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Michigan DNR


steeliebob

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When was the last time an employee of the DNR has ever asked a sportsmen about their opinion on anything???? It is like you are the idiot and they know everything. In the UP the wolves are like God to them. They will not plant fish in the UP because of gill nets or they tell you nobody fishes up here. This year they sold 48000 less deer licenses than they did last year. Mabey when they count their money that will send them the message. The damn wolves do not bring hunters to the UP. Now that there are about 1000 wolves in the UP and a few in the lower what is the DNR going to do when they populate and start eating the elk in the lower???? You guys at the DNR should open season on the wolves and plant a few more fish in the UP. Your deer management ideas are really stupid too. You buy a combo tag and you have to shoot 4 points on one side in the UP. The wolves get them up here before they get that big. In the lower you can't use bait....have you guys ever looked under an apple tree???? What difference does it make if I throw 20 apples in front of my blind or 200 apples fall off of a tree??? Absolutely none!!!!! You just want an excuse to fly your airplane over top of my treestand and write tickets. Do you know that most of the guys on private land in the lower are using bait anyway.

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i heard a really funny story about the whole deer baiting thing. a guy painted 10 or so rock's orange and in the matter of 3 hours there was dnr guy on his door step ask about his bait pile. The dnr guy was determined to get the bait pile once the officer seen it he walked back to his truck with his tail between his legs made me laugh pretty hard.

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When was the last time an employee of the DNR has ever asked a sportsmen about their opinion on anything????

Attended a meeting, in regards to a local SGA, two years ago. Over the last year and a half they made changes to rules and habitat. I can think of ten off hand. Most of the ideas came from the sportsman themselves.

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The DNR has nothing to do with the wolves, they are federaly regulated untill they get delisted again. As far as antler restictions, chances are they listened to what the sportsman wanted, you can blame that one on the QDM crowd I think. So far I see none of your complaints that are the DNR's fault, not to mention it's not their job to make you happy but rather manage the wildlife for the betterment of the wildlife and not hunter satisfaction.

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The DNR has nothing to do with the wolves, they are federaly regulated untill they get delisted again. As far as antler restictions, chances are they listened to what the sportsman wanted, you can blame that one on the QDM crowd I think. So far I see none of your complaints that are the DNR's fault, not to mention it's not their job to make you happy but rather manage the wildlife for the betterment of the wildlife and not hunter satisfaction.

I agree with you steve but these I also agree with the above post about some of the field officers, not all, lack a degree of common sense. They had all better start caring about the quality of michigan fish and wildlife rather then using this department as a political entity to gain profit. From The change I have seen in fish and wildlife in the last 30 years it is on a downcline and if they dont manage it better there jobs will suffer to.

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The quality deer management thing in the UP started about 1990 with a small group of hunters who own private land near Cedarville. Hunters have voiced their opinion over the years but this small group of people kept crying to the DNR and finally it passed. A majority of hunters only buy the single tag now as a result and still shoot smaller bucks. A DNR biologist was at out sportsman club meeting last winter and said that there is no sound biological proof that this will ever work. You want quality bucks up here cut back on tribal hunting, shoot wolves, shorten the season, and don't issue doe permits. The wolves are federally protected so I guess that you can cut that one out. They will migrate across the ice in the winter. How many wolves do you think it will take to have an impact on the ELK???? My guess is 10 to 20 can wipe out the ELK hunting season. I have seen what they do in a deer yard up here and they do not descriminate. Even though they are federally protected do you think that the DNR is going to let them eat up all of the ELK. I think that the DNR will be out there shooting them. Nobody knows how many wolves are in the LP but we do know that they are there and we know that packs exist in Wilderness State Park and Dingmans Marsh only a few miles from prime Elk country. As the population of wolves grow in the UP the social pressure will force more and more of them to cross the ice. In deep snow an Elk is a pretty easy target for a pack of wolves. Let them shoot just one federally protected wolf in the LP and there will be a few less of them in the UP. I believe that the DNR is quietly trying to kill them off in the lower penninsula right now. In the last 10 years they have pretty much wiped out the deer in four prime hunting spots that I had in Mackinac County. These are spots where you would see 10 to 20 deer in a day. Now you can consider yourself lucky to see a single deer in these spots. So much for QDM!!!!!

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Here is a little fun stemming from the debate over the lack of deer vs. wolves and the DNR in the U.P., which spun off into the illegal netting in Little Bays De Noc this year and the lack of walleye this summer...thought you guys might get a kick out of this...I did!!

Quote:Exile (LBDN)

All I have been hearing is how bad the fishing is down there.. Is there any truth about this? looks like no trips to the bay this year..

Quote:The Bait Shop Guy, Re: (LBDN)

First answer me this, "How's the fishing been this year where you normally fish?" If you're like EVERYONE I've talked to from all over the midwest this open water season, I'll bet it was down. The A#1 reason for the poor fishing this year was the weather. Period. Yes, we had issues with the illegal netting last year, but that's not the reason - just a convenient excuse for a lot of people. The netters weren't taking bass, perch and salmon. And they weren't netting in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois - so it wasn't just us. Everything has been running 2 to 4 weeks behind normal the entire open water season. Walleye fishing was PHENOMENAL in September, south of Escanaba. That bite normally happens in August. Fishing SUCKED most of October! That said, do you remember how windy, wet, and cold it was - especially on the weekends mad The weather started to mellow at the end of October and most of November. Remember how nice it was and how it messed up the deer hunting! It was great for fishing. The night bite has actually been quite good since the end of October. We've seen and heard of more fish in the 12 pound class this fall, than ever before. I think that if we ever get a winter, the ice fishing will be good, too.

Only time will tell. Don't give up on the bay just yet.

Quote: Finook, Re: (LBDN)

Let's not beat around the bush, BSG. We all know the wolves are eating all the walleye. My buddy seen two wolfs swimming across the bay just last weekend carrying 47 walleye in their mouths. They didn't even eat them. They just killed them and let the float away unused. My other buddy has trail cam pics on the Whitefish from last spring showing wolves swimming under water and just going on a killing spree taking thousands of walleye just for fun. Clearly the DNR planted wolves in our rivers and lakes back in the 80's as a way to diminish the population to the point where no game wardens would ever be needed(Can you say TONS of illegal netting). Now another buddy of mine got a friend who seen his other buddy's trail cam pics of a mountain lion riding on a wolves back (you know, cause cats can't swim) out into the bay while another wolf was tossing walleye up into the air and the cat was eating them as they fell. He said he never seen no walleye this year, but he heard wolves every trip out on the bay. It's only a matter of time before we can't even ice fish out there without wolves swimming up through the holes in the shack and pulling us under. You watch, I betcha it happens this year.:lol::lol::lol:

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Unfortunately today I am in the middle of blizzard and work was called off so I have some idle time on my hands. There been some post that I am compelled to address. I choose this day to express my ideology. I concluded that if negative sentiments can be allowed, then so should be my opinions.

We have a public forum in WI with the Conservation Congress and Spring Hearings. This apparently is where the public can input or comment on the way the DNR manages our resources. It is similar to the Citizen Advisory Council in MI. If you ever attend any of these meetings, most agenda items progress without comment, until it involves deer. And then all that seems to occur is finger pointing along with a ranting and raving. Often some off the wall proposal is conjured that may raise an eyebrow or generate good laugh, but rarely is offered a realistic approach to a problem. Someone’s personal agenda typically is attached to the screwball idea. Then the complaints start to fling around that the DNR never listens to what the public is saying.

Perhaps we (the public) don’t always know what is best for the resource, and we don’t like the answer so we don’t hear what the DNR is saying. That’s why there are laws to prevent the public from doing whatever we want. Look at the result of unregulated hunting and fishing, or unregulated discharges into lakes, rivers, streams and the air that occurred in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. Regulations are needed, but the quandary of how the regulations are determined is the real culprit. We don’t like being told what we can and cannot do; it’s basic human nature that can be plainly witnessed in child’s behavior. If we let children do whatever they wanted, many of them would never see adulthood, and even if they do, the quality of their lives might be greatly diminished by ending up on the path of demise. Look at problem children and their home life. We hunters are very much like children; we need discipline to prevent us from harming ourselves. Is the DNR providing the perfect guidance? Not likely, but similar to most parents, they probably are doing the best they can with good intentions, despite the tantrums and name calling that they must endure.

The UP of MI and Northern WI had two severe winters in a row which decimated the deer herd; the same complaints are being resounded here in WI as the UP. Perhaps these things are common because they were the result of a natural act. Until the DNR can control acts of God, there will good years and bad years. Wolves are not the reason the deer herd is lower this year, we need to blame the correct source. Please bear with me as I present an argument to see if we can put the wolf predation into context.

It is estimated that WI has about 665 wolves, for our argument I’ll go 700. If a wolf eats one deer a week that’s 52 deer per wolf a year or 36,400 deer a year. That’s a lot of deer, but this not happening all directly in my back yard. It is occurring over the entire landscape where wolves are living. WI has nearly 65,500 sq mile of land. Wolves are found in approximately 1/3 of the land mass, most of which is in the northern tier of the state, or 19,650 sq miles of wolf territory. 36,400 deer being eaten by wolves in 19,650 sq miles equals 2 deer in one sq mile per year (actually 1.8, but I rounded up). If there are 20 deer per sq mile in the area I hunt that leaves 18 for me to hunt. If there are 10 deer per sq mile, that leaves 8 for me to shoot. If there are 5 deer per sq mile that still leave me with 3.

My point is, yes wolves eat deer and yes they compete with your hunting, but they are not the only reason you or I did not shoot any deer. To blame the wolf for failure to harvest a deer is a selfish statement. There are still deer there; the wolves are not eating them all. Wanting to eliminate them from the hunting equation simply because they directly compete with us harvesting “our†deer is purely selfish. We are not the only creatures on this earth that has the right to exist. To argue otherwise is probably narcissistic.

With that said, do I believe we should have a season on wolves? Yes, but not for the same reason many people are offering. I suggest we need to cull the size of the wolf population down to protect them from themselves. Too many wolves can be a bad thing. In years with an already lean deer population, they can decimate deer populations to a lower level that many hunters find disagreeable; which doesn’t mean that the hunter can’t be successful, it just makes it more difficult. Don’t confuse what I am saying to mean wolves are to blame for a hunter not being successful. There are deer on the landscape, maybe not many, but they are there. We’ve been spoiled with mild winters and high deer numbers. This has created a lazy deer hunter that expects to see a deer on opening weekend and be home in time for the football game on Sunday. We need to harvest wolves for different reasons.

As the deer population is lowered so is the carrying capacity for the wolf. Fewer deer means there should be fewer wolves, which will occur naturally overtime with diseases and starvation within the wolf population. Then barring that the deer population rebounds, so should the wolf population. This is the fundamental dynamic of predator prey relationship and people should be key players in the process by being allowed to harvest expendable surplus of wolves. Not all wolves born are going to make it adulthood; many will die due to the carrying capacities limiting factors. The landscape can only support “X “ amount of animals, the rest will die from something. The wolves that will die are the harvestable surplus. This harvest of wolves will not wipe out the population if regulated properly. In the past we hunted and trapped wolves when they were plentiful, but we eliminated them out of greed by putting a bounty on their head just because they compete with us. This was not managing the population, it was genocide.

Wolves are a sustainable resource that can be managed. But at present special interest groups have gone to Federal Courts and blocked a state’s ability to manage their wolf populations. These groups are empathetic to the wolf and don’t care about other factors. The only thing that matters to them is their perception. This includes saving an animal which they believe is imperil from the cruelty of hunting. These special groups are much like the deer hunter in that they believe only in their perception. This reasoning is typically derived from emotions, not biological dynamics.

But biological considerations should not be the only consideration that drives the decision to allow harvest of the wolf. Sociological effects should also be scrutinized. For one, the deer hunter should have a voice, particularly since it is the hunter that purchases a license that partially funds the division of the DNR to protect the wolf in the first place. Bear hunters have a great interest as wolves kill their dogs. Live stock farmers have an economic complaint. To strictly base a decision on science would be just as wrong as the complete elimination of the wolf. There is another limit other than carrying capacity, it is called social tolerance.

Social tolerance expands into the realm of deer as well the wolf. In WI we have goals of deer per sq mile in delineated management units. These goals take into consideration the biology and social aspects. Examples of social aspects include crop damage, car collisions, and landscape damage. Ask a non hunter that has hit a deer with their vehicle or can’t grow hosta in their yard about their opinion on deer in their neighborhood. It will sound similar to a deer hunter that has to contend with wolves. Social tolerance is difficult to pinpoint as it is a moving target, as populations of people move out of the city into the rural landscape, these tolerance change. It is also difficult in that isn’t tangible. One can’t put a number on tolerance then put it into an equation to determine the number of animals that can be harvested, but it needs to be considered. This is true for deer as well as wolves.

My point to all of this is to try discovering a common ground. I myself am a wolf enthusiast. I have seen wolves while sitting in a tree during a bow hunt. Rather than loath the wolf for killing my deer and ruining my day in the tree stand, I relished the experience and often recall the memory. Hunting shouldn’t be strictly about killing an animal and despising everything that challenges my ability to harvest game. We as hunter claim to anti’s that it’s more than killing, it’s an experience, the woods, nature, social bonding, etc. then perhaps we need to actually act that way.

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Well put Steve, I can see you did your homework. I also enjoyed seeing my first two wolves in Michigan back in 1993 (no kidding they were eating a deer). The decimated deer herd has lots to blame excessive hunting, poaching, hard winters, predators, poor land management, too many DNR issued doe permits. Take your pick. Now that the deer herd is down to mabey 3 per square mile predators are killing off the fawns faster than the deer can reproduce which does not help the situation. Yes hunting in the UP will be slim to none for I guess the next 5 years at least. The DNR in my opinion should just close deer season in the UP for a couple of years. If the Feds want to manage wolves then let them manage wolves. I have yet to see a federal truck pulled over on a back road with the occupants chasing a wolf but I do see the DNR trucks out there. How much of our license money goes into this wolf program anyway? How much money does Peta and the Sierra Club contribute??? I bet I have more change in my pocket than any of these groups have contributed toward Michigan wolf management. If a DNR officer gets a complaint of wolf poaching and deer poaching at the same time period which complaint are you going to hear about? That alone tells me that deer are not very high on the DNR's priority list. When was the last time the DNR offered a $5000 reward for information about deer poaching. Let a wolf or two get shot in the UP and every DNR officer within 200 miles is working on the case. If the wolves are under federal control the DNR needs to get out of the picture completely.This means that the DNR cannot respond to a wolf poaching complaint. Let the feds manage them until they are delisted. When the federal government can't handle it then they will allow for the DNR to manage wolves and we will have population control. As far as any license money supporting the wolf management program it is not going to be cost effective in the long run. More and more people are going to quit deer hunting or hunt out of state. Precisely why I have walked away from 4 super good deer hunting spots and have been hunting in the LP. The hunters that took over these spots did not have any luck either.The Detroit Lions have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl than I will have of shooting a buck in any of these spots again. I checked all of my spots ( you used to see 10 to 20 deer a day in these spots) prior to deer season and found very little if any deer sign. I am not blaming the wolves entirely for the decline in deer numbers but I don't feel that license money should support them. Mabey next year the Mackinac Bridge deer count should go from south to north, that might shock the DNR if those numbers were higher than the north to south numbers. Really I don't think that they care. As long as they have their jobs and good benefits why worry. In the future the price of licenses will go up because the # of hunters has gone down.

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Everything has the will to survive. A piece of land can only support so much life. When a food source is depleted, one of two things will happen. The animals that are depending on the food source will perish, or move on and attempt to find food at another source. The instinct to survive will kick in and they will move in search of food before they perish because there is no food.

Here is an off the wall example of survival. When Lake Huron salmon fishery was crashing, salmon that were tagged in Lake Huron were being caught at various ports in Lake Michigan. They moved to Lake Michigan in search of food because there was no food in Lake Huron. The same thing will happen with the wolves.

As the food sources deminish, there will be more spottings of wovles in the urban areas. The lack of food, and the instinct to survive will cause this. There will be more farm animals, and house hold pets that come up missing.

Deer have the odds stacked against them. Wolves are just one of the predators the deer have. Does anyone have an idea on the number of coyotes in the U.P.? I am not sure if a coyote can bring down a full size deer, but I bet they bring down many fawns.

Add in the fact that we had 2 hard winters in a row, caused by "global warming"....Sorry....couldn't resist throwing in the global warming thing. :P

The carry capacity of land can only support so many animals. In order to keep it in balance, the wolf population needs to be controlled. Can humans and wovles coexist? Yes they can, as long as their numbers are controlled.

After the straights freeze over, there will be a migration of wolves to the L.P in search of food.

I dont mean to sound like chicken little, and I hope I am wrong, but I dont foresee the deer population in the U.P. recovering.

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Terrific response Mike. I like it I really do. Two problems with the wolves #1 they are managed by people who live in the LP who think wolves are okay as long as they live in the UP. #2 Most of the people who are managing them have never seen a wolf in the wild before. You are so right about wolves moving into urban areas last winter I saw two of them on the outskirts of St Ignace. I have kids and a grandchild, now don't believe the BS the DNR feeds you that wolves do not attack people.....how many documented cases of wolf attacks do you want. As soon as a wolf attacks a person in the UP everyone I know up here will have a rifle in their pick up.We annt to shoot them just give us an excuse and the lead will fly. WIth deer numbers down I assume that the wolves will start killing each other or they will head across the ice. One of the largest packs in the UP is only a few miles from the LP. I know how their numbers grew in the UP so I can imagine if a few get across the ice this winter how fast they will grow. Now if you read the DNR wolf management plan, there is room for 300 to 600 wolves in the Northern Lower Penninsula. This puzzles me where did the DNR idiot draw the line that a protected species cannot cross and go into the southern lower penninsula? Yup, just as long as they are not in my back yard. Don't go into my deer camp, don't eat my dogs or worse yet my kids. A wolf on the move can travel up to 50 miles in a day and not even be tired. I guess that means a wolf or a wolf pack could cross the ice and be in southern Michigan in a week. Forgot!!!! The DNR says they have to stay in Northern LP cannot cross the line. Not in my backyard. They are already there just like the mountain lions are here. The numbers are not there yet but they will be. Once the wolf #'s hit 100 or so there won't be an elk herd anymore and wild turkey #"s will be down, then the deer numbers will also go down. At one time there was a bounty on coyotes for a reason, what was the reason? They were the white tail deer's # 1 predator. I am just like you guys from the LP I don't want them in my backyard either.

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  • 1 month later...

Having hunted in areas with both deer and wolves and bears and moose ect. Several facts have been left out of both sides of this discussion. First off there were both deer and wolves here long before we were here and unless we distroy the place they can and will be here long after us. We removed the wolf population leaving us as the only major preditor. We have become very lazy hunter since we can control quality and quantity of the herd we hunt. The deer having only us to fear even though we feed them they only have to fear us a few weeks a year. So their survival instincts have been tampered with as the only true fear they have is people with guns and bows a few weeks a year. With wolves back 2 things have to happen and they likely will, one deer have to relearn old survival skills, two bubba the weekend warrior hunter will have to learn to hunt and to limit himself to 1 or 2 deer a season. Since in many areas with wolves there will no longer be a population problem with deer there will be no need to issue lots of deer permits. Imagine that we could have to hunt like we did long ago where if you needed meat you took what you could get and the guys who wanted a trophy often went home empty handed. I still think we should harvest does as well as bucks. That way if you need the meat for your family take what you can get. But one only for rifle season and another for bow and you are done for the year in some areas. If you really need to shoot a lot of deer go to a area that needs the control. I am not sure where we got the idea we could outsmart mother nature.

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  • 1 month later...

Some things to consider: The pinch-point for deer carrying capacity in the UP is winter habitat. In 1995--1997 winters of major deer die-off, the Winter habitat was sufficient to carry about 750,000 deer through a normal UP winter. It is now closer to 500,000 deer, due to continued habitat degredation. Deer are selective herbivores, they don't eat everything. As such, they can over graze summer habitat as well as winter habitat. The first deer to die of starvation in winter are yearlings. Data from Minnesota indicated that yearlings under 100lbs body weight were at greater risk of winter starvation induced mortality. Deer segregate by sex for much of the year. High doe population density in their fawning cover and summer range also serves to reduce overall habitat carrying capacity.

As mentioned earlier, predation by wolves, coyotes, and bear is herd density dependant. Most deer consumed by wolves are fawns, yearlings and stressed adults. From a gender standpoint, most deer consumed by wolves are does, since they dominate the population numerically. '

The Natural Resources Commission instructed the MDNR to formulate a DMU specific management plant in 2004 with population goals and carrying capacity issues and goals identified within each of these Deer Managment Units. In an eleventh hour vote, that plan was tabled, because SPORTSMAN's GROUPS complained mightily about the lower herd goals and densities derived from these plans when tabulated on a compoiste, UP wide basis.

Monies from the Natural Resources Trust Fund have been used on an annual basis to continue to purchase, on a UP prioritized basis, key winter deer habitat from 2003-2007 totaling nearly 12,000 acres(the Gogomain Swamp was one of these sites). In the last election cycle, the NRTF Board composition was changed and these expenditures were now directed primarily to be used to purchase public park lands through a restructering of the preference points determination sequence. In 2008 there was one purchase of key winter habitat in the Huron Mountains Club area. NRTF monies are generated from leases of State land for oil and mineral exploration.

Terry Minzey's statements about QDM principles not working in the UP are driven by the degredation of habitat and the altered forestry harvest techniques that are employed i.e. mechanical harvest that takes weeks to complete instead of months,dimishing slash for wintering deer to feed on. With adequate habitat, QDM principals are applicable, ableit at a lower deer populaiton level than now exists. Doe harvest has nothing to do with current herd density or reproductive potential.

Here is a simple solution if you want better buck hunting-shoot young does and female yearlings. improve the summer/winter habitat to spread deer out on their range, both summer and winter. Predation from all sources falls because search time for all predators goes up, individual deer condition improves, antler growth is enhanced, frequency of twin fawns increases.

As an English agrarian that John Ozoga quotes said: "The head grows according to the pasture, good or otherwise."

When I was "squeezing fish" on the St. Maries in the early 1980s, there was a pack of 23 wolves that hunted the lower river up to Neebish Island. They were based on Cockburn Island, oddly no one complained of wolves impacting their deer hunting because the wildlife biologists at Northern Michigan University who were tracking them never reported them to the media. In the mid-nineties the public became aware of the presence of wolves, and then the firestorm started.

The MDNRE's Wolf Management Plan (required under the USFWS delisting process from Endangered Species Status) calls for a wolf population in the UP somewhere between social carrying capacity (roughly 400 animals) and the recovery goal threshold, set by the MDNRE and the USFWS, of 200 animals. Radio collared wolves from Michigan's UP have been recaptured in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Missourri. Wolves have been identified in Cheboygan county this winter.

Some of the highest current concentrations and numeric densities of wolves in the central and eastern UP developed in areas where supplemental winter feeding sites for deer existed. Deer,unlike livestock, cannot be accumulated in extreme surplus, due largely to compensatory mortality related phenomena. This can be minimized with habitat improvement, which increases carrying capacity(again, Winter deer habitat is the most limiting in the UP of Michigan)

ALL of this information is available in the Public domain.

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Here in Wisc. the wolves are making a big come back in some areas of the north woods.

And I've heard they are effecting the deer population in those areas.

A lot of people think they're a cool animal until there is one standing in their back yard, then they change their tune and say something needs to be done about all the damn wolves.

Down here in the southeast portion of the state we have no wolves but the CWD outbreak gave the DNR an open door to ban baiting.

But you can get all the doe tags you want because they want the deer herd as thin as possible, even mapping out areas as eradication zones.

I've shot way more deer using bait than without, but they say they spread the disease through saliva so I guess it's a good reason to ban baiting.

The ironic thing about it is when the DNR would go out to eradicate deer off private land they would bait them.

J.J.

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