Legislation Could Reverse State’s Ban on Baiting Whitetail Deer

New legislation could reverse Michigan’s ban on baiting whitetail deer.

The state ban on baiting went into effect in January. Lawmakers passed it in an effort to stop the spread of chronic wasting disease.

State senator Curt VanderWall introduced legislation in the senate to overturn the ban, which he says may not actually stop the spread of the disease in deer.

“What we’ve read what we’ve studied is that there’s no scientific data that really proves that case,” said VanderWall.

He says the ban hurts hunters, feed farmers and could hurt tourism.

“That [ban] directly affects up north. Deer baiting has been going on for years and years and years. What’s it going to do to hunters and new hunters coming in?” said VanderWall.

VanderWall worries that without baiting, visiting hunters won’t have as much luck bagging a buck, and might be discouraged or hesitant to keep returning to the woods in Northern Michigan.

VanderWall also says deer baiting is a big industry and a major source of income for many farmers.

“Economically, for that farmer, what are they going to turn to if they don’t have that crop?” said VanderWall.

Some deer hunters say the ban hurts their time in the woods.

“If you’re able to bait you’re able to get more traffic coming through, maybe more of a chance to shoot a bigger deer,” said Thomas Lapoint, from Manistee. “The baiting is helpful and you can get them in a routine of coming to where you want them.”

Others feel the ban should stay in effect, but only for public land.

“For private land, I really don’t agree that they should ban full baiting for that reason,” said Frank Luvano of Scottville. “State land, I do agree on. They don’t need to be baiting on state land.”

VanderWall says he wants the legislation to do what’s best for the state and its deer.

“We want to do what’s right for the herd we want to make sure that were promoting a healthy hunting atmosphere,” said VanderWall.

The bill has been referred to the state senate’s natural resources committee.