December 23, 2019 | by National Deer Alliance
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer vetoed House Bill 4687, which would have removed the Natural Resources Commission’s authority to regulate deer baiting and feeding. More specifically, baiting and feeding bans in the state’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas core chronic wasting disease (CWD) areas will remain in effect. Governor Whitmer stated, “I remain fully committed to protecting Michigan’s wildlife, public health, and agriculture jobs,” and added, “This legislation would’ve increased the chance of spreading wildlife disease within wildlife populations and the beef and dairy industries, which are vital to Michigan’s economy. That’s not a risk we can afford to take.” Opponents of the baiting and feeding ban say that it puts unnecessary restrictions on Michigan hunters, and have vowed to continue fighting what they describe as over-regulation of hunting in the state. “We can understand the frustration among hunters who like to feed deer and hunt over bait, but when it comes to slowing the spread of CWD, we support the difficult decisions that state wildlife professionals across the country have to sometimes make,” said NDA president and CEO, Nick Pinizzotto. He added, “The last thing anyone wants to do is limit opportunities for sportsmen, but this is a matter of doing what’s best for the herd and deer hunters over the long haul, and the best available science supports it.” According to the Michigan Constitution, the veto can be overturned by a two-thirds vote by both the State House and Senate, and the legislature has until the end of 2020 to take such action. NDA supports scientifically supported practices that slow the spread of CWD for the long-term benefit of deer, hunters, and the hunting industry, but does not oppose baiting as a general hunting practice. NDA also feels strongly that decisions for managing wildlife be left in the capable hands of trained and experienced professionals within state and federal wildlife management agencies.