Ted Nugent Weighs in on the Michigan Deer Baiting Ban: “Engineered Ruination of Our Hunting Heritage”

Nugent testified at the Michigan state house in favor of a bill that would end the baiting ban.

The first deer season under Michigan’s new baiting ban is about to begin, and hunters are far from reaching a consensus about the controversial policy.

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission voted last year to ban deer baiting across much of the state to halt the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The always-fatal illness affects deer and elk in 26 states and spreads through direct contact between animals and through bodily fluids such as poop, spit, blood or urine.

Supporters of the ban argue that baiting encourages animals to congregate around bait piles and salt licks, which allows CWD to spread more rapidly.

Opponents, like Michigan native and rock-n-roll star Ted Nugent, believe the ban represents a direct attack on the hunting community and will fail to stop the spread of CWD. Nugent argued his case at the state capitol during a hearing for a bill that would overturn the ban.

“The regulations in Michigan are chasing hunters out of the sport,” Nugent told the state House Government Operations Committee. “This law is dramatically reducing revenue generation and dangerously reducing family recreation.”

SEE ALSO: Alabama Opens Experimental Season on Sandhill Crane

Calling the ban an “engineered ruination of our hunting heritage,” Nugent argued that deer spread CWD on their own.

“While I’m sitting here, deer are swapping spit,” he said. “They eat off the same apple. They eat off the same branch. You can’t ban that. That’s what deer do. Maybe the epidemiologists didn’t spend adequate time in the deer woods.”

Michigan United Conservation Clubs supports the ban, and members point out that if CWD continues to spread, there won’t be any deer for Nugent and others to hunt.

“The health of our deer herd needs to come first so the next generation of hunters have deer populations in order to hunt,” Amy Trotter, executive director of the conservation clubs, told Bridge.

SEE ALSO: Poachers in U.S. Using High-Tech Drones, GPS to Illegally Bag Critters

Dan O’Brien, a veterinary specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) wildlife disease lab, acknowledged that the ban might discourage some hunters. But CWD represents a more existential threat to hunting than a slight decrease in the number of people who hunt.

“We’re dealing with a disease that has the potential to compromise the deer herd for decades and decades to come,” he told Bridge. “This is a situation where we need to be able to make a sacrifice in the present — so that we can preserve this resource that we love for future generations.”

Twenty-four states ban baiting of cervids, and 15 others restrict the practice in various ways, according to research by the DNR. The Michigan ban applies in the entire Lower Peninsula and in parts of the Upper Peninsula.

***Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!***

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • William April 17, 2022, 2:26 pm

    I have just come across this issue of banning baiting. I did not realize Michigan did not draw the distinction between food plot planting which does provide good nutrition for herd management, and bait piles. I would be opposed to hunting deer over bait piles for the ethical reasons. Hunting has always to me been about the pursuit of game. This includes knowing the area I hunt, game movements, stealth, tracking, reading signs. If I have done this well, and included some scouting, pulled off a well placed shot, ( which requires some practice and gun familiarity ) then I will likely be successful. If not then I need to improve in one of the skills mentioned.
    I do not think the baiting of deer by pile or planted food plot has anything to do with CWD. As was previously stated it is normal for Deer to herd up at certain time of the year. Being in New York State ( only until I can leave ) the herding around mid January through March is quite obvious. In heavy snow areas it is the Deers way of getting down to the food.
    For me the issue of hunting deer over bait piles is simply ethical. I have prided myself in learning the skills to put a Deer in the freezer. Thank you Ted for what you do in speaking for constitutional freedoms.

  • Roland January 21, 2022, 9:50 am

    It is amazing how heads with no brains can speak. Besides deer herding up during certain times of the year they feed where they can. This puts them in constant contact with each other. And for you know it all morons. If hunters don’t take deer the only result is over population that forces more contact in the places they feed. A thought for you if the government were to offer a vaccine that could be added to hunters bait it would help protect deer health in 2 ways first help to eliminate the disease and second allow the hunters to help keep population to a healthy sustainable level. Hunting licenses are issued in a calculated number to control and protect the deer population.

  • oldedude August 6, 2021, 12:46 pm

    Altho’ I don’t hunt (the military kinda turned me off “blood sports” – but I don’t want to be hypocritical, I still eat meat and I have no gripe with, indeed, respect hunters), I do have a problem with “baiting” for deer or any other game because it’s not really “hunting”. I have a much bigger problem, however, with bureaucrats, who learned everything they know about deer from watching “Bambi” twice, making broad decisions about matters with potentially broad and unintended consequences. Now, the notion that planting “bait crops” somehow facilitates the spread of things such as CWD is ridiculous. All the deer I’ve ever seen were in herds. It’s what deer do, they congregate. Planting food crops, especially those with “enhanced nutritional value” doesn’t significantly increase that behavior. It does, however, help to maintain the health of the local deer population, a prophylaxis against disease. It does something else, it allows closer monitoring of herds to spot deer afflicted with diseases like CWD, so that they can be removed from the population. Bans such as that in Michigan do not make such distinctions and there is no reason to expect that enforcement of those types of bans will be any more nuanced or discretionary and the good will go out with the bad (and “bad” is relative – stopping people who want to fill their larder off the bounty of their own land is not the same as discouraging a handful of “thrill killers” who just want to blast away). No good ever came from allowing the state to intervene in matters where they have limited expertise or by expanding state power at the expense of individual choice. This ban will be no different.

  • bob September 9, 2020, 11:24 am

    Ted Nugent is an asshole
    He’s been busted for poaching more than one time so I have been told. all he give’s a shit about is killing animals.
    GO back to the way we hunted for years before baiting scout and use your skilsTed Nugent is nothing more than a mouthpiece to anyone that will listen to him

    • Roland January 21, 2022, 9:54 am

      The next time you look in the mirror tell the person you see that he is a ignorant moron.

  • Joe shit theragman November 3, 2019, 6:17 pm

    Just because u bait is not a guarantee to get a deer all u new want to be Democrats hunters can bite me

  • Gil munz November 1, 2019, 10:25 pm

    It’s not hunting. Baiting is killing. No sport. Sit on your butt and wait for the kill…

    • Roland January 21, 2022, 9:57 am

      It sounds like you and Bob should start a morons club!

  • J. R. November 1, 2019, 1:07 pm

    CWD is probably here to stay. We can blame it on baiting as one cause and over population as a continuing cause. I don’t know the true way to eliminate it but to let nature take its natural course. Most hunters know the signs of CWD and will or should take that deer out of the population. I don’t believe taking hunters out of the woods by making baiting illegal is the complete answer to the problem. Matter of fact it might create a problem that is worse.

  • SD November 1, 2019, 10:15 am

    Who cares? We’re all gonna die in 12 years due to climate change anyway. NOT

  • Rogerstone November 1, 2019, 8:17 am

    I think thay should come up with a cure for the disease and feed it to the heard. In the problem areas.

  • Click Bang October 6, 2019, 11:44 pm

    Who cares what this child predator and draft dodger says…. He is an imitation man…

    • Roland January 21, 2022, 10:00 am

      Another candidate for Bob and Gils club.

  • William Watson October 4, 2019, 6:04 pm

    We should listen to the guy that has been charged multiple times for poaching related offenses?

  • William Zipkin October 2, 2019, 4:18 am

    Who cares what this “Rock Star” has-been thinks or says? He showed the world a long time what a nutjob wacko he is!

    Try quoting for real authorities on the subjects you’re covering instead of old, past due “celebrities” like Nugent.

    • fuzzy1949 October 3, 2019, 5:00 pm


    • Dr Motown November 1, 2019, 6:55 am

      Who\’a a \”real authority?\” The MDNR? LMAO! Like him or not, Ted is just stating common sense observations: deer already swap fluids naturally on a daily basis. Congregating under an apple tree or around a pile of man-dispersed apples is exactly the SAME BEHAVIOR

      • Roland January 21, 2022, 10:04 am

        You are wasting your time trying to reason with morons.

  • oldnumber20 October 1, 2019, 7:12 pm

    Ted Nugent believes the ban is a direct attack on the hunting community, he is wrong. The baiting ban is a direct attack on the shooting community. True sportsmen who hunt do not bait to enjoy our sport.

    • Dr Motown November 1, 2019, 6:56 am

      Where do you draw the line? Isn\’t setting up a stand over a corn field, or a food plot, or near mast trees the same thing as baiting? You\’re using a food source to attract deer, increase congregation, and increase your chance of a kill….no different, in practicality, from baiting….

      • Harold Rose September 1, 2020, 7:52 am

        I agree with your way of thinking Michigan is letting the clubs run our deer hunting turning it into to a trophy hunt not a deer hunt it is hard to chew on antlers

    • Mike Caffrey March 2, 2021, 7:16 am

      “Gee whiz Wally, next you’ll be banning the Beaver from dropping fish attractors in the lake.”

    • Roland January 21, 2022, 10:12 am

      You are so full of Sht it is unbelievable. I don’t believe you have ever hunted. You spout crap that a real hunter would not consider saying. Most hunting has some type of baiting involved man made or natural.

  • Tommygun851 October 1, 2019, 12:17 pm

    It’s nice to have a powerful “rock and roll” star supporting hunters in getting government out of telling you what you can or cannot do! But the fact of the matter is, Ted is right, banning baiting is not going to stop the spread of CWD for the reasons Ted has explained already. They just have to be together with one deer that already has it for it to spread. The alternative to baiting is planting something that the deer like to eat in a food plot. The government cannot tell you what you can or cannot “plant” in the ground on your own property! Baiting is a tool that people that have huntable property use to keep the deer healthy,fed, and most importantly on their property. While hunting over bait is unethical, and most of the states ban that. It’s wrong for the government to come in and tell you what to do on your own property to prevent something that going to happen anyway regardless if you bait or not! Thanks uncle Ted for standing up for us!

    • Dr Motown November 1, 2019, 7:02 am

      Hunting over a food plot, or near some mast trees you planted, is baiting….you\’re using a food source to attract animals and increase your chances of a kill. Same thing

      • SD November 1, 2019, 10:05 am

        When a bank robber was asked why he robbed banks he said “cause that’s where the money is”. You hunt where the food is because that’s where the deer are. Duh

  • gary holfstra October 1, 2019, 10:04 am

    I doubt this would have more than a very limited effect on CWD, but to decry the loss of our “hunting heritage” because we can’t bait deer is pretty dumb. Baiting deer isn’t hunting, it’s target shooting. Baiting should be illegal for game animals. Bait all the non-game (hogs primarily) animals you want, but “sportsmen” don’t bait deer. If you’re going to hunt, learnt the trails, the habits, the movement, of your intended quarry. Too lazy to do that, then don’t “hunt”.

    • Dr Motown November 1, 2019, 7:06 am

      Where do you draw the line on \”hunting\” and \”laziness?\” If you hunt near a corn field, or food plot, or cluster of mast trees, you\’re using \”bait\” to increase your chances of a kill. Only someone who\’s spotting and stalking in the woods can be a true \”hunter\” in your opinion…That clearly puts you in the minority of deer hunters that I\’ve ever met

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend