Friday, June 10, 2011

Michigan moves to allow baiting for deer.. Could Ohio ever stop it?

The shoe has been picked up from off the floor in Michigan after it fell three years ago.

In a 4-3 vote Thursday, Michigan's Natural Resources Commission voted to end a ban on baiting and feeding of whitetail deer in most of the state's Lower Peninsula, says Michigan United Conservation Clubs, a broad-based conservation group in that state.

However, there is one item that Ohio deer hunters might consider somewhat bizarre. More on that in a moment.

The decision legalizes baiting again in most of the Lower Peninsula with the exception of the northeast section where bovine tuberculosis remains a problem, including Alcona, Alpena, Iosco, Montmorency, Oscoda, and Presque Isle counties.

Here is the strange part: While bait can be "scattered" it cannot be "piled," whatever those two terms mean.

And the amount of bait could not exceed two gallons at any one hunting site. So if you have a 5-gallon bucket you'll have to measure out less than one-half.

Of course, if you visit the bait site the next day you'll have say "hmmm, how many pints or quarts did the deer eat last night?"

There is, however, the groups says as well, a three-year "sunset" provision when after on regulations and the issue will be re-evaluated then.

Baiting and feeding have been banned in Michigan's Lower Peninsula since August 2008. That is when a deer with chronic wasting disease was found at a captive deer facility in Kent County, the group concluded.

The issue is of at least passing interest to Ohio deer hunters. While baiting for deer is legal in the state there are some sportsmen and state officials who are not particularly enthralled with the activity.

Thus, if CWD or Bovine TB does ever shows up in Ohio than the state's deer hunters could see mounting pressure to do away with - or at the least, reduce - the activity.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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