I support baiting in the L.P.
Dear Woods-N-Water News:
The following is a letter I wrote to the NRC concerning the baiting issue:
I am writing in regards to the upcoming meetings discussing the feeding and baiting bans of whitetail deer in the Lower Peninsula.
The ban has been in effect for three years now without another case of CWD in the entire state of Michigan. Everyone knows that the ban was just a way for the DNR to shut down a practice that they did not want to deal with anymore. I mean think about it, a single deer in a fenced-in private facility with CWD was the key to shutting down an entire state industry and practice. Yet it was still allowed to be done in the U.P.
The DNR just got tired of having to deal with hunters using too much bait at hunt clubs or on private property. Now whitetail deer live in both small groups and herds depending on the season. In the winter they yard up in large groups and there is constant nose to nose contact and licking and physical contact among them, this cannot be controlled by the DNR, it is just nature.
There are those that believe baiting makes deer nocturnal, well they are nocturnal by nature, everyone knows to watch for them along the roads at night. Also everyone knows a good farmer's field to go "shine deer" for entertainment on a summer night.
My family has been hunting deer here in Roscommon County since 1947, over 60 years, we have seen both the bad and good years during that time. We have a lot of buck mounts on the walls of the cabin and a lot of memories of deer camp now in its fourth generation.
Hunting methods have changed over those years, from sitting on a stump in a cedar swamp to sitting in a camo heated blind or treestand. But what has not changed is the desire to see deer, any deer, it does not matter, it is the difference between a good hunt and just a day in the woods. Back in the 40s the deer ran in herds, then the DNR started trying to control the population through various methods, mainly doe permits and numerous special hunts -- reading the yearly game laws now takes a law degree. The DNR always blames bad harvest years on the weather. Well they may be right, but bottom line is, you increase your odds of seeing deer if you have a little bait out in front of the blind. It may be corn, apples, beets, carrots or sitting on a food plot of rye, alfalfa, or buck oats.
I support the reinstating of bait allowed to hunt deer in Lower Michigan, to drop the ban in place for the last three years. I do not support unlimited amounts of bait, such as truck loads on private land. I believe that 3 to 5 gallons a day is sufficient. I am 67 and cannot carry more than that anyway, what with my backpack, gun, folding blind and chair, it's all I can carry, add 5 gallons of bait and the next thing you know I will have to bring my wife along to help me get to the swamp before daybreak!
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on deer hunting and baiting in Michigan. I think it is time for common sense to return to decisions by the DNR and NRC and not political ones.
Clearcuttings also need to be addressed but please don't get me started!
Veteran Deer Hunter
Mr. Tom Harmon
March 30, 2011