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1 June 2006 Regulating Hunter Baiting for White-Tailed Deer in Michigan: Biological and Social Considerations
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Abstract

Eradication of bovine tuberculosis (TB) from free-ranging white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) requires mortality rates of infected deer exceed the rate of new infection. Efforts to reduce TB transmission in Michigan, USA, are based on 2 assumptions: 1) deer mortality may be increased through recreational hunting, and 2) encounter rates between infected and noninfected deer may be reduced by prohibiting baiting and supplemental feeding. Spatial correlation of TB-infected deer and supplemental feeding sites detected using aerial surveys validated a ban on artificial feeding in Michigan. Similar analysis could not be used to evaluate the effects of a baiting ban because bait distribution was unknown. Furthermore, a ban on deer baiting could confound attempts to increase deer mortality through reduced hunter participation or efficacy. We reviewed the process used to evaluate a strategy for regulating bait use by hunters. This review included an assessment of 5 factors: statewide spatial analysis of apparent TB prevalence, deer intraspecific interactions at bait sites, effects of bait on hunter harvest rates, impacts of disease presence and practice of eradication efforts on hunting participation in the infected area, and input from law enforcement personnel. Our analysis suggested that restricting baiting to a limited, consistent region incurred less biological risk than allowing bait to be used statewide and less political risk than a statewide ban.

BRENT A. RUDOLPH, SHAWN J. RILEY, GRAHAM J. HICKLING, BRIAN J. FRAWLEY, MARK S. GARNER, and Scott R. Winterstein "Regulating Hunter Baiting for White-Tailed Deer in Michigan: Biological and Social Considerations," Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(2), (1 June 2006). https://doi.org/10.2193/0091-7648(2006)34[314:RHBFWD]2.0.CO;2
Published: 1 June 2006
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