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August 28, 2008

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Michigan’s First CWD Case Prompts Immediate Baiting Ban

In case you missed this important story on our Field Notes blog, here’s the original report:

From The Detroit News:

State officials are prohibiting deer baiting or feeding throughout the Lower Peninsula after they discovered a white-tailed deer in a small Kent County herd has Michigan's first case of chronic wasting disease.

The precautionary measure will change hunting practices during the upcoming firearm and archery deer seasons. Baiting and feeding have become common practice among hunters.

Officials also quarantined all 580 of Michigan's privately owned farms, hunting ranches and hobby facilities where deer, elk and moose are raised and kept in Michigan. Neither live animals nor their carcasses can be moved off these facilities, Agriculture Director Don Koivisto said.

And here’s the latest:

50 Deer Killed In Kent County

Hunters Asked to Take Baiting Ban Seriously

Baiting Ban Will Hurt Local Businesses

Ban Could Devastate Beet Farmers


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Just Because

This deer was found in a privately owned facility that has no relation to any "FREE"-ranging deer or free-ranging population of deer. The ban on the entire LP of Michigan is ridiculous and just another way that the DNR can push their wieght around and gain some much need profit for their own use. I understand having a ban on the immediate surrounding counties and having manditory check-in stations for those counties, the DNR refers to this as the "HOT ZONE" but honestly the entire LP of Michigan. I think the consintration needs to be directed toward those counties.


Hey hunters .... with season near or some kicking off ... make sure you take care of the trophies during warmer weather.



Tom M

One wonders what sort of hunters exist in Michigan if baiting is standard practice there. What skill does that require?

don mitchell


Jeff Polut

For the guy who is talking about the quality of hunters in Michigan if they have to use bait, understand that Michigan has more deer hunters than any other state. Sure alot of hunters use bait, but most are the around 500,000 hunters who hunt 1 week a year during rifle season and dont hunt the rest of the year. Opening day of rifle season is a holiday in Michigan, where even some schools close. We still have another 400,000 or so hunters who are as dedicated to hunting as those in any other state, and are probably better hunters than those from other states. Taking a mature abuck of any antler size in Michigan no matter the method is harder than taking a B&C buck in states suck as Kansas. Using bowhunter numbers and area size of the state, states like Kansas have around .8 bowhunters per square mile, while Michigan has over 8 per square mile. Add to this the fact that much of Michigan is urbanized and you will see that deer here are smater, warier, and harder to hunt than most places in this great country, and it takes a smarter, and wairier hunter to shoot them!


The debate about baiting has been going on here in Wisconsin for quite some time,especially since CWD was discovered in a small area in the southern part of the state.
The DNR wants to end it because they say it spreads the disease,even though there have been no infected deer in the area where baiting is still allowed.
Others are against it saying it isn't sporting,it requires no hunting skills to hunt over bait,and that it congregates deer onto the land where the baiting is taking place,pulling the deer from public lands to private,though baiting is allowed on public land also.
As far as requiring no hunting skills,you can't just go out anywhere and dump the minimal amount of bait that is legally allowed and expect to see deer. You must still scout and find travel routes,bedding and feeding areas,you have to go to where the deer want to be.
Placing the bait properly by your stand insures a quartering or broadside shot at a deer that has it's head down,exposing the vitals for a clean quick kill.What's more sporting than that?
Some of the people yelling the loudest about my 1/2 of an ice cream bucket full of corn have no problem with clearing and planting 4 or 5 acres of corn and clover in the middle of the woods miles from the nearest farmland. Which one do you think would hold more deer?
As long as people are hunting within the law they should be allowed to do so.

Jeffrey Polut

I agree with you Henry, The area I hunt in has had baiting banned becasue of bovine TB for years, but I beleive deer have just as much nose to nose contact in nature as they do over bait... I dont hunt over bait personally because in the area I hunt a mature buck is much to smart to come to a bait pile during daylight. But there are many hunters in Michigan who dont dedicate as much time to scouting and other hunting research as some in other states. Hunting in Michigans rifle season for many is just a week off work to get away, and if throwing a pile of carrots in the woods is what keeps these guys hunting, so be it. Arent we trying to keep hunters??? Now it would make my hunting a whole lot better if these guys all gave hunting up, and the woods would be far less crowded but that would be selfish. I do think some hunting groups in our state want just that. With the HORRIBLE economy in Michigan, and the high price of gas, many of these part time hunters were teetering on the edge of not making the drive north to deer camp. Now when they can't put out some food and don't see a single deer for 5 days, (which is common during rilfe season when not using bait), they are going to spend there 1 week off work doing something else.

And the same with food plots. The area I hunt doesnt have farms, and when we planted a small one acre rye field, it had more deer in during hunting season than when we fed sugar beets and corn during the cold Northern Michigan winter. And we had more deer in the area back then.... A food plot is nothing more than a baitpile with roots!

Mark Hansen

Thank god! Michigan has finally smartened up and banned baiting,though it shouldn't have come down to waiting for a disease to occur.Michigan has alot of deer hunters that don't have access to good hunting land,most of the deer are in the southern part of the state.alot of people in michigan want to sit in front of a bait pile,listening to a radio,or watching t.v. It's time to sharpen your hunting skills, and figure out how to get a deer the way it was twenty years ago.Thank you for the baiting ban.

don mitchell

mark h.,you kind of remind me of obama whats his name,YOU DONT HAVE A CLUE....


Brian M

It would be nice if they picked an east-west highway to allow baiting above. Say U.S. 10 or M-55, so farmers who already have deer feed in their fields have a market this year. Corn will sell anywhere, but beets and cull carrots are going to be impossible to move now.
I'd support a ban next year, as long as they notified farmers before planting season.
DNR said today that they expect the ban to last the entire season, though.

P. Hopkins

We have baited with small amounts of corn for years - What about all the crops the deer feed on, That we hunt next to? This restriction of baiting is a farse and as usual this a sign of the times. Over reacting!

Sage Sam

I grew up in Michigan and heard all the same arguments against a baiting ban many times before, all from my family. As I have told my father and the rest of the clan, there is empirical evidence showing the direct correllation between ground feeding and the spread of cummunicable diseases in cervid species. Baiting falls into the correllation. This isn't the big bad DNR out to hurt folks, it is the DNR ensuring that the economies of small rural Michigan towns are not destroyed in the same manner that they were during to Bovine TB outbreak. Places like Montmorency County still has not recovered from that debacle.

Take it from a guy in Colorado, give the DNR some leeway to try and stop this before it spreads. If they can somehow prevent the spread to wild populations (doubtful) anything they do this year is worthwhile. If they cab even localize it to western Michigan it would be miraculous.

More importantly, look at the root cause of this problem--GAME FARMS--get rid of the canned hunts and hobby farmers before they destroy wild whitetail populations.

Walt Smith

I for one do not see a problem with the baiting ban. You don't need bait to harvest deer, all you need is a little ambition and knowledge of their movements. Anyone with any smarts knows that one hour after daylight on the opening day of rifle season in Michigan the deer are running for shelter to hide and food is the last thing on their minds. The only time they hit bait is after dark. I get a laugh out of the guys who plant food plots and how they'll argue with you that they aren't the same as baiting. My first question to them is if you didn't plant it to draw in deer to hunt over then why did you plant it?? Then I usually ask the question, Did you plant it to make money off from like a farmer does a cash crop. Then I ask how many gallons of bait do they figure they have in their food plots? At this point they are usually pretty defensive and vulgar but still won't admit that its the same thing. Which brings up my question to Michigan's DNR; If you are banning baiting completly why are you also not banning food plots also when they are, truly, nothing more than a large scale baiting operation that is probably more harmfull to the spread of this disease than a 2 gallon pail of corn spread out over a 10 sq. foot area?? I also agree that the high fence hunt clubs where all of this crap has come from should be outlawed and all animals in them destroyed in order to insure the health of the states herd.


I hear ya Walt,most of the people I hear complaining about baiting have no problem hunting on a big patch of clover or peas they planted in a clearing.
It doesn't matter to me one way or the other if baiting is allowed,but call a spade a spade and do away with food plots too if thats the case.
It seems like all these diseases that affect the deer herds always originate on deer farms and canned hunt ranches,maybe thats what we should be banning?

P. Hopkins

You anti Baiters crack me up - I'm in my sixties now and don't quite cover the ground like I used to and haven't hunted from a tree stand or blind for 4 years now and have still been very sucessful. I enjoy seeing all the game that a Gallon bag of corn attracts from bears,deer,squirrels,rabbits,coons,opposums and birds.
I have killed deer by stalking them , Still hunting , jumping them , calling them , hunting scraps , hunting runways and baiting. I still don't see the reason for the over reaction of the DNR from one case in a deer containment arena.
After deer hunting for 50 years , I consider all these approaches fair game chases and still hunt all these cases. Thats Hunting. I really believe a lot of folks out there don't have a clue what hunting is really about.

Walt Smith

What the problem is, is that the lone deer in question has been on several "High Fence operations" soooooo it is very, very posssssibllllle that this lone deer has swapped spit with several other deer who have posssssibleeeeeeee been sold to other High Fence operations and posssssibleeeeee swapped spit with other deer who might have been shot and their remains dumbed illeagly on a roadside where a wild deer might have walked upon the carcass and posssssibleeee contracted the disease (CWD) and may now be swapping spit with a bunch of other deer in some QUALITY DEER MANAGEMENT'S 100 acre bait pile,errrr excuse me-- food plot. Soooo its pooosssibbbbble that the State of Michigan has a epidemic that could possibleee kill off all our whitetails.Get THE PICTURE NOW??? HELLO,WAKE THE *#@$ UP!! This isn't a joke this is a very serious matter! Look at what has happened out west, look at what has happened in Wisconson. eliminate the source of the problem, the High fence farms, Kill off their stock just like the farmers had to do with the DDT outbreak in the 70's, pay the owners $100.00 a animal just like the farmers got and completly eliminate the complete spectrum of baiting; scattering, piles, food plots,recreation feeding,etc. Then impose big fines on anyone who decides they are smarter than a wildlife biologists, like a $1000.00 or more, just like poaching!! This is the only chance we have of saving our healthy state herd, and the tourism dollar it brings, whether you want to hear it or not.

Jim Boldt

I hear you Walt. Big bucks don't come to bait. I hope the bait ban keeps the flat-landers down south. We get eniough of trash and bait bags on the side of the road. I dont gun hunt anymore. Too easy. Thats right flat-landers TOO EASY. I dont use bait, blind or 60 foot tree stands. My deer racks are just piled up in my clothset. My wife got most of em. We are avid bow hunters only. We think if you need meat that bad, as to pay lots of $$$$ to do a canned hunt. Go buy a 1/4 of beef and buy a rack off e-bay. You will get more than 30# of meat and a good rack for your money, Not including the cost of gas. Michigan don't need game farms or huge bait piles err i mean food plots. Just a poor sportsman shooting a deer with a 700mm mag at over 300 yards. Way to go big guy...

P. Hopkins

Thanks for the radical left wing response to someone who just thinks the DNR has gone overboard. I suppose you were one of the people who cost people millions over the tomatoe scare ?. Posssssibleeeeeee you should'nt even make a move from you lazy boy in fear lightening may strike you!
The DNR has already exterminated all the deer in that deer farm in question and explored where other deer may have been taken. I'm sure they have covered all the bases and I have all the confidence in the in world in our DNR.
By the way I get it and I don't need a HELLO, WAKE THE *#@$ UP !!, If Thats the kind of response you have to go to , than good for you and your opinion.

Walt Smith

Good for you Phil, I sincerly hope you continue baiting this year and many more. Ole fellers like yourselves who can't move around much should be able to spread a little bait around as long as you do it correctly. As far as being radical left wing I am not, I am purly right. I grow my own tomatos and I don't own a lazy boy because of the name. I'm a still hunter who hunts mainly swamps, the bigger the better and I hunt with both a bow and a rifle and have taken many, many deer with both. As for the DNR covering all the bases I don't have much confidence in them at all. They've dropped the ball in the past and I'll bet they'll drop it on this one and that is what scares me more than anything because all you have to do is look at what has happened in other states to see the seriousness of the situation. I hope I didn't offend you personally, sometimes I get a little excited with my right of free speech, but that is my right,RIGHT?? good luck hunting this year Phil.

P. Hopkins

Thanks Walt , I got a little off base myself and I hope I did'nt offend you.
We'll just have to resort to our skills again this season as we have for many years. At least I won't have to haul that gallon bag of corn around this year, unless they change their mines. I'm also a avid bow hunter and can't wait till the last of oct. to get started. What a nice time of year to be in the woods.
Good luck yourself.

Hirsel Maxwell

Seeing that it is illegal to bait--Is it legal to plant a food plot on public ground?? I do not have the opportunity to hunt private land and need to get this clarified. Looking over past game laws, it is illegal to cut live vegatation(even ferns. Help--The growing season is getting shorter


To all of you who are so against baiting? Just remember that by laying down bait, you are getting a clean shot. The deer are standing still most of the time and as a humane hunter, you want the cleanest shot possible.
I have one question to all who are against baiting. When you go fishing, do you "bait" the hook or just sit there with an empty hook? Of course you use some form of bait or lure which is exactly what baiting does. It draws in the fish and deer.....Try fishing without bait and let me know how well you do........

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