Whitmer vetoes; Deer baiting remains illegal

LANSING, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as promised has vetoed legislation that would have ended the state’s ban on using bait to hunt deer or elk.

She said Thursday the restriction curbs the spread of animal diseases. The Democratic governor says more than 68% of voters approved a 1996 referendum on a law giving the state Natural Resources Commission authority to regulate hunting.

Baiting deer and elk is prohibited throughout the entire Lower Peninsula and parts of the Upper Peninsula.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Michele Hoitenga, says the ban is not preventing the spread of disease and is instead driving people away from hunting.

Though the baiting ban has been in effect for nearly a year, many hunters held on to hope that it’d get overturned.  

Following the governor’s veto on Thursday, Nick Percy offered up a legal alternative to baiting.  

Percy’s company Killer Food Plots offers a legal alternative to baiting by growing food sources to attract deer more naturally.  

“You’re basically growing a garden for the deer to come in and ravage,” Percy said.  

Since the ban started at the beginning of the year, Percy’s seen a boost in business.  

A specialist with the DNR, Chad Stewart, told News 8 there’s no research that shows food plots are better than baiting when it comes to risk of disease transmission, but there’s not much they can do about it.  

“It’s sort of a moot point because it’s not within our authority to recommend or to regulate it,” Stewart said. “So, it certainly is a legal strategy hunters have available for them to use.” 

Percy will be talking more about food plots during a hunting expo Jan. 24-26 at the Delta Plex Arena in Walker.