Baiting and feeding deer will still be banned in the Lower Peninsula for the upcoming hunting season. The regulation is just one of the steps approved by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to curb chronic wasting disease (CWD). 

CWD is a fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. The disease attacks the brain of an infected animal and produces small lesions that result in death. There is no cure; once an animal is infected, it will die.

RELATED: State bans deer baiting to curb chronic wasting disease

A series of deer hunting rules were approved this week by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission at its regular monthly meeting in Lansing. 

Here are the rules in full as approved by the commission. 

BATING AND FEEDING

  • Continue a ban on baiting and feeding in the entire Lower Peninsula that took effect at the end of January 2019. There is an exception to this ban for hunters with disabilities during the Liberty and Independence hunts. Qualifying hunters are allowed to use 2 gallons at a time of single-bite baits during deer seasons.  
  • Allow baiting and feeding in the Upper Peninsula except for a ban, effective immediately, in the Core CWD Surveillance Area. This core area comprises some 660 square miles, defined by major roadways within portions of Menominee, Delta and Dickinson counties around the single case of a CWD-positive deer found last year in the Upper Peninsula. Consistent with regulations in the Lower Peninsula, there is an exception to the baiting ban in the U.P. Core Area for hunters with disabilities during the Liberty and Independence hunts.

OTHER REGULATIONS

  • Move the Liberty Hunt to the second weekend in September. Based on this change, the 2019 Liberty Hunt will be held Sept. 14-15 instead of Sept. 21-22 as it was previously scheduled. The early antlerless season – held on private land in select counties – will continue to be held the third weekend in September (Sept. 21-22).
     
  • Change the deer baiting start date for hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements. Baiting for these individuals can occur five days before and during the second Saturday in September.
     
  • Require that scents placed to entice deer, whether composed of natural or synthetic materials, be placed so that they are inaccessible for consumption by deer and placed in such a manner to prohibit any physical contact with deer.
     
  • In the Upper Peninsula, reinstate the antlerless option during archery deer season for hunters hunting on the Deer License or Deer Combo License in areas open to antlerless licenses.
     
  • Also in the Upper Peninsula, eliminate antler point restrictions in the Core CWD Surveillance Area, and allow the use of crossbows in the late archery season in the Core Area.
     
  • In the Lower Peninsula, add Barry, Lenawee and Midland counties to the CWD Management Zone, where additional regulations will apply.
     
  • Also in the Lower Peninsula, implement a 4-point antler point restriction across all Deer and Deer Combo licenses for Mecosta, Montcalm and Ionia counties. This is part of an experimental APR to determine the impacts of APRs on deer populations in an area of known CWD occurrence.
     
  • Require that established department goals for management of antlerless deer be achieved, if this experimental APR is to continue.
     
  • Require that deer collected with a salvage permit as a result of collision with a motor vehicle may not be removed from the county where the animal was killed to prevent potential spread of CWD.

More information about these new deer hunting and baiting regulations also will be posted next week to the Michigan.gov/CWD webpage. For additional questions, contact the DNR Wildlife Division by email at DNR-Wildlife@michigan.gov or by phone at 517-284-9453.

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