NORWAY, Mich. (WLUC) - When the firearm deer season opens Friday, a baiting and feeding ban will continue for part of Upper Michigan. That ban is in the Core Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Surveillance Area.
A map of the Core Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance Area. (WLUC Photo)
Hunting season, a time many wait for, but this year it is different in parts of Menominee, Delta, and Dickinson counties due to Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance. Chronic Wasting Disease is a neurological disease that impacts animals such as elk, deer, and moose. There is no cure.
"The CWD ban has been put into effect if hopes of avoiding congregations of large amounts of deer,” said a Michigan DNR Conservation Officer, Ariel Young.
CWD was found in one doe in Waceduh Township last year, but so far that is the only case in the U.P., which is why the ban is in place.
"The ban is being enforced this year much like any other law that the DNR has, We do go out and do investigations, and when you are found to be baiting in a no baiting or no recreational feeding zone we are taking it like we do any other law, and we are citing people where you would have to pay a fine," said Young.
By placing the ban in some 660 square miles, the DNR hopes to reduce the risk of CWD spreading. But State Representative Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) says the ban is not good for hunters.
"For the elderly and for the disabled if you want to go hunting, this baiting ban makes it incredibly difficult,” said Rep. LaFave, of Michigan's 108th State House District.
To help, the DNR says the Core CWD Surveillance Area now has no antler-point restrictions, and the agency says there are still plenty of deer to hunt.
"A lot of people are concerned that they are not going to be seeing deer because they are not allowed to be baiting or feeding in the area, but the rut activity has definitely been amped up and all sorts of deer have been running,” said Young.
A bill that could reverse this ban has been passed in Michigan’s House of Representatives.
"I think in a couple weeks we'll see action in the Senate to overturn this rule,” said LaFave.
Until then, the feeding and baiting ban remains in place for this hunting season.