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Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Opinion: How the COVID-19 Situation Mirrors the CWD Debate in Michigan

COVID-19 photoThis may not be a popular opinion.  But I am going to just come out and say it.  For the most part Scientists and Doctors (credentialed, established ones) understand disease and infection much better than the average person.  Furthermore, these professionals have dedicated their lives to helping us live healthier lives and increasing our life expectancies.

When the State of Michigan in 2019 banned baiting of deers it was done based on Scientific Research.  Wildlife Biologists and people who study Cervids for a living were warning everyone for years that Chronic Wasting Disease was a real thing and something to be concerned about.  They knew what we could not yet understand, which is that if we did not take action the entire health of our Deer herd could be in jeopardy.

Deer baiting was an established method of hunting for a long time in Michigan and people were deeply entrenched in their habits.  When Scientists warned that baiting was increasing the likelihood of CWD spreading and the DNR subsequently banned the practice for the 2019 season there was a lot of public uproar.  Accusations were leveled about conspiracies by Anti Hunters infiltrating the DNR, CWD being a made-up disease (after all how many people had really seen a deer infected with it?), and general anger from Hunters ensued.

The difficult thing about Pandemic avoidance is similar to avoiding a terrorist attack.  When it happens correctly, nothing happens.  The disease doesn’t become a pandemic.  That is the goal.  A terrible event is looming that could have catastrophic consequences and professionals stepped in to mitigate the threat.  This sort of intangible outcome is difficult for people on the sidelines to understand.

At the risk of preaching, I can’t help but wonder if the Baiting Ban in Michigan helped avoid the rapid spread of a disease that could have fundamentally changed the way we hunt.  Perhaps if we can follow the guidance of Doctors and scientists we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and return to our normal lives as quickly as possible, however inconvenient and economically detrimental it may be in the meantime.

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