Michigan lifts deer-baiting ban for fall hunting season


Nearly three years after banning deer-baiting by hunters in the Lower Peninsula, Michigan officials reinstated the controversial practice recently.

Baiting has been illegal since 2008, when chronic wasting disease popped up in a Kent County deer breeding operation. The disease, which causes drastic weight loss in elk and deer, can be fatal and is easily transmitted between animals when they group in small areas.

To prevent that, Michigan's Department of Natural Resources put a stop to hunters using piles of feed such as apples, beets or carrots to lure deer to a spot to shoot. The ban was an unpopular move among many in the hunting community, as well as others who made their livelihoods in the bait business.

A group of farmers and business owners sued the DNR over its decision, but lost in court in October 2008. Thursday's 4-3 decision by the DNR's Natural Resources Commission means baiting will be allowed when deer hunting season rolls around in the fall.

"The DNR's position has been that we don't favor baiting," said Mary Dettloff, the department spokeswoman. "But with the ban now lifted, we request people follow the regulations as they are written."

Hunters will be allowed to place as much as two gallons of bait -- covering as much as 10 square feet  on a single spot between Oct. 1 and Jan. 1. The ban, however, will remain in place in Alcona, Alpena, Iosco, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle counties. -- Jim Lynch/ The Detroit News

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com