The Michigan Natural Resources Commission completed the August 9, 2018 monthly meeting where the biggest item up for action was Chronic Wasting Disease Regulations (Wildlife Conservation Order Amendment No. 12). Rather than take you through the pain of all the amendments and amendments of amendments, MUCC is providing this as a quick summary for the benefit of our members and the hunters of Michigan. This is not intended to be comprehensive, so please stay tuned for more information from the DNR and the new 2018 Hunting Digest.
Wildlife Conservation Order Amendment No. 12:
The CWD Management Zone was created to include 16 counties: Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa, and Shiawassee.
Within the CWD Management Zone, there is a five-county CWD Core Area: Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, and Newaygo.
Baiting and Feeding Ban:
- Baiting and feeding of deer will be banned in the CWD Management Zone as well as the existing ban in DMU 487 (TB Zone) effective immediately in 2018. This area includes Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa and Shiawassee counties.
- Baiting and feeding of deer will be banned in the entire Lower Peninsula as of January 31, 2019.
- The Upper Peninsula will remain open to baiting and feeding under the current regulations.
- There is an exception on baiting for hunters with disabilities who qualify for the Liberty or Independence Hunt.
- Qualifying disabled hunters may use two gallons of single-bite bait (shelled corn, grain, etc.) in the CWD Management Zone and the TB Zone (DMU 487).
- Qualifying disabled hunters may use two gallons of any currently legal bait outside of the CWD Management Zone and the TB Zone (DMU 487).
Lures and Attractants
Only synthetic cervid (deer family) urine and natural urine products approved with the Archery Trade Association (ATA) Seal of Participation will be allowed.
- Hunters may bring carcasses from a lower risk area to a higher risk area, i.e. from outside of the CWD Management Zone into the Zone or from the CWD Management Zone into the Core Area.
- Hunters may not transport whole deer carcasses from the CWD Core Area to the CWD Management Zone or remove carcasses from the CWD Management Zone to the rest of the state with two exceptions:
- The deer must be properly checked within 24 hours of harvest at a DNR check station or head drop box, OR
- Only these portions of the deer may be transported: hides, deboned meat, quarters or other parts of the cervid that do not have any part of the spinal column or head attached, finished taxidermy products, cleaned teeth, antlers, or antlers attached to a skullcap which have been cleaned of brain and muscle tissue.
Existing Deer Season Changes:
- The existing September two-day and late-December antlerless seasons would be expanded to several Lower Peninsula counties. This encompasses the CWD Management Zone as well as some perimeter counties including Clare, Gladwin, Mason, Osceola, and Oceana.
- Muzzleloader season would expand to allow all firearms legal during regular firearm deer season for the CWD Management Zone.
- A possible January disease management hunt may be authorized by the Director if needed.
Antlerless License Changes:
- CWD Core Area hunters will be allowed to take antlerless deer on a regular deer (buck) license or combo license within the Core Area.
- There will be a cap of 10 private land antlerless licenses per hunter.
- Six southern Upper Peninsula Deer Management Units (DMUs 122, 055, 255, 155, 121, and 022) will have an increase in public and private land antlerless license quotas.
- Discounted $12 expiring antlerless tag available, valid for all private lands in the 16 county CWD Management Zone, which expires on the first Sunday in November.
Antler Point Restrictions (APR):
- Thumb APR Proposal going forward: The Department will expedite the process to evaluate public opinion for a hunter-initiated antler point restriction in Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac, St. Clair and Lapeer counties. Results of this evaluation will be brought to the NRC so that the Commission can make a decision whether or not to implement a mandatory APR for the 2019 deer hunting seasons. The Department will share expenses with the Thumb Area Deer Hunters for costs incurred to conduct the required formal survey to measure support for the proposal and for subsequent surveys to evaluate continued support provided that the mandatory APR is implemented.
- An Experimental Core Area APR will be considered: The NRC, in cooperation with the DNR, will appropriately establish a CWD assessment area within the five-county CWD Core Area for experimentally evaluating the effectiveness of regulations such as antler point restrictions on the prevalence and spread of CWD, increasing antlerless harvest and decreasing deer populations, to be in place for the 2019 hunting season. They will utilize Montcalm County as a focus area to evaluate the effectiveness of regulatory changes. Additionally, they will work with stakeholders to establish objectives of research and studies to be conducted in this area and field a formal survey to measure support for the proposal to see the effect of APRs on CWD.
- Restricted deer tag of a combination license will be unrestricted in the CWD Management Zone — there will be no mandatory APR for the second tag (unless enacted in the above areas in 2019)
- The Hunter-Initiated APR Process will be Reviewed: The NRC and the DNR will establish a committee to review and update the Guidelines for Initiation, Evaluation, and Review of Mandatory Antler Point Restrictions.
Partnerships in Education and Communications/Outreach:
The NRC has encouraged the DNR to work with stakeholders to consider additional opportunities to:
- Participate in achieving DNR surveillance goals, which could include sponsoring drop box locations where needed.
- Work with stakeholders to provide updates throughout the deer season related to surveillance goals and number of deer checked.
- Consider future technologies that will allow for alternative harvest reporting methods capable of measuring real-time progress toward deer harvest goals by DMU.
- Begin a discussion with stakeholders to explore a cooperative position that will work with hunters in the CWD management area with various responsibilities.
- Work with stakeholders on joint communications about deer management and disease management in Michigan.
- Work with stakeholders to align management objectives on state property adjacent to hunter cooperatives.