Deer hunters will be allowed to use bait in Presque Isle County and southern Iosco County in Deer Management Unit (DMU) 487, after the Natural Resources Commission changed regulations at its meeting in East Lansing today (Nov. 10). Recreational feeding of deer in DMU 487 remains prohibited.
The NRC – which has authority for determining acceptable means and methods of take for hunting in Michigan – had previously reversed a three-year ban on baiting deer in the Lower Peninsula, but maintained the prohibition in the six-county DMU 487 in the northeastern Lower Peninsula. DMU 487 is the area where biologists are most concerned about bovine tuberculosis in the deer herd.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, however, recently changed the status of Presque Isle and Iosco counties, regarding tuberculosis in the cattle herd. As a result, only the four core counties of DMU 487 – Montmorency, Alpena, Alcona and Oscoda – remain in the Modified Accredited Zone, which require additional tuberculosis testing for cattle shipped from the area.
In the interest of maintaining consistency between baiting regulations and TB-testing requirements in the area of concern, the NRC decided to lift the bait ban in parts of DMU 487. Effective immediately, hunters may use up to two gallons of bait in Presque Isle County and in southern Iosco County. Baiting remains illegal in the northern tier of townships – Oscoda, Plainfield, Wilber, Au Sable and Baldwin – in Iosco County and in Montmorency, Alpena, Alcona and Oscoda counties.
Hunters are reminded that they may use no more than two gallons of bait per hunting site and bait must be distributed over a 100-square-foot area. Bait is defined as any substance – including mineral blocks or salt licks – that is intended to be ingested.
The Department of Natural Resources prefers that hunters not use bait. Baiting regulations are designed to minimize both nose-to-nose contact, as well as indirect contact, among animals. Hunters who use bait are asked to move their bait sites periodically to prevent repeatedly drawing animals to the same location.
An informational video has been produced by the DNR and Michigan United Conservation Clubs about the legal way to bait deer in Michigan. A link to the video can be found on the DNR’s website at www.michigan.gov/dnr.