More does should be taken in hunt

First off, I am a concerned resident, hunter and sportsmen of the U.P. who attended the chronic wasting disease, or CWD, meeting Jan. 7 at the Merriman Sportsman Club of Iron Mountain.

I must say that I was very disappointed at what I heard and did not hear. One thing that I did not hear was anything mentioned about Lyme disease, which affects humans and pets and is directly related to the deer and coyote population. There are studies that show if you drop the deer population to 10 deer per mile, cases of both diseases drop over 70 percent. So, for me, it is a no-brainer — we need to drop the deer population to that number.

I was also disturbed that one idea was to bring in an outside entity to lower the deer population. So, what happened to issuing more doe permits to the public, instead of just landowners?

I believe we could change the outcome of both diseases with a few new rules. To me, it is a health issue that needs to be addressed. In my opinion, as hunters and sportsmen, we have some very important decisions to make that will directly affect the next generation.

My suggested rule changes:

1. More doe permits should be issued below M-69, on public and private lands.

2. No bait hunting unless disabled.

3. Late-season bow hunting should be open for harvest of one doe anywhere in the U.P.

4. Every four-person camp would have one camp meat tag.

5. Group hunting should be allowed with participants who have already filled their tags.

6. New restrictions on deer farming.

I must tell you that I come from a long hunting heritage. I started deer hunting at age 11 but was not allowed to carry a gun until age 12. My grandfather and father took me squirrel and grouse hunting at the age of 7. Our deer camp was mainly two families, along with neighbors and friends who all came together to do deer drives. Everyone worked together as a team with cooperation and respect.

When mistakes were made, we learned from them by discussing them and making a final decision by popular vote. Our crew had up to six veterans or more at times, including some who saw combat.

I feel very fortunate I was able to learn many of life’s lessons at deer camp. It disturbs me to see how deer hunting has turned into sitting over a bait pile in a shack with a no trespassing sign down the property line. Not much teamwork or compromise in that scenario.

We must be careful not to teach the next generation to be killers instead of hunters. I do not believe we will have much luck with CWD or Lyme disease unless we let the hunters back in the woods, and work together as landowners, neighbors and friends to keep these diseases at bay.

I remember some years when a couple does were all that was taken, but to me, they were trophies!