State Rep. Michele Hoitenga’s plan to restore the practice of baiting and feeding deer in Michigan has been sent to the governor for her consideration.
The plan would end the ban issued by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in August 2018 amid concerns about the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Hoitenga, of Manton, said the baiting and feeding ban puts unnecessary restrictions on Michigan hunters with little evidence it will prevent the spread of disease. Her plan, House Bill 4687, would allow people to engage in baiting during open seasons on deer and elk in Michigan.
“The NRC banned baiting, but that didn’t eliminate the natural instinct of deer to herd for warmth and food,” Hoitenga said. “The baiting ban is hurting the situation by driving people away from the sport. Hunting prevents overpopulation – and that is key to preventing the spread of disease.”
Hoitenga said the decrease in hunting license sales will hurt Michigan’s conservation efforts, as well as the rural and northern Michigan communities that receive an economic boost from hunting activity.
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 aid the recovery of endangered and threatened species, including restoring thousands of acres of habitat and wetlands.
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.