March 23 03:20 AM
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Baiting ban was the wrong decision to make

Dear Woods-N-Water News:

I'm writing in regard to last year's discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease, of a penned up deer in a Kent County deer breeding farm, and a complete overreaction by the Natural Resource Commission. The crux of the problem is: We have one deer locked up in captivity, sick. What do we do?

Their decision was to ban baiting across the entire Lower Peninsula. I guess if I were on the commission I may have suggested, first let's not panic. The Emergency Response Plan set way back in 2002 needs to be reviewed and updated, due to present economic conditions. The plan had called for, if a single deer was found with CWD a total ban on baiting would be put into effect. Because of that decision there were millions of dollars lost on farms, businesses, and state revenue last fall, and in a state that is already in serious financial trouble. You know that's really not the issue, but I'm going to make note of it in case we need to go back to it in decision making.

The next issue is of having one sick deer in captivity. I would suggest we take care of that site, investigate all other deer breeding farms and commercial hunting sites, and if I would have had a knee-jerk reaction to anything I would have shut all of them down. Even that wasn't needed yet, and surely not banning baiting in the entire L.P., where not one sick deer has been found in the wild, to this current date. I believe this is where they failed miserably.

In a conversation with one of the Natural Resource Commissioners this week, he made the statement that the disease could be spread by nose to nose contact. If one of the deer in the wild comes up to one of these compounds and makes contact it could infect the herd. The phone could have fallen out of my hand. Believe it or not we began the conversation by my asking their logic and reasoning for this ban. I said the problem is inside the enclosed pen not in the wild.

Fix the problem with these breeding farms and then move to the outside, if needed, thank God the herd is healthy.

The third thing I talked about was their decision to continue baiting in the Upper Peninsula. In 2002 the Emergency Response Plan had also concluded that you could continue to bait until CWD was detected within 50 miles of the border. We have probably over 200 miles of border with Wisconsin in the UP. Southern Wisconsin is heavily infected with CWD. The commission again with terrific logic and insight allows baiting where any contaminated animal that is definitely in the state can cross anywhere in that 200 mile stretch.

I feel in all these issues they made the wrong decision. "In the abundance of counselors there is wisdom," is a biblical proverb. I would pray that the Magnificent Seven would go back and re-evaluate their position and see if they maybe have erred some. Be honest with yourselves and us.


William Panigay

Prescott, MI

April 28, 2009

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