Ken Borton
Rep. Borton: Wildlife feeding legislation necessary to protect private citizens
RELEASE|January 4, 2024
Contact: Ken Borton

State Rep. Ken Borton released the following statement today regarding wildlife feeding legislation currently under consideration by the House Natural Resources Committee.

House Bill 4593, sponsored by Borton, would allow residents to feed small animals for recreational viewing. HBs 5298 and 5299, cosponsored by Borton, would repeal a ban on feeding deer altogether. Currently, feeding deer is banned in the Lower Peninsula and in parts of three Upper Peninsula counties.

“There is no difference between private citizens feeding wildlife in their backyards and wildlife grazing on farmland,” said Borton, R-Gaylord. “We’ve been told small feed sites would cause widespread disease. But deer gather in cornfields, and no one bats an eye. Call me crazy, but I’m starting to wonder if some folks downstate believe deer lose their immune systems when they cross from a field into a backyard.”

Borton sees this legislation as an opportunity to limit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ ability to overstep their legal authority by imposing egregious penalties on well-meaning citizens. Borton has talked to people across Michigan who have been hit with steep DNR fines and lengthy court battles after legally putting feed out to encourage small wildlife onto their properties. In one instance, the DNR seized someone’s cellphone as part of their investigation.

“People should be able to put some corn out and watch the squirrels or birds in their backyards without fear the DNR will hunt them down and force them into expensive, drawn-out legal battles,” Borton said. “The DNR have shown they are too willing to take anyone to court over the smallest amounts of corn. This legislation would protect private citizens’ ability to feed wildlife on their own properties without fear of the DNR.”

HBs 4593, 5298, and 5299 remain under consideration by the House Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Committee.


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