Parts of Upper Pennisula Resumes Supplemental Deer Feeding

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The Michigan Natural Resources Commission today approved an Interim Order allowing residents in parts of the Upper Peninsula to obtain supplemental deer feeding permits.

Permits will be issued to applicants in Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, Alger, and Luce counties, and the portions of Marquette and Chippewa counties north of the T43N – T44N boundary line. Feeding will be allowed from Jan. 1 through May 15, and permits will be granted from the Department of Natural Resources under the following conditions:

• No supplemental feed shall be placed prior to a permit being obtained;

• Applicants must have permission of the land owner or land administrator;

• Feed is limited to grain or pelletized food that does not contain animal protein, scattered or disbursed on the ground;

• Feed is placed at least one mile from livestock, specific agricultural crops, and at least one-quarter mile from paved public roads;

• Permittees are required to provide a summary on their feeding activities to the DNR by May 30.

The order is only valid for one year, and will be reviewed again next year. Commissioner John Madigan, of Munising, said the change resulted from negotiations with many UP residents who are concerned with winter’s potential toll on the deer herd.

“While we remain vigilant in protecting Michigan deer and monitoring carefully for disease threats like Chronic Wasting Disease, we also recognize the importance of sustaining deer in areas of the state where they are most threatened by adverse weather conditions and least likely to present an imminent disease risk,” Madigan said. “While the UP retains its disease-free status, we believe this is a responsible move to help prevent large-scale deer die-offs during harsh winters.”

Permit applications are available at the DNR Operation Service Centers in Baraga, Marquette and Newberry, and field offices in Crystal Falls, Gwinn, Shingleton and Sault St. Marie.

Concluding more than a year of extensive field review, DNR Director K.L. Cool approved applications for 36 metallic mineral leases in Baraga, Dickinson and Menominee counties. The leases allow mineral exploration, but lease holders are required to work through the Department of Environmental Quality and the DNR to obtain mining permits.

Cool also announced DNR Legislative Liaison Dennis Knapp is promoted to the role of Special Assistant to the Director. The position retains Knapp’s original duties as DNR liaison to the Legislature and Governor’s office, but incorporates many functions of the Chief of Staff’s office. Cool said he has no plans to fill the Chief of Staff position, vacated by the recent loss of Guy Gordon, but noted that several functions of that office are vital to the daily operation of the agency.

“Dennis Knapp has an excellent relationship and reputation in the Legislature, the DNR, and the conservation community,” Cool said. “I am confident he will continue to benefit the DNR in this new role.”

The next meeting of the Natural Resources Commission is Mar. 4-5 in Lansing.