Due to concerns over the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer and elk populations, penalties for unlawfully feeding or baiting deer in Michigan have increased. CWD is a fatal neurological disease found in deer and elk, similar to mad cow disease. Last week, a fourth case of CWD was identified in the Lansing area. Current research indicates that it is not transferable to humans. However, because not much is known about CWD, authorities have remained cautious in order to protect humans consuming tainted deer and elk meat, as well as to protect the state's deer herd from further infection.
Feeding deer--placing out food for the animals for any reason other than hunting--is currently illegal in Ingham, Clinton, and Shiawassee counties, as well as the Northeastern counties of Iosco, Alcona, Alpena, Oscoda, Montmorency, and Presque Isle. Feeding deer in these counties is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Be sure to avoid feeding deer in these identified counties. If you are not located in these counties and want to feed deer or elk, or if you are a hunter looking to bait, be sure to follow the requirements set forth by the Department of Natural Resources for these activities here.