Rep. Bumstead’s wildlife disease control bill passes house

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A bill introduced by state Rep. Jon Bumstead to combat Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Michigan’s deer population was unanimously voted out of the House.

House Bill 5702 clarifies current Department of Natural Resources (DNR) authorization for the taking of wild animals to bring the spread of the disease under control. So far, seven free-ranging deer in Michigan have been confirmed positive for CWD, which is identifiable by weight loss, poor movement and behavioral abnormalities. In deer, CWD is always fatal.

“As lawmakers, we have a duty to protect Michigander’s interests, and the health of our natural environment is high on many lists,” said Rep. Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “Be it for hunting, fishing, photography or simply a walk in the woods, Michigan’s wildlife is a treasure that needs to be guarded.”

The legislation does not change the restrictions on taking an animal, but instead clarifies the authority of the DNR to issue permits on animal taking specifically for disease control. As lawmakers stress, these permits are not considered hunting, and can be used to control diseased bird and fish populations as well as animal populations that cause harm to crops and other industries.

“This bill gives the state an opportunity to control the fate of its own wildlife, “Rep. Bumstead said. “By passing this legislation, we can now stop the spread of disease or infestations in a quicker and safer manner.”