DNR bans baiting and feeding to slow the spread of CWD

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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- Although we are in the heat of the summer season, there are changes being made to the upcoming deer season.

A series of deer regulations have recently been made to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease found in deer, elk and moose.

Hunters will no longer be able to bait and feed deer throughout the Lower Peninsula and some parts of the U.P. this year.

Although it's to stop the spread of the fatal disease, some long time hunters are not a fan of the ban.

"By getting the bait, you are more likely to get an animal than not having a bait pile. Therefore we can manage the herd much better," said Scott Vandermere.

Vandermere says he's been hunting for nearly 40 years.

His prime hunting spot...out in Eaton County.

"The guys that we hunt with is on private farms."

He says deer are just as likely to transmit chronic wasting disease to each other in natural settings as they are at a bait pile.

"People don't realize that deer and herds eat in the corn and bean fields together. It's the same thing, so we need the baiting to manage the herds properly," said Vandermere.

The Chief of the Wildlife Division for the DNR tells News 10, they understand the hunters complaints.
But by banning baiting, the state is taking the preventative approach, rather than being reactive.

Eaton County is one of the nine Michigan counties where Chronic Wasting Disease has been seen in deer.
Since its discovery in 2015, there's been 120 confirmed cases.

Eaton County is one of the nine Michigan counties where chronic wasting disease has been seen in deer.
There have been 120 confirmed cases since it was first found in Michigan in 2015.

Vandermore says he wont have to make too many changes to his hunting routine this year because of the ban.
And despite his frustration with the deer regulations, he gets it.

"I do understand why they are doing it, to stop the deer eating out of the same bait piles," said Vandermere. "Chronic wasting disease is a sad thing for the deer."

There is an exception to this ban for hunters with disabilities.
Qualifying hunters are allowed to use 2 gallons at a time of single-bite baits during deer seasons.

This ban is just for the Lower Peninsula.
Baiting and feeding is allowed in the U.P., except in a 660 square mile area where a single case of CWD was found last year.

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