LANSING — With the start of firearm deer season about a week away, a plan to stop the current baiting ban got one step closer to reality.
Rep. Michele Hoitenga’s plan to end the ban on baiting deer and elk in Michigan was approved Tuesday by the House Government Operations Committee.
Hoitenga, R-Manton, said the ban – issued by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in August 2018 amid concerns about the spread of chronic wasting disease – is hurting outdoor enthusiasts and local businesses. The plan, House Bill 4687, would allow people to engage in baiting during open seasons on deer and elk in Michigan. House Bill 4687 now moves to the full House for consideration.
Last year, hunting and fishing license sales made up 20% of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ entire annual budget, equal to $83.5 million. These funds were used to aid the recovery of endangered and threatened species, including restoring thousands of acres of habitat and wetlands.
In September, Ted Nugent was in the state capitol to speak in support of Hoitenga's legislation. Nugent testified in front of the House Committee on Government Operations. Both Hoitenga’s legislation, House Bill 4687 and Senate Bill 037, sponsored by Sen. Curt Vanderwall, R-Ludington, are attempting to lift the baiting ban for white-tailed deer and elk.
During the hour-long committee meeting, Nugent spoke about how he is approached every day of his life by Michigan families who want to talk about hunting and the great outdoors. He said during the last couple of years those same people have expressed “heartbreak‘ and “anger‘ because the regulations in Michigan are pushing them out of the sport of deer hunting.