Reinstating Baiting in Iosco County

In April of this year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) accredited Iosco County as bovine tuberculosis (bTB) free based on the absence of the disease in Iosco County cattle. bTB is a chronic bacterial disease in cattle and can affect other mammals, such as whitetail deer. The disease can be transmitted by the inhalation of aerosol droplets, nose to nose contact with an infected animal, and ingestion of the bacteria, which happen more frequently through the use of bait that draws deer together more often and for longer periods of time than they might otherwise do naturally.
For this reason, deer baiting for the purpose of taking game is illegal in the following Michigan counties:
  • Alcona County
  • Alpena County
  • Montmorency County
  • Oscoda County
And within the following townships in Iosco County:
  • Oscoda
  • Plainfield
  • Wilbur
  • Au Sauble
  • Baldwin
These restrictions have been in place as part of Michigan’s strategy to eliminate bTB. However, because the USDA has accredited Iosco County as bTB free for cattle, the Department of Natural Resources recommends removing the previously mentioned townships in Iosco County from the list of places where baiting is prohibited through Wildlife Conservation Order Amendment 17. It further suggests that the ban should continue in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, and Oscoda Counties.
The existing baiting requirements and regulations remain in effect:
  • Baiting can only occur from Oct. 1st to January 1st
  • The amount of bait at one hunting site can’t exceed 2 gallons at any time
  • “Baiting” means to place, deposit, tend, distribute or scatter bait to aid in the purpose of taking deer
  • “Bait” means a substance composed of grains, minerals, salts, fruits, vegetables, hay, or other food materials meant to entice or attract deer
  • Bait must be “scattered” dispersed or thrown over a minimum of a ten-10 foot or equivalent area.
MUCC remains opposed to baiting for whitetail deer because of the nexus of disease associated with this practice and should bTB be found within cattle or deer in this area again, we would support reinstating the ban on baiting in the entire county.
This proposed order is scheduled for approval at the NRC meeting on September 12 at the MSU Diagnostic Center.
Special thanks to MUCC's new policy intern Michael Cornelius for this report.

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