Action Alert: Michigan House Bill 4088 – Wildlife Feeding

Michigan House Bill 4088 (HB 4088), sponsored by Rep. Ken Borton (R-Gaylord), would allow an individual to engage in wildlife feeding if the feed is located within 600 feet of a residence and the feed is no more than 2 gallons at any one time. The bill would also remove feeding from the authority of the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) and removes the exclusion of feed for deer and elk.

Currently, wildlife feeding in Michigan falls under the authority of the NRC, the rulemaking body of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). As a result, the NRC can issue orders concerning deer and elk feeding in the state, including depositing, distributing, or tending of feed in an area frequented by wild, free-ranging white-tailed deer and elk to prevent them from starving or for recreational viewing.

However, HB 4088 would remove that authority from the NRC and allow wildlife and bird feeding, including of deer and elk, within 600 feet of a residence and allow the placement of up to 2 gallons of feed. The bill also removes the current provision that wildlife feeding must be done in a manner that excludes wild deer and elk. The National Deer Association (NDA) defines supplemental feeding as the act of placing quality food resources for the purpose of increasing dietary quality. The practice of supplemental feeding and its role in deer management have grown in terms of controversy and complexity in recent years. The NDA acknowledges the available scientific data surrounding this issue is incomplete and, at times, inconsistent. The NDA supports providing adequate food and cover for deer through habitat management programs. The NDA does not support supplemental feeding in known CWD and bovine TB areas or where this activity may disrupt natural migratory patterns of deer.

Even more, the NDA believes that deer management decisions should be left to the agencies responsible for managing the resource. In this instance, we believe the NRC is best situated to make science-based decisions regarding wildlife feeding – not the legislature. We oppose HB 4088’s attempt to remove that authority completely from the hands of the DNR.

TAKE ACTION

Please consider joining us in opposing this legislation. HB 4088 removes wildlife feeding from the authority of the NRC and removes the exclusion of feed for deer and elk. CLICK HERE to quickly and directly let your lawmakers know that you oppose HB 4088.


About Torin Miller

Torin Miller is a licensed attorney and NDA’s Director of Policy. He works at the intersection of conservation and natural resources law, policy, advocacy and education. He has a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University, a J.D. from Penn State Law and is finishing a master's degree in wildlife and fisheries science at Penn State. Torin came to NDA via the National Deer Alliance, where he served as the Policy and Outreach Coordinator.