair for everybody. I am an avid bow hunter and utilize natural bait rub lines acorns and adjacent farm fields. Good Luck to your R3 program.

  3. Jim Brauker on March 6, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    I oppose all legislation aimed at micromanaging deer regulations. It is the job of the NRC and is contradictory to Prop G. It paves the way for things like dove and wolf regulations and worse to come from the anti-hunting and anti-firearms contingent. Please oppose it.

  4. Jerry Struble on March 6, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    In other words deer only get cwd baiting deer and not on food plots.cwd is 90% plus south of m55 farm ground and plots.

  5. Mike on March 6, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Hell yes we should be able to baite deer and feed the cwd is not caused by that any way mother nature will take care of it’s own don’t need no dam done telling you what u can and can’t do on your own land they should only be in control of state land and that’s it

  6. Stuart Fowler on March 6, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    I hate to see legislatures get involved, but I do not trust the NRC, MUCC, and DNR to follow honest unbiased scientific facts either. What has baiting, or not baiting changes in the TB area. Honest answer….nothing. people still sell and use bait there. Their is not enough info available or known about CWD, to justify no baiting statewide…Not one deer has been shown to have died naturally from CWD in Michigan. Ban baiting, and do reasearch in the infected suspect areas. Leave the rest of the State alone, until you can prove otherwise. Fear and speculation, is not science.

  7. Larry Weisenstein on March 6, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    VanderWalls Bill 37 needs to be passed

  8. Michael Miller on March 6, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    I will continue to provide economic stability to Farmers who grow bait and increace my wildlife sightings and harvest..Thank you MUCC for your help in sound and accurate science..Love, Oscoda Mi…

  9. Craig Drouin on March 6, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Let The DnR do their job I will not support ignorance on matters that pertain to such important matters that involve our environment. Protecting our Deer herds from baiting should be taken very seriously to reduce any decease that could hurt a healthy Eco system and natural wild life
    thanks you
    Craig Drouin

  10. Ron Stefko on March 6, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    I run anywhere from 10 to 12 cameras most of the year in Michigan, I get at least 1000 pictures of deer standing nose to nose, they seem to be a social creature, the liking branch for instance, every deer in the area licks that branch. Baiting or no baiting a disease will be spread throughout the Hurd. Supposedly they have a cure for CWD! Implement the cure and let me go back to feeding my local deer at least to sustain them through the harsh winter months! They grow nicer antlers and have healthier fawns if they are fed well through the tough winter months.

  11. Randy Moore on March 6, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    In all my years of hunting I have never seen any two deer nose to nose while eating. Nor do I have any pics of deer nose to nose. What I have seen and have pics of is a dominant buck or doe kicking every other deer away until they were finished. No baiting would really hurt the economy in my opinion.

  12. Jeffery Antes on March 7, 2019 at 1:31 am

    If they were so bound on science, then why do they cherry pick what they support. There’s not one sciencitifically proven case of CWD or any disease spread at a bait or feeding station, let me repeat ” NOT ONE” proven published sciencitific case of any wild deer or elk contracting CWD form a bait or or feeding station. Let me go one more step there’s not one proven case of a capitive deer or elk contracting CWD at a bait or feeding station alone. This is one of a few reasons why I don’t finically support MUCC at this time. What if’s and maybe’s are not proven science!!!!! The sciencetific literature you quote is mis leading that it’s a fact!!!

  13. Kimberly Loggins on March 7, 2019 at 3:59 am

    No baiting in Michigan!!!

  14. Steve kirby on March 7, 2019 at 4:51 am

    I’m no specialist but I do not agree that feed has anything to do with the deaise. Back in the day when you could feed tons at a time there was no t.b or cwd so why now. Nothing to do with feed. It’s cows and all the round up and other sprays

  15. David Casper on March 7, 2019 at 5:22 am

    They want to eliminate the disease would make more opportunities to harvest more deer and possibly help eliminate the disease by harvesting more deer, removing baiting is eliminating more hunters

  16. Gerry Maciok on March 7, 2019 at 5:39 am

    You can’t call it scientific wild life management when they are allowing APRs to exist while trying to rid of this disease (CWD, TB). APRs are detrimental to the growth of our sport and taking away baiting will further drive hunter recruitment down. Russ Mason and the NRC will talk them selves right of of their cushy jobs, and will be scratching their heads wondering how to recoup the dollars (license increase coming) they lost.

  17. Stan kwapis on March 7, 2019 at 6:04 am

    I am a hunter and a person in northern power Michigan
    I have found 15 deer now dead in less than 3 weeks. I snow shoe every day and dint understand how one man can find this many drer with more to come and found that out of hundreds of turned in deer there are only 56 confirmed cwd positive deer. So where is really the problem. I hop this bill will pass to help our deer and wild life out. I heard the news and a guy is facing 5 years for neglecting his chickens and rabbits. What is the difference!

  18. Ronald Henschel on March 7, 2019 at 6:55 am

    I can see it being enforced on public land but not on private I pay my taxes. The disease been around for a very very long time cause by man.

  19. Dave Fowler on March 7, 2019 at 7:30 am

    I applaud you for this legislation Kurt. I’ve been saying for a long time that if feeding in close proximity to one another is the danger of baiting, then late winter and early spring yarding would be devastating. But, we never hear about any information about yarding, so I call foul on the logic. Good job Kurt. I’m proud of you.

  20. Jim on March 7, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Mucc and other groups dont know what they are talking about. I disagree with the un natural congregation around bait. If a tree is dropping acorns then all the deer are there. They naturally congregate to all food sources. Also you keep talking about prions. Not even important. The disease is caused by a bacteria. Ive been baiting and feeding for 30 yrs. Not one sick animal killed on our land.

  21. Jon Minnick on March 7, 2019 at 8:28 am

    I support the use of the NFAWA data developed by years of research by the entire United states, not just Michigan biologists trying to duplicate everything already done in Wisconsin and out west. Start at their base line and move forward. Don’t kill tons of deer to study what has already been verified as scientific fact. Wyoming says mature bucks are most likely to die from cwd , how do aprs correlate with this data. Other states don’t have them and they have cwd. Follow your mantra “sound science ” it has been suspect in the past.

  22. Ted Deming on March 7, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Allow baiting!! Please!!

  23. Ryen jamroxk on March 7, 2019 at 8:58 am

    I personal dont like baiting . It changes the natural deer patterns. Not to mention the need to out do the nieghbor on there bait pile is very costly. I prefer food plots and timber stand improvements to support the nutritional needs of the herd.

  24. Craig Johnson on March 7, 2019 at 9:55 am

    This is why I dislike the MUCC. Right in the back pocket of the animal rights folks in charge of our DNR and NRC. Michigan is NOT following sound science. Wisconsin is 20-years ahead of us and has abandoned their bait bans. CWD is either present or you just don’t know your herd has it. Baiting is a TOOL that helps us manage the herd. And, waterhole=doe in heat=acorns=cornfield=bedding area=baitpile=BAIT.

    This “sound science” is nothing more than another dagger to the heart of our hunting heritage. It’s about time a legislator stood up to the DNR and tried to help hunting, because if you’re not promoting it, you’re destroying it.

  25. Jason smith on March 7, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Yes pass this baitng help the deer get there winter fat to survive the long cold winter!!!

  26. Bryan on March 7, 2019 at 11:37 am

    You can ban baiting but it still inst gonna stop anything!! Deer / elk still eat close to ea other An as of any animal they’ll still smell ea other nose to nose An spreading the disease .. An the disease Can’t only be here in the lower peninsula .. but yet Dnr feeds the deer during the winter months
    I see a bigger problem with the coyotes that Dnr decided to plant in lower Michigan!! We use to have one of the best pheasant hunting areas in van buren co.. now we have none because the coyotes killed everyone of them an you’ll be lucky enough to see a rabbit !!! They kill so many baby deer as well as mutate deer !! We had a good deer herd before the coyotes as well. I’ve watched the deer herd drop dramatically From the coyotes an it isn’t because of any diseases!!!
    I have to believe that the coyotes were planted here in lower Michigan to give hunters another game to hunt giving Dnr more revenue !!! We were doing good before hand an didn’t need the coyotes here !!
    Just my input on this

  27. Michael William Helzer on March 7, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    There is no proof of baiting causing CWD. They swop spit on licking branches all time even when they eat farm crops so what’s the difference

  28. Matt Wheaton on March 7, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    About Time!! Theres MORE Opinion and Speculation regarding the Ban affecting CWD than True Scientific Proof!

    The Spirolplasma Bacterium is the cause for CWD and a likely Cure is forthcoming!!! PA is already on the right track with this research and knowing the Prion Theory has failed after 50 years!!! Time is of the essence!!!

    • Ollie Tabooger on March 7, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      Oh come on… the amount of deer WITH CWD that y’all have spent money on testing is so low that your theory that this will stop the minute spread is ridiculous.

    • Gordon stevens on March 7, 2019 at 10:33 pm

      Yes thats right matt wheaton. Spiroplasma bacteria is tick born. Slovakian lxodes ricinus ticks. Bait bane is a true reflection of incompetence in the DNR. Or worse.

    • Gordon stevens on March 7, 2019 at 10:34 pm

      Yes thats right matt wheaton. Spiroplasma bacteria is tick born. Slovakian lxodes ricinus ticks. Bait ban is a true reflection of incompetence in the DNR. Or worse.

  29. Victor Garms on March 7, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    I have a lot to say about this, but I’ll just say there are 14 deer in my yard right now eating on my Apple trees and ceader trees and pine trees, they lay together touch noses exc. Now I hunt from October first to January first and never seen more than two at a time at my bait pile. .So nobody can make me belive baiting caused this wasting dease. There are just people wanting to be big shots changing laws makes them feel powerful. Your write in trying to put it back the way it was I’m with you all the way.

  30. Victor Garms on March 7, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    I left a comment. Why dosent it show ???

  31. John Calhoun on March 7, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Absolutely true. Spirolplasma bacterium is also linked to Parkinsons and Alzheimers. CWD will have a vaccine within 2 years.

  32. Phil Bingham on March 7, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    I am all for allowing the People of Michigan to Bait for certain game at certain times of year. Some Sportmen don’t have the time or resources to Hunt for the extra days it may take to harvest an animal. Taken away this option of baiting will drive away hunters. The result will be less funds in the budget due less licensing fees. The impact on the States economy is great as well. Many small businesses sell leftover crops to help in the winter months when things are slow. I am for this bill and keep anti hunting scientists outa the discussion. CWD is a natural occurring issue. Man kind needs to let nature figure it out without our interjection.

  33. Richard Perge on March 7, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Baiting allows hunters to see if there are any sick deer in there area then DNR can take proper steps

  34. Dennis proctor on March 7, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    Allow baiting

  35. Marvin Lashuay on March 7, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Deer will communicate by touching noses wether there is bait or feed . Baiting has nothing to do with CWD . Stop the bringing in of deer from other states and stop the deer farms from getting them. That is where this all started so why punish everyone for what a few done.

  36. Dan Darling on March 7, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    MUCC should support this 110% Support what hunters want or they won’t support MUCC

  37. Fred Truschke on March 8, 2019 at 4:22 am

    What makes you so sure about the spiroplasm theory Matt Wheaton? There are a lot of people who raised eyebrows at that article… Especially the timeline given. What do you know that Phd’s don’t?

  38. Garth Jurgensen on March 8, 2019 at 8:55 am

    Omg! Get out and Hunt, you lazy pieces of shit, who you call yourself sportsmen! Wow! Using food to entice deer, to shoot, is the most unethical way to harvest deer!

  39. Barry M on March 8, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Maybe if us hunters do not purchase any type of licenses they will get the message!

  40. Alan Blackwell on March 8, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    I would vote for baiting n veiwing I think if u put it to a vote by lower pennsula hunters u would have a unonomus vote for yes let’s bait.

  41. John on March 8, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    There was a study I believe done in Wisconsin. That debunkd cwd was not tramitted by nose to nose but from a virus strain

  42. Don Gilmet on March 8, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Right on Matt. Baiting or feeding in small(2 gallons) spread out will not effect transmission of disease. I hope our DNR look at the Pennsylvania video and learn something from it. Thank you Senator Vanderwall. Hope it passes.

  43. L on March 8, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    Where was the DNR when CWD was discovered in the western UP by Wisconsin years ago?

  44. Keith H. Phelps on March 9, 2019 at 6:19 am

    In January of 2018 I wrote a several page letter to Mr. Chad Stewart and copied MUCC requesting sound data on CWD and testing. Mr. Stewart nor MUCC didn’t replied. The DNR is supposed to use sound data in making all of their decisions as permitted by legislature action years back. Reviewing scientific literatures and symposium of wildlife scientists from around the world is mere propaganda being promoted by MUCC and DNR. It takes data to prove out theories. They are totally ignoring life time deer disease studies by Dr. James Knoll and Dr. Don Davis.
    In June 2017, Dr. Davis compiled twelve years of CWD testing in the US. Total tested specimens were over one million with 4003 testing positive which correlates into four tenth of one percent (0.4%). In other words: 4 deer per 1000. Using the December 29, 2018 DNR testing report of all the deer tested (24778 tested with 55 supposedly positive) which correlates into 0.2 percent or 2 deer per 1000. This is hardly an epidemic.
    I have made two presentations to the NRC and had two editorial published in other magazines. My handicap person also made a presentation for baiting for wheel chair bound people. The DNR didn’t listen. Baiting on a couple weekends is not baiting for a true handicap person. Personally I don’t need to bait. MUCC has done more damage than good for the hunters when they assume that all 40000 members support there inane agenda. There are two other real magazines that support the hunters 100%. Not only should the Senate Bill 37 be passed but investigation into the DNR and there lobbyists (insurance companies) for any wrong doing. I have hunted for over 65 years. My wife and I didn’t buy a deer license in 2018 and probably not 2019 in protest of MI-DNR stupidly. We hunted in Nebraska. If the baiting ban holds we hope many other hunters will join in.

  45. Ben Kieft on March 9, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Thank you Curt Vanderwall! The DNR has no sound evidence or they wouldn’t being baiting themselves as seen on Michigan out of Doors TV show. It’s time they lose there power on certain management practices. Past due!

  46. J Smith on March 9, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    I believe in allowing baiting & recreational feeding of Deer & Elk. One thing that I have notice & witness weather it is in a farmers field, a bait station or recreational feeding. Deer them selfes are very social animals, They will sniff, lick, scratch & everything in between to each other to pass on there saliva or other liquids. I do believe the DNR. Is very wrong in not to allow baiting or recreational feeding of Deer& Elk.
    They do need to quarantine everything this is in the CWD area that is raised. Weather it is hay, straw, wheat,corn, beef, pork,etc.

  47. Carl Herbers on March 9, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    The CWD response plan also specifies, Targeting young bucks to prevent the spread of CWD through dispersal. Currently the DNR/NRC is moving forward with Antler point restrictions in the thumb, as well as a antler restriction test in the CWD zone, despite the fact that the data to be gathered could be done outside the zone, or they could use existing APR data.

    Will MUCC stand up against these 2 transgressions of the CWD response plan of 2018, as strongly as you do against baiting in areas not affected by the disease ?

  48. Jeff Gilmet on March 10, 2019 at 1:47 am

    Baiting doesn’t affect these diseases one bit, bunch of BS. I see deer walk out on a food plot and walk right up and lick each other. Also many rubs and scrape over hangs get licked. They even have licking branches they use. Funny how dumping out a pail of corn bad but a corn field left for deer is OK.

  49. Jeff W. on March 10, 2019 at 5:36 am

    And is the MUCC is standing behind APR’s with the knowledge that allows for the increase in transmission of disease?

    You can’t be behind one and fight the other.

  50. Chris Zepke on March 10, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    Finally someone with common sense the baiting and feeding ban will NOT stop the spread of CWD. The close contact and congregation of deer around a feeder or even a small bait pile is no different than the close contact and congregation of deer in a food plot, bean field, corn field, sugar beer field etc. The diease is spread thru saliva and is active in the soil long after the infected animal leaves the area. So again the baiting feeding ban still will not stop the spread nor will it even slow it down. The NRC and DNR have no scientific proof that a feeding/baiting ban will even be effective in slowing down the spread of CWD, they are pulling at strings.

  51. Jack Taylor on March 10, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    It appears that those who originally passed the ban should have investigated further to determine the actual cause was not that which they based the law on. Consequently people have suffered economically and Michigan Commerce has lost out in sales of food and feeding supplies. Is it too much to ask that our representatives follow the medical theme. “If you can’t help at least DO NO HARM”.
    It was recently reported by Ken Borton that the Snowman Cam liver Camera Feed had over 20,000,000 hits. These represent viewers worldwide who get a small glimpse of the wonders of Michigan.

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