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Bill that would overturn deer baiting ban heads to Michigan Senate

white tailed deer
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

Hunting season is underway. And lawmakers are trying to quickly move a bill that would allow deer or elk baiting.

Right now, a state rule bans baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula and parts of the Upper Peninsula. The Department of Natural Resources says it’s meant to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.

Republican Representative Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton) is a bill sponsor. She says the commission put an unnecessary restriction on Michigan hunters.

“Every once and awhile the bureaucrats don’t make the right decision and I believe as an elected official, that it’s my job as a legislator to step in and correct a wrong,” she said.

Hoitenga says she’s not optimistic that the governor would sign the bill because the DNR is opposed. But she says she hopes this will start a conversation.

Republican Representative Gary Howell (R-North Branch) voted against the bill. He says lawmakers shouldn’t decide this issue – it should be up to the commission.

“We are politicians. We are not experts in scientific game management. That’s why the Natural Resources Commission is appointed, to take care of that issue.”

There are some exceptions to the current baiting ban. For example, people who are blind or are a veteran with 100-percent disability.

The bill to allow baiting throughout the state passed out of the state House and moves on to the state Senate.

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Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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