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Categorized | Outdoors

Hunters reminder

It is illegal to bait or feed deer

As the opening day of firearm deer hunting season approaches, the Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that it is illegal to feed or bait deer in the Lower Peninsula.

Despite the presence of bagged corn and carrots at many stores across the state, placing feed that is accessible to deer in the fields and forests of the Lower Peninsula is a misdemeanor violation, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to 90 days in jail.

“We are taking this seriously and hunters and landowners should, too,” said DNR Law Division Chief Gary Hagler. “We are responding to complaints about illegal feeding or baiting and encourage citizens to continue reporting any illegal activity to the Report All Poaching hotline.”

Bait or feed consists of any substance—grain, fruits, vegetables, hay, salt or minerals, whether natural or manufactured—that can be ingested by deer.

The ban does not apply to scent products that use odor to attract deer.

The Natural Resources Commission enacted the Lower Peninsula bait and feed ban in 2008 after a deer that tested positive for chronic wasting disease was discovered in a privately owned herd in Kent County.

“One of the basic principles of preventing the spread of disease is to minimize contact among infected individuals,” said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. “Baiting and feeding cause deer and other animals to congregate in an unnatural manner. Eliminating bait and feed from deer range is a classic case of an ounce of prevention being worth way more than a pound of cure.”

The Report All Poaching hotline is 800-292-7800.

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