Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bait ban and attitude

By Mac Arnold
MAHFS editor

Man, I have been snoozin', haven't I?

On Thursday, June 9, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission voted 4-3 to end a ban on baiting and feeding of whitetail deer in most of the state's Lower Peninsula.

According to an Associated Press article, "baiting will be legal again in most of the Lower Peninsula from Oct. 1 to Jan. 1. The exception is a northeast section where bovine tuberculosis remains a problem, including Alcona, Alpena, Iosco, Montmorency, Oscoda, and Presque Isle counties."

The limit is not to exceed two gallons -- which seems like a low amount to me -- and must be scattered about instead of placed in piles.

Apparently the ban will be up for vote again in three years or sooner, likely allowing for a stoppage if a case (or cases) of chronic wasting disease pops up again.

For some guys I'm sure it won't really make much difference since bags of carrots, corn and beets have been stacked for purchase outside gas stations from Wadhams to Mackinaw City when the ban was put into effect in 2008 and they never stopped baiting at their sites in the first place. Or others who simply don't follow the practice when in the woods and choose other methods of drawing deer in close.

My thinking is it's a good thing.

Most of what I hear is how hunter numbers are constantly dropping every year, and here's something that makes it easier for a new or a less mobile hunter to bag a whitetail.

So if there's no real threat to the deer herd -- as founded after the CWD case in Kent County in 2008 was confined -- we might as well break out the bags of carrots and corn again.

Personally, I first learned how to deer hunt in West Virginia where baiting is illegal so I can get by without it if need be, but I still like having the option to bait.


The other item I wanted to mention was a Michigan Department of Natural Resources news release I read a few days ago on how the deer kill was down by 6 percent in 2010 than in 2009, yet a hunter survey still "found the season more enjoyable than the previous year."

Of the estimated 656,500 hunters, 44 percent reported killing at least one deer in the survey, which overall tallied nearly 418,000 deer on the season.

I can report I had a much less "enjoyable" season with the one small buck killed and remember seeing much fewer deer than in previous seasons.

And after a subpar spring turkey season, where I didn't hear a gobble until May 22, here's to hoping the 2011 deer season will not be anything like 2010.


On the archery front:

I was a no-show at the Huron Pointe shoot in Lenox Township this past Sunday when I decided to opt for the convenience of the backyard range after my partner got the dates turned around and couldn't make it.

The rest turned out to be a godsend as well.

Then, later this week during another backyard shoot, the string I had on the bow gave out so I might not have lasted long anyway had I been on the course.

I'm definitely going to hit the circuit this summer. Just waiting for the planets to get into proper alignment.


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