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Discussion Starter #1
Overnight trip up to Cedarville to do some dock work. This AM had 3 bucks pass through the yard on the way to the neighbors for handouts. A spike, a 6 point and an 8 point! Nice antler form but not particularly heavy. A Doe with a fawn and 1 1/2 year old doe as well. Nice to see some bucks even if I can't hunt there.

Buck sightings are somewhat unusual at our place on a channel east of Cedarville. We frequently see does and fawns, but the local big bucks seem to hang out on Island No. 8 just south of us where no hunting is allowed.

Downstate we would see lots of does and fawns in fallow fields in the evening, but not bucks. Farmers have been tilling fields that were messed up by late spring weather, probably to put in some rye or winter wheat. Tilling seems to cover whatever the deer are eating. Wonder where the bucks are hiding. No rubs, no large tracks.
 

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Always nice to see some deer no matter where they're at.

We see does and fawns around our yard, but rarely a buck. Maybe you'll get lucky and see that 8 point again someplace where it's legal to shoot him.
 

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we had a bit slower year crop damage shooting last. But nothing like the year before last. Id say the deer heard probably is about what it was last year. didn't see as many big bucks as last year but last year we hunted fields that have allways had the big buck in them.
 

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MLive.com: "The Michigan House approved legislation to let hunters bait deer during hunting season Tuesday - although the proposal likely won’t impact the current bans in place this year.
Ten days before firearm deer hunting season begins in Michigan, the House voted 57-49 on House Bill 4687, legislation that would let people feed deer and elk unrestricted and bait during regular hunting season.
The proposal is in response to baiting and feeding bans in the entire Lower Peninsula and parts of the Upper Peninsula approved by the Natural Resources Commission in an attempt to curtail chronic wasting disease among deer populations."

Quick trip up to Cedarville to check on dock work found several tons of deer bait at the gas station/party store. Currently baiting is allowed in the eastern UP.

I do have an issue with the legislators sticking their oar in the water. Let the NRC and DNR professional biologists do their job trying to curtail chronic wasting disease. A few folks who make money growing and selling bait are pulling the strings here and the future of Michigan deer hunting is at stake. While the state does not have extensive experience with CWD, we do have a good understanding of how CWD and bovine TB are transmitted as well as deer migration, excursions from home territory, and dispersion, and baiting exacerbates the risk of spreading the diseases.
 

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I would sure like to see PROOF that baiting increases the risk of spreading CWD. I can't prove it doesn't, and so far no one has shown proof that it does. Just because a theory is repeated over and over doesn't make it a fact!

It's about time the legislature got involved. If they really wanted to improve things they would get rid of the NRC and let the DNR biologists make the decisions they were hired to make. Right now the regs are set by a group of political appointees who have no game management qualifications, and the DNR can only recommend!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Well, if a deer known to be carrying/afflicted with CWD visited a bait site, and subsequently other deer that visited the bait after the carrier came down with/tested positive for CWD that would be an element of proof. The problem is that 1) currently there are no tests to determine presence of CWD in live deer and 2) the disease progresses very slowly as do Scrapie, Mad Cow and Jakob-Cruetzfeldt diseases. So, with present knowledge, we aren't going to see that element of proof.

I believe current science has demonstrated that deer are inflicted with CWD after contact with CWD carriers and/or ground/natural features that carriers spent time on. Bait piles meet the latter condition and provide opportunity for contact as well. Yes , naturally occuring feed/browse does that too, as do scrapes. But in areas with dispersed browse, my experience is that even small bait piles do concentrate deer movement and would be expected to increase risk of CWD transmission. Why not eliminate bait as a potential cause of CWD transmission?

I don't have a big philosophical problem with baiting, but prefer to scout natural forage and scrapes for hunting locations. I have baited in situations where baiting was prevalent just to stay on even footing with other hunters.

We don't have, relatively speaking, much experience with CWD but the epidemiology of bovine TB in deer using concentrated feed is pretty well established and there appear to be parallels with CWD transmission.

My personal experience with legislators micro managing issues, other than passing enabling statutes for setting up regulations by agencies, is that they rarely understand what they are doing and are adversely influenced by vested interest lobbyists with an end result that is FUBARed.

I don't follow NRC stuff closely enough to know how well they listen to professional biologists, to what degree the NRC is overly influenced by special interests, if the NRC is a useful layer of government, or if the original purpose of the NRC was to buffer professional staff from the frequent nonsense of politicians with narrow and poorly advised agendas serving specific special interests....in this case deer bait producers and vendors.

BTW I just saw an article in the Drummond Island newspaper that described DNR studies of deer migrations in the western UP. IIRC deer wintered not far from the Wisconsin border and migrated north 30-40 miles north towards Lake Superior in the summer. I've heard eastern UP deer summer in the Rudyard/Pickford area and migrate south to cedar swamps along the Lake Huron shore about now...but have not seen any published reports.
 

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You make some valid points. Bottom line is so far no one can say for sure how CWD is spread, or what conditions increase the rate of spreading.

It seems reasonable to assume that if a deer spent it's entire life completely isolated from any other deer, and never fed or traveled over any land where other deer had been then that deer would never get CWD. BUT, where/how did the FIRST infected deer get CWD?

I don't use bait either so the ban doesn't affect me. If the DNR has credible evidence baiting increases the spread of CWD perhaps they should put more effort into educating hunters rather than just imposing a ban on baiting - and THEN telling us what a great idea it is.

AS for the NRC they seem to be influenced by special interest groups as much or more as the legislature. The QDM group being an example. Anyone who thinks you can "stockpile" deer in the U.P. just has no understanding of the normal pattern of deer survival up here. One bad winter will wipe out several years of "saving up" deer. Why hire biologists when the NRC doesn't follow their advice?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, QDM folks have not been especially helpful with the CWD business.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans can occur spontaneously, can be inherited or be transmitted by contact with infected tissue. Neighbor lady died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease several years ago. A slow, sad demise. No idea of how she contracted the disease and they really didn't know what the affliction was until autopsy. So perhaps some CWD is spontaneous, or migrated from another species of animal.

Persistence of CWD in the environment was first observed when Colorado Mule Deer penned in research enclosures which had previously....by many years...held deer which succumbed to CWD. A year or so ago DNR interviewed an Okemos friend who had an out of state deer tag. Apparently the Okemos area outbreak was thought to be started by land disposal of an infected carcass from out of state, and anyone in the area who had a history of hunting out of state was interviewed. Apparently CWD prions can be transmitted by direct/indirect contact, from soil, from plant material.

https://www.cdc.gov/prions/cwd/transmission.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4786122

and it seems that CWD prions remain infectious in coyote feces:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4964857
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Agree DNR should do more hunter education. They have done some, I attended a session a couple of years ago in Lansing. As with all state agencies, they do not have adequate resources for public training and that which is available is not always easily accessible.

This session was held in Menominee County last spring: https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79136...
 

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Complicated issue, still a lot to learn about about it. Hard to do research on wild animals due largely to lack of a "control" animal/environment. Even in the case you cited of the mule deer in the pen there's no way the researchers could be 100% sure the deer contracted it from the environment. It's possible one of the deer put in the enclosure was infected but showing no signs.

Articles on CWD contain words like "thought" and "believe" which tells me there are no hard answers yet!
 

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Ever visit the Michigan sportsman forum? I believe about 35 pages of back and forth on the baiting ban by the Ya it is over and the WA WA can't bait bunch.

Another after the govner vetoed the bill the bait sellers forced thru.

For me I had my best season sighting deer passed up a lot of bucks during fire arm season because I had seen a huge buck before the season started and had signs he was hanging in the area.

Again during ML season seen many bucks and does on my small property traveling between this corn field and that corn field and bedding areas of heavy thick brushy areas.

Going to be some really nice racks next year I think.

Me I would be real happy if they banned baiting forever here in Lower Michigan. The UP is a totaly different animal from lower Mi.

Never hunted bait in the UP which seemed to be how the locals hunted there in the area we hunted. I say We never hunted bait and that I suppose would be a lie as we had seen the feeders locals had set up for corn and we would find the trails to hunt deer coming to those bait feeders from bedding areas if we didn't have a good acorn fall in the hard woods.


:D Al
 
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