After three months of public hearings and input, the state’s Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has proposed a regulation change that would lift the deer baiting and feeding ban currently in place across the Lower Peninsula.
The ban was enacted in 2008 as part of the state’s Emergency Response Plan for chronic wasting disease (CWD), after the detection of a CWD-positive deer in a privately-owned facility in Kent County.
At that time, the NRC made an informal commitment to review the baiting and feeding ban after allowing the DNR three years to test and monitor for CWD.
“In 2008 when the NRC voted to make the baiting ban permanent in the Lower Peninsula, they said they would revisit the issue in three years, allowing the department to test several thousands of deer for CWD,” NRC Chairman Tim Nichols stated in a press release. “The result of these public discussions will be an NRC decision on whether to continue, lift or modify the deer baiting and feeding ban.”
If the NRC approves the proposal, the following baiting and feeding conditions would apply:
• Hunters would be able to place 2 gallons of bait per hunting spot. No more than 2 gallons of bait could be on the ground at any given time. The only exception would be the bovine tuberculosis (TB) area in the northeast portion of the Lower Peninsula, where baiting and feeding has been banned for several years.
• Recreational feeding would be allowed in the Lower Peninsula, except in the TB area.
In addition, the proposal would also direct the DNR to spend $50,000 on planting wildlife food plots on state-owned hunting land in the TB area, as well as direct the state Legislature to strengthen penalties for violations of the baiting rules.
Those heightened penalties could include stiffer fees, jail time and revocation of a hunting license — consequences similar to those for people who snag fish.
The NRC will vote on the proposal to lift the Lower Peninsula deer baiting and feeding ban at its Thursday, June 9 meeting.