It appears the practice of deer baiting will return to portions of Northeast Michigan.
At the Natural Resources Commission meeting Thursday, commissioners learned of a late request to alter baiting regulations in the state and allow Presque Isle, and a portion of Iosco County, to bait this year, in time for the November firearms season. Thursday, NRC members heard comments only on the proposal. It will be voted on during their next meeting - Nov. 10 in Lansing.
Baiting still would be prohibited in the rest of Deer Management Unit 487 - Alpena, Alcona, Montmorency and Oscoda counties. These four counties Department of Natural Resources officials consider as the core area of bovine tuberculosis.
State Rep. Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, has pushed the DNR hard this year to allow baiting after the decision was made this summer to again allow baiting statewide - except in DMU 487. Pettalia argued Northeast Michigan was being adversely singled out by that decision, and that baiting actually would result in more deer being shot this season, thus helping a secondary goal of the DNR in reducing deer numbers locally.
We appreciate Pettalia's efforts and the NRC's consideration of the issue.
Hunting over bait has been part of the hunting culture in Northeast Michigan for years. While it is not a practice we support nor encourage, we also don't think it fair that our region should be adversely impacted economically by the baiting ban. Thus, it has been our position that if baiting is allowed statewide, it should be allowed for everyone.
Until bovine TB is eliminated entirely, the core area here probably will never experience bait hunting again.
That being the case, for Pettalia to successfully lobby for Presque Isle and a portion of Iosco County now to be allowed that type of hunting is an impressive feat that many hunters will appreciate.
The Alpena News