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Farm Bureau's view on UP supplemental deer feeding.

804 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Ken Browning
Supplemental deer feeding in U.P. unwise given disease risk
Contact: Rob Anderson, (800) 292-2680, ext. 2046

LANSING, Feb. 12, 2004 - Given concerns about animal disease spread, the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) is disappointed the state Natural Resources Commission (NRC) did not stick to its decision to ban supplemental feeding of deer and instead bowed to public pressure to resume the risky practice in parts of the Upper Peninsula.
"It's unfortunate that the NRC wasn't able to hold firm in the first winter after implementing the ban," said Rob Anderson, MFB legislative counsel. "We understand that people feel sympathy and are compelled to feed deer to help their survival through a harsh winter. But now's the time when the NRC needed to hold firm to its original decision, rather than reverse course less than one year later based on social concerns rather than disease risk."

Last Friday, the NRC approved an interim order allowing residents in certain parts of the Upper Peninsula to apply for permits that would allow supplemental feeding from Jan. 1 through May 15 as long as certain conditions were met. The eligible counties are: Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, Alger, Luce and portions of Marquette and Chippewa counties north of the T43N-T44N boundary line.

Back in June 2002, the NRC, in response to concerns about the potential spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD), voted to ban supplemental deer feeding in U.P. counties that border Wisconsin and extend the supplemental feeding ban to all of the Upper Peninsula beginning May 2003. At that time, supplemental feeding was already banned in the Lower Peninsula as a firewall against the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB).

MFB member-developed policy supports a statewide ban on feeding and baiting of free-ranging deer.

"We know that supplemental feeding is a prime way for animals to transmit disease," said Anderson. "No matter how much the public may desire to feed deer, it's a luxury we simply can't afford when there's even the slightest chance of spreading devastating diseases like TB and CWD."

The more responsible move, said Anderson, would have been for the NRC to remain firm, reinforce the reasons why the ban was put in place and allow time for review.

The newest order is valid for one year.

"We hope the NRC will give as much weight to scientific facts about disease spread as it did to human emotion when it reviews the order in a year," said Dave Bahrman, a Rumely cash crop and livestock producer who represents U.P. farmers on the MFB Board of Directors.

The NRC order takes some agricultural concerns into consideration. For instance, one condition of a permit being granted states that feed must be placed at least one mile from livestock.

But with these conditions comes proper enforcement, said Anderson. "Enforcing a statewide ban is easier than allowing some feeding that opens up the possibility of the system being abused," he said.
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Okay, now I may have to rethink my position. Anytime my opinions agrees with a Farm Bureau position, I need to step back and review what I am thinking . . . .

Nope, I am still against the supplemental feeding of the Upper Peninsula's cattle (oops, meant deer).

From that statement, we need to stop feeding livestock in close proximity of one and other because it will spread disease. Do they support that livestock should only be allowed to graze on open fields?

The Farm Bureau could care less about the deer herd. They are pushing in the direction the member farmers want to go in my opinion.
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I'm with you Steve...

Blah, blah, blah. The Farm Bureau is no friend to the hunters or the herd. I have seen the Ag Dept. and the FB in action in NE Michigan for way too long.
I'm with STEVE on this also.

Let them feed their animals on open ranges only and see how they fare.

Those butt munches wouldn't know what to do if their disease spreading animals couldn't be supplimentally fed.

Remember here people their animals are the disease initiators . They first brought BOVINE TB to our herd of animals. Their animals were THE FIRST WITH SPONGIFORM ENCEPILITIS

Now they want us to pay the price for their lack of foresight. I think butt munch is very well used in this context.
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%%par%% (Bob Gwizdz's real comment not printed)

The idea of requiring hunters to make sure deer have a minimum number of antler points before they are legal quarry continues to be a thorny problem for state wildlife officials.

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Oops, that last post was misplaced.

NRC reverses field on supplemental deer feeding in U.P.

LANSING -- In a surprise move, the Natural Resources Commission has reversed its policy and will allow sportsmen and landowners to supplementally feed deer in the Lake Superior watershed.

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It was all just a political move anyways with no real value to the majority of the herd. Probably won't hurt, probably won't help....but it sounds good.
I think its kind of amusing myself how this is all taking place..... its ending up being almost as much of a mess as Wisconsin was two years ago. The small area that contracted CWD was down near Madison, and there hasn't been a case found outside that area yet. So its kind of weird that Michigan is the only state afraid of getting the disease when its the farthest one from where it occured.
The biggest hurt I can see to the herd around the upper UP, is the fact of no winter habitat due to logging. I've hunted the Upper UP a couple times and snowmobiled it, and its amazing how many times I've seen a deer herded up in an area with loggers logging it out, or trying to herd in a recently logged area. That doesn't do the herd too much good, especially with the winter they're having up here this year. Just to put my .02 in would be to improve the habitat first, then cut back the baiting if its such a worry.
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Im glad to see that someone finally stood up to the FB!!:D :D

That part of the deer herd up there is in no real risk of CWD or TB unless the one magic thing that has caused TB in the northeast corner of the LP can sprout wings and fly that far. As ive said in the past, its kind of funny how no other deer in the state have come up with TB except for the NE LP. The only thing those deer are at risk of is extinction due to starvation from a hard winter. I say that since people are the reason there is no good winter habitat up there that people should be giving those deer a little help when they need it. I dont believe that the supplemental feeding will help support an unnatrually high deer herd. Since the winter is so hard up there, only the strong are going to survive any way. Starvation and predators will take care of those not able to take care of themselves.
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