State Rep. Michele Hoitenga was joined on Tuesday by Ted Nugent to testify in support of her plan to end the ban on baiting deer and elk in Michigan.
The state’s Natural Resources Commission (NRC) issued a ban on baiting or feeding deer and elk in August 2018 amid concerns about the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). The NRC has since reconsidered the issue but has not lifted the ban.
Hoitenga, of Manton, said she introduced the legislation to stand up for outdoor enthusiasts and local businesses who are hurt by the NRC’s overregulation of hunting activity.
“The NRC’s baiting ban puts unnecessary restrictions on Michigan hunters with little evidence that it will do anything to prevent the spread of disease,” Hoitenga said. “It makes no sense to ban hunters from scattering apples near their tree stands when every day in nature deer graze on the fruit that falls off of apple trees.”
The plan, House Bill 4687, would allow people to engage in baiting during open seasons on deer and elk in Michigan.
“The rule banning feeding and baiting in Michigan is going to chase hunting families out of the sport for absolutely no reason,” Nugent said. “If a disease can be transmitted by nose to nose contact, there is not a damn thing you can do about it. The minute a deer is born they lick, they groom, and they swap spit.”
Last year, hunting and fishing license sales made up 20 percent of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ entire annual budget, equal to $83.5 million. These funds were used to pay for game and fish protection activity carried out by the DNR. According to one recent study, 171,000 jobs are created and supported annually across Michigan by hunting and fishing activity. Hunting generates around $8.9 billion in economic impact, the study said.
House Bill 4687 remains under consideration by the House Government Operations Committee.