Ted Nugent shared a video of his 2019 testimony where he took Michigan lawmakers to task over the state’s deer baiting ban. The rocker and lifelong hunter said lawmakers didn’t know enough about hunting or deer to enact such a restriction. He also feared the law would push hunters out of the state for greener pastures.
“Sometimes things need slammed…this is one of those,” he posted on the video.
The law, which is still in place in the state, is meant to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease. It’s a highly contagious and fatal neurodegenerative disease killing deer in the state. The disease spreads through animal fluids, and baiting — the practice of using food to lure animals to a specific area — can exacerbate the problem, officials said. Animals share the food and spread the disease. Wisconsin recently adopted a similar ban. It goes into effect this week after CWD cases were found in the state’s deer population.
Nugent told lawmakers it’s not that simple. Moreover, he thinks the ban is ineffective against the disease and is the state’s “engineered ruination of our hunting heritage.”
“I don’t have a lab coat and I’ve never spent a time in the laboratory,” he told lawmakers. “What I have observed and what I have witnessed every year of my life is totally opposite of what the epidemiologists have forced us to adopt.”
Nugent said that deer already share food stocks and banning baiting won’t change their biology.
“If (scientists) think they can stop deer from swapping spit, they are idiots,” he told state legislators at the hearing.
Scientists Think Ban Necessary
State scientists and conservation groups disagree with Ted Nugent. They believe the baiting ban will save the deer population in the state, and therefore keep hunters happy.
They based the policy on science, said Amy Trotter, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
“The health of our deer herd needs to come first so the next generation of hunters have deer populations in order to hunt,” she said at the time.
But making things better for future generations will require sacrifices today.
“We’re dealing with a disease that has the potential to compromise the deer herd for decades and decades to come,” said Dan O’Brien, a veterinary specialist with DNR’s wildlife disease lab. “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.”
The Michigan legislature disagreed with that, though, and voted to overturn the ban in 2019. However, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed it, siding with scientists to keep it in place. State Republicans are still trying to remove the ban or at least get the fine dropped to $1.