Michigan baiting ban overturned

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Michigan baiting ban overturned

Postby Sailfish » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:41 am

This is an intersting turn of events

http://www.record-eagle.com/breakingnew ... 45415.html

GAYLORD - An Otsego County judge overturned Michigan's ban on baiting or feeding deer and elk in the Lower Peninsula.
The decision came after state wildlife officials charged a rural Gaylord man with illegally feeding deer from his multiple bird feeders. Ken Borton fought the charge and this week 87th District Court Judge Patricia Morse threw out the case against him and struck down the ban.
Borton said he didn't expect the law to be voided altogether.
"That's not what I was going after. All I wanted was to feed my birds. I'm shocked," Borton said.
The case began when some viewers of Borton's Web site, www.snowmancam.com, reported to the state Department of Natural Resources and Environment that deer ate around the bird feeders where he trained his digital video camera. State officials twice cited Borton for violating the feeding and baiting ban, enacted two years ago after a penned deer in Kent County tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
Officials told Borton to scoop up empty seed casings daily from around his bird feeders to be in compliance with the law.
Morse instead voided the law as "unconstitutionally vague."
"The statute as drafted gives no guidance as to where and how to exclude wild animals from foraging near bird feeders. It leaves too much room for selective enforcement. It allows fact finders to rely on subjective criteria to determine criminal liability," Morse wrote in her ruling.
Dean Molnar, DNRE law enforcement assistant chief, declined to comment on Morse's ruling, as did spokeswoman Mary Dettloff.
"We have no comment at this time. We're reviewing the opinion," said Dettloff.
She did discuss reasons for the ban.
"The ban was put in place in the Lower Peninsula because of the discovery of chronic wasting disease in Kent County in 2008. We followed the state emergency response plan for chronic wasting disease, which was approved by the Natural Resources Commission and the state Commission of Agriculture," Dettloff said.
Ryan Ratajczak, president of the Northwest Michigan chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association, said his group supported the baiting and feeding ban. He's curious about the impact of Morse's ruling.
"I'm wondering how that works now. I think it was justified at the time. They had the plan in place," Ratajczak said. "I think the biggest issue is making sure we've contained CWD."
Ratajczak said he didn't object to allowing hunters to bait, but he'd prefer the decision be made by state wildlife biologists and not lawyers and judges.
Others hailed the court's decision.
"How can we justify spending time investigating a man feeding birds and prosecuting him?" said Zack Cox, owner of the Natural Farm Products store on M-66, south of Kalkaska.
Cox has long sold carrots, corn and sugar beets used by farmers for their livestock or by hunters to bait deer. He always questioned the state's baiting ban and said he's "very pleased" Morse threw it out.
"There's no logic to it. What's the difference between a deer eating at an apple tree or at a small pile of corn feed?" Cox said.
"Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see farther."

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RE: Michigan baiting ban overturned

Postby Randy3003 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:36 am

This is a difficult call because I can see both sides of the coin.  The man was supposedly not feeding the deer, he was feeding the birds, and not doing it to bait in the birds for harvest.  Let's face it deer will eat where ever they can find a meal, and while I'm not really for or against baiting, I am against feeding deer to enable them to make it through winter.  If there is that big of a problem then we need to relax the harvest restrictions to insure that starvation is kept to a minimum.  I do not believe in allowing wild animals to become dependent upon us human beings for their survival.  If they do become dependent upon our handouts, and the next guy doesn't feel the same as the previous, then they having forgot how to forage naturally will suffer because of mans inconsistency.  I believe in letting nature take its course, and that we are here to assist in this matter not dictate policy.

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