The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

MNRC members urged to ban feeding of deer


Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

BOB WILD, Department of Natural Resources manager of the Porcupine Mountains State Park, talks about programs at the park Thursday with the Michigan Natural Resources Board at Gogebic Community College . From left are NRC members Vicki Pontz, Rex Schlaybaugh Jr., Christine Crumbaugh, director Keith Creagh and John Matonich. Wild said 584 students have visited the park this summer.


Ironwood - A resident of Ewen urged the Michigan Natural Resources Commission Thursday to ban deer feeding in the western Upper Peninsula.

Nancy Warren, of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, said feeding of deer by homeowners in Marenisco has caused wolves to enter the town.

In addition to numerous complaints from residents about the presence of wolves, Warren said the feeding of deer can lead to spreading of diseases.

"As the crow flies, chronic wasting disease is only 65 miles from Marenisco. Though it may be unpopular, I urge the NRC to accept the scientific evidence and take the necessary steps to ban recreational deer feeding," Warren said.

She said Department of Natural Resources wildlife supervisor Terry Minzy appeared at a Marenisco Town Board meeting in March and urged adoption of an ordinance prohibiting the feeding of deer in some residential areas, but the town board has not adopted such an ordinance.

Warren noted as of now, people can feed only two gallons to the deer at one time, but they can keep replenishing the food.

Brian Reynolds, of the Marquette Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited, disputed a claim by Warren that feeding corn to deer can kill them.

Reynolds said only deer in severely weakened states that would otherwise die will succumb to eating corn. He said feeding corn and alfalfa early in the winter can help deer make it through the winter.

The MNRC accepted public comments at its meeting at Gogebic Community College.

Denny Ellos, of Ironwood, told NRC members there are too many wolves in the western U.P. and that's destroying deer hunting.

He said 25 deer camps last fall produced a total of one buck and said where there were previously 50 hunters, there are now about five.

Joe Allen, who traps in the Marenisco area, said he caught 11 wolves last winter before catching a single coyote. He said he has caught and released more than 100 wolves in his traps.

NRC chair John Matonich, a native of Bessemer, cautioned that references to a predator-prey study being conducted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources should wait until results from the heavy Snowbelt in the western U.P. are factored in.

"We'll just have to wait for that study to be completed," he said.

Earlier in the NRC's policy meeting, DNR wildlife chief Russ Mason said the study had already yielded some surprising results, including the fact that the older does were reproducing just as well as the younger ones.

In the areas in the U.P. with moderate snow in the study, Mason said coyotes are the major killers of deer, with bobcats also also taking a big toll and black bears hitting the fawns hard.


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