Citing concerns with chronic wasting disease (CWD) and bovine tuberculosis, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a deer baiting bill on Thursday.
She opposes House Bill 4687, legislation that would have allowed hunters to bait and feed during open season for deer and elk. According to Whitmer, this would have “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,” Whitmer said in a statement. “By vetoing this legislation, the authority to ban baiting and feeding will remain with the experts at the Natural Resources Commission, in accordance with the will of the overwhelming number of Michiganders who supported proposal G. Leaving the ban in place will allow the state to continue working to curb the spread of diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease.”
Previously, the Michigan Senate voted 21-14 in favor of repealing a feeding and baiting ban in Michigan. The NRC has already banned baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula and core CWD surveillance areas of the Upper Peninsula.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, bait is any food substance — salt blocks, fruits, and vegetables — that “attract(s) deer or elk as an aid in hunting.”
Under Proposal G of 1996, the NRC has the authority to issue baiting ban rules.
“Michigan Farm Bureau supports the Governor’s decision to veto House Bill 4687,” said MFB Legislative Counsel Andrew Vermeesch. “Farm Bureau remained opposed to the legislation even after our member-developed policy on wildlife was updated earlier this month at our organization’s annual meeting.
“Our updated policy position now indicates that while we support baiting as a means to increase hunter success rate, we oppose feeding of free-range deer because it creates an unnecessary risk of disease transmission without contributing to overall deer population reduction.”