The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has lifted the deer-baiting ban in most of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. The ban had been in effect since 2008 after cases of chronic wasting disease had been reported among Michigan deer.
Mary Dettloff is with the DNR. She says baiting can create problems for the health of deer herds:
“Baiting doesn’t cause disease, but if a disease has emerged, it helps establish and spread that disease amongst the white tail deer population. That’s what baiting does, and that’s why it’s a risk to the long-term health Michigan’s deer herd.”
But Dettloff said deer baiting is a divisive issue. She says deer baiting is popular among Michigan hunters:
“It was difficult for our conservation officers to enforce because baiting is such a wide-spread practice in our state. And it had been going on for so many years. It was a huge shift in the way we were asking some hunters to hunt.”
October is the beginning of the deer hunting season in Michigan. The DNR will revisit the policy in three years unless another instance of disease is reported.
-Bridget Bodnar, Michigan Radio News