HomeLocal NewsCan You Bait Deer in Michigan? Everything You Need to Know

Can You Bait Deer in Michigan? Everything You Need to Know

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The hunting season attracts thousands of hunters ready for the action, but the big question is often, can you bait deer in Michigan? The hunters come armed with their rifles, and at the same time, some will carry food that attracts the deer.

Baiting is placing food piles in the hunting zones of deer to lure them into a close range where shooting becomes easy. Some of the baits include shelled corn,  beet pulp, nuts, deer feed or pellets, wheat, or any form of grain. Scent attractors are also useful. 

Aiming at the deer directly with a bow can be demanding, and chances of missing are high, hence the need for baiters to attract the deer closer.

So, Can You Bait Deer In Michigan?

Yes, you can bait deer in Michigan, as some of the accepted areas have been surveyed and found to be risk-free. Baiting in Michigan has been available for some time; however, the laws and regulations regarding baiting keep changing. 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources often sets regulations to protect hunters and deer from scarcity and the spread of diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Most arts of the Upper Peninsula allow baiting.

Why Hunters Bait in Michigan

Deer hunting has existed for many years and forms part of Michigan’s history. The indigenous settlers of Michigan had a close connection with animals and could hunt them as a food source. The history continues with modern controlled hunting in place. 

Michigan has a high deer population and attracts many hunters who hunt them through different seasons. Deer hunting has regulations that each hunter must follow to avoid being penalized or jailed for a specified period.

Hunters in Michigan prefer the baiting strategy as it comes with plenty of advantages that make hunting easy and enjoyable. Here are some of the baiting reasons that make hunters prefer the strategy for capturing deer.

Baiting increases the chances of successful hunting.  When a hunter places the bait at a specific location, deer are attracted to it. Afterward, hunters can set up blinds in the location to capture the deer or simply shoot it from a range. 

Also, when the deer assemble at the same location, the chances of missing to hit a deer with an arrow or rifle are slim. The deer come to the target location, easing the burden of running after them in the landscapes.

Using baits, hunters effortlessly control the deer and can select the big bucks for hunting. In a controlled environment, deer become predictable, and a hunter can select a shooting range without missing the target.

Furthermore, the baiting strategy lets hunters observe deer behavior. Once the deer comes to the bait, a hunter will easily note some patterns that help during hunting missions.

Also, hunters may use baiting to ease the deer population. In some areas of Michigan, the deer population is high, and only baiting can bring the animals together for culling.

Lastly, baiting can be used for research purposes. Hunters, researchers, and photographers observe the deer in its natural environment and document behavior for learning purposes.

Michigan Specific Regulations About Deer Baiting

The Michigan state hunters were in for a shock in 2018 when a ban on baiting was effected. Most of the hunters believed the act went against their leisure activities.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the main reason why the bait ban comes about is to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The infectious disease results from animals converging together and eating at the same place.

Since hunters provide the bait for the deer, the convergence of the animals forms grounds for spreading the deer disease quickly. Therefore, the ban on baiting is an effort to control the spread of such diseases.

Baiting in the Upper Peninsula is allowed since the danger of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has not been discovered. 

Baiting in the Lower Peninsula is not allowed because of the predisposition to Chronic Wasting Disease, which has been an issue previously. However, there are a few exceptions regarding baiting.

Hunters with disabilities are permitted to use baiting in the Lower Peninsula on the Liberty and Independent hunts only. In both cases, baiting must begin five days before the season commences.

Also, if accepted, then the baiting volume must not go beyond two gallons. Dispersing the bait should be at a surface area of 10-foot by 10-foot and above. Again, you need to ensure the bait is scared on the ground.

The qualification process or one to use the bait in the Lower Peninsula has the following requirements.

  • One must be a veteran with a 100% disability or must be rated as unemployable by the US government.
  • Must have a permit issued by DNR allowing you to hunt from a standing hunting vehicle
  • Needs to have a permit from DNR  to hunt with a laser sighting  device
  • Must be blind with a vision rate of 20/200 and need a report from the Commission of the Blind.
  • The person must be deaf according to section 2 of 72 PA 1978, MCL 408.202, which defines deafness as the inability to process details and information orally.

In the Upper Peninsula, the following regulations guide baiting.

  • Baiting strictly begins from 15 September to January unless new changes are in place.
  • Aiting should not exceed two gallons, and the area of spreading the bait should be above 10 feet by 10 feet.
  • The bait needs to be scattered on the ground to minimize content when the animals feed
  • The bait must not be placed repeatedly at the same point.

Why Baiting in Michigan is a Popular Topic

Deer hunting is a common practice in Michigan, and hunters use different methods and strategies to capture the animals. A common one is baiting, which has been a point of debate with rules and regulations coming up each hunting season.

Baiting predisposes the deer to the deadly Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). You probably are wondering why the disease is a concern in Michigan. The CWD can cause loss of lives with a massive deer population affected.

The disease has no cure. It degenerates the animal’s brain, leading to an abnormally thin deer. In most cases, the deer loses normal behavior and later dies as the body functions cease to operate.

If an animal dies, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization prohibit humans and other domestic animals from consuming the meat.

A normal protein called prion causes CWD. Deer can get the disease through contact. If an animal’s saliva, feces,  blood, urine, and carcass of the infected animals get in const with another animal, the disease spreads.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) warns that the protein prion is resistant and can be active in the environment for years.

DNR state wildlife veterinarian Kelly Straka notes that everyone must be vigilant, and each has a role to play in ensuring the disease doesn’t spread.

Penalties for Baiting a Deer In Michigan

The government of Michigan, through the  Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), provided rules and regulations to guide deer baiting. The practice of baiting is legal but has tough restrictions depending on the hunter’s condition and location.

For example, the Upper Peninsula has allowed baiting, while the Lower Peninsula has a strict approach toward deer baiting. Note that the Lower Peninsula has had cases of diseases spreading through baiting, hence the need for strict regulations.

If found going against the baiting rules and regulations, one can serve up to 90 days in jail. A minimum fine of $50 is issued to a maximum of $50, depending on the level of the crime. You’ll also pay court costs as well as lose hunting privileges for the period given.

The Department of Natural Resources has continued to put up strict measures to protect the deer population and often reviews the regulations to align with the current situation. 

In addition to the penalties one may incur, the department still requires a collaborative approach to protect the deer population.


Can you bait deer in Michigan? Yes, you can bait deer in Michigan. The government provides regulations that guide the baiting strategy. The penalty is also available for those who go against the baiting rules. A fine or jail term awaits anyone who breaks the regulations.

Baiting is acceptable in Michigan but has often had temporal bans because of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) that spreads through contact. 

Baiting involves spreading the food and attractions on the floor to converge the animals. This might be dangerous as the spread of the disease can go viral, affecting the population of deer.

If you are to try baiting, ensure you are conversant with the law that defines everything you need to do.

Jason Cooper
Jason Cooper
Jason Cooper is a dedicated news blogger with a zeal for storytelling. Enthusiastically covering current events, he constantly seeks fresh angles and innovative ways to refine his craft and engage his readers.


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