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New effort to lift the deer bait ban leads to confusion

deer season
Posted at 6:35 PM, Nov 05, 2019

LANSING, Mich. — To bait or not -- that is always a topic as we head into deer hunting season.

A House Committee approved a plan on Tuesday to end the ban on baiting deer during hunting season.

As hunters make their plans for firearm hunting season--which is just 10 days away---this news of possibly allowing baiting again may change the way many hunters will take to the woods this season.

"I started scouting in September through October and I have gotten all things ready," Eric Peasley said.

Peasley has been hunting for 40 years, both by baiting and non baiting.

"I tried baiting about 20 years ago using corn and apples, before I got on the public land farm that I use," said Peasley.

With Tuesday's effort to lift the ban on baiting, Peasley says could change the game for those who lay out food to attract deer.

"Now with making this a possibility of opening up baiting again, you are going to see mad rushes out to their hunting spots," said Peasley. "They are going to put out all kinds of bait, whatever they are going to use...sugar beets, apples corn, all the things that deer like to eat."

But despite Tuesday's approval of a plan to end the ban, it is still illegal to bait as the bill has not been made into a law.

"We have seen a lot of misunderstanding," said Chad Stewart, a deer and elk management specialist for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). "So when one step is made that is counter to a step the natural resources has place, whether they agree with it or not, it brings a lot of emotion."

Those for the baiting argue the ban is keeping more people from taking part in hunting, which in turn, hurts the economy.

But for the DNR, it is all about protecting the the long term health of the state's whitetail resource by controlling the spread of the fatal Chronic Wasting Disease.

"We do not want these diseases to be widespread in the landscape and have an impact on future generations, so this is an action that we are taking today to try to curb or stem real management challenges and potential negative impacts in the future," said Stewart.

The baiting ban is still in effect throughout the whole lower peninsula and in a 660 square foot area in the up.

The DNR said the public will be notified of any significant changes to deer regulations .

The bill moved through the House floor and was approved with a 57 to 49 vote. The bill will now move to the Michigan Senate for consideration.

Fox 47 will keep you updated on its movement.

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