Albeit many are counting down the days to the season opener, in the background there is a lot of buzz that is now becoming the normal conversation in hunting circles across Michigan and on social media. Chronic Waste Disease (CWD) has been a main point of topic in recent times spreading in Michigan and in 24 other states across the US. The MiDNR has now given their recommended CWD proposal to the Michigan Natural Resources Board (NRC) and from there the NRC has authorization to regulate the taking of game and sportsfish. This is where the hunting and fishing laws and regulations come into play. Today, the DNR is publicly presenting the proposal in front of the NRC in their monthly scheduled meeting. Here is a quick summary of the recently released Michigan DNR recommendation to the Natural Resources Commission on CWD management for white-tailed deer (below). For the full version, please click on the link here in its entirety, it's 40 pages long:
Let Em Go Let Em Grow is encouraging all it's members to write or contact members of the National Resource Committee to let them know that this proposal is not in the best interest of our whitetail deer herd and managing the herd utilizing antler point restrictions and putting emphasis on harvesting doe can be an effective part of deer management. Please email the NRC @ NRC@michigan.gov to encourage them that there is an alternative to the DNR's proposal.
I myself have been keeping close attention the last several years on the reports of CWD and it is my hope that the NRC can somehow come to a resolution to not only make sure they place regulations to combat the disease, but also preserve our resource understanding what is a stake, along with keeping the mass of hunters happy and engaged and continuing to purchase licenses and teaching and getting future generations to hunt and getting them involved. While there are many questions about the disease that are left unanswered, we need to come up with short term and long term goals to not only slow the disease from spreading but also maintain positive concepts that are at stake now and for future generations.
The only way CWD will be effectively managed over the long-haul is through a true partnership between hunters and the DNR. Consequently, I do not believe the current recommendations are the answer for short term and long term goals in combating the disease and what is best for our precious herd. The NRC needs to direct the DNR to take an innovative approach to CWD by incorporating APRs with achievable and meaningful antlerless harvest and disease testing goals. I encourage all hunters to contact the NRC and write a quick note to them within the next couple weeks. We are at a cusp right now and these times are critical for hunters to get out there and let them know there should be amendments to this proposal before it is set in stone as new regulations. These possible regulations will have a huge impact on effective CWD management, agency relevancy and the future of conservation in the State of Michigan.
• Only synthetic cervid (deer family) urine and natural urine products approved with the Archery Trade Association (ATA) Seal of Participation will be allowed.
• A deer baiting and feeding ban throughout the entire Lower Peninsula will go into effect January 31, 2019.
o An exception will be made for hunters with disabilities outside of the CWD Management Zone during the Liberty (September 2-day) and Independence (October 4-day) Hunts.
• Existing September two-day and late December antlerless season expanded to several Lower Peninsula counties, intended to encompass the CWD Management Zone (below) as well as some perimeter counties.
CWD Management Zone:
• Creation of a 13-County CWD Management Zone that includes: Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa, and Shiawassee counties.
• Deer baiting and feeding ban in place immediately for all 13 counties (In 2017 it has been in place for only 7 of the counties)
• Discounted $12 expiring antlerless tag available, valid for all private lands in the 13 counties, which expires on the first Sunday in November.
• Full price $20 antlerless tags by county, valid through all deer seasons.
• Creation of an early antlerless firearm season Oct. 11-14, 2018 on private lands. All firearm season regulations would apply, including the limited firearm zone restrictions and hunter orange. Hunters could use their antlerless license, deer or combination deer license to take an antlerless deer. Bow hunting can happen during this season, similar to Muzzleloader season, bow hunters be aware!
• Muzzleloader season would expand to allow all firearms legal during regular firearm deer season for that area.
• Additional restrictions on wildlife rehabilitators regarding deer movement or release.
CWD Core Area:
• Within the 13-county area, there would be a smaller CWD Core Area of 5 counties, which includes Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, and Newaygo counties.
• Carcass movement restricted outside of CWD Core Area unless submitted for testing. Only deboned meat, quarters or other parts of a cervid that do not have any part of the spinal column or head attached, antlers, antlers attached to a skull cap cleaned of all brain and muscle tissue, hides, upper canine, or finished taxidermy mounts can be transported outside of the 5-County Core CWD Area, unless the carcass has been submitted to a designated drop-off location within 24 hours of harvest for testing. In short, this is mandatory check for people wishing to take their carcass out of the Core Area.
• Likely January disease management hunt, authorized by the Director if needed.
• Either-Sex Deer Licenses: Hunters hunting during firearm seasons in the 5-county Core Area will be able to use their $20 single deer license for a buck or a doe or buy a $40 combination deer license for 2 bucks (one with 4+ points on a side), 2 does, or 1 buck and 1 doe.
If you disagree with the way the MiDNR is proposing to handle this please reach out to your NRC commissioners via phone or email:
Email: @ NRC@michigan.gov