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.