Michigan House approves bill to lift ban on deer baiting, legislation will now head to Senate

Posted at 6:02 PM, Nov 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-05 22:09:59-05

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Legislation advancing in Michigan would lift the state's ban on baiting and feeding deer in the Lower Peninsula and parts of the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan hunters say lifting the ban is a great idea, adding that the ban should never have been put into effect in the first place.

"I don’t like it quite frankly," said Jacob Burghardt, who's been hunting for years.

The state House approved the bill 56-49 Tuesday. It goes to the Senate for future consideration.

The ban was initially instituted by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in 2018. There was also a concern for chronic wasting disease in relation to the baiting.

The state Department of Natural Resources says baiting and feeding concentrates animals beyond their normal movement patterns, increasing the spread of chronic wasting diseases and bovine tuberculosis.

"(It) doesn’t prove that it spreads CWD and deer number and the kill count is going to be low, which nobody likes," Burghardt said.

The bill sponsor, Republican Rep. Michelle Hoitenga of Manton, says the ban is "silly" and is hurting hunters. Democrats and some Republicans opposed the bill.

“Baiting is a method that hunters have relied on for generations, there’s absolutely no evidence it contributes to the spread of disease,” Hoitenga said in a statement.

Republican Rep. Gary Howell of North Branch says voters entrusted the commission to make decisions about hunting.

Now Hunters are hoping they’ll be able to do what they’ve done for years, and get back to hunting.

"People have been baiting here forever, I mean that’s deer hunting," Brughardt said.

House bill 4687 would allow people to bait during open seasons on deer and elk in Michigan, it now heads to the Senate for a vote. Hunting season begins on Nov. 15.
House Bill 4687: