Rocker Ted Nugent is fighting back against a Michigan ban that went into effect after Jan. 31 prohibiting hunters from deer baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula in an effort to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease.
Nugent, who has been outspoken about his passion for hunting, said in an interview that he would be challenging the Natural Resources Commission-approved ban, calling it the “definition of insanity," and is in the process of setting up a rally in Michigan in June to gather support.
“It breaks my Michigan heart, and I will not give up — I’m going to keep fighting,” said Nugent to M Live.
The ban, which was approved in August 2018, comes as part of the state’s many changes attempting to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer. Since 2015, the fatal neurological disease has spread to several counties throughout Michigan.
However, Nugent and several other hunters reportedly feel the ban won’t limit the spread.
“They don’t need a Michigan hunter to drop a sugar beet for them to have nose-to-nose contact,” Nugent said in the M Live interview. “Deer lick and kiss and nibble and groom each other throughout life. It is so insane that someone would tell you that dropping corn might cause a deer to swap spit.”
Nugent has drummed up support from others, including state Sen. Curt VanderWall, who sponsored Senate bill 37 calling for the ban to be lifted during open hunting season. The bill is currently with the Senate Natural Resources Committee, but has not been voted on yet, M Live reported.
The musician has also threatened a lawsuit against the Department of Natural Resources, calling them “anti-hunting liars” — a criticism Dan O’Brien, a veterinarian specialist with the department, has defended against.
“There are always going to be people who have different opinions, there’s always going to be people who seem to feel that they have some reason that we would lie about it,” said O’Brien to M Live. “We’re dealing with the published science.”
“You’ve got to try to set up conditions to make it difficult for diseases to get established,” he continued. “The best thing you can hope for is to minimize spread, so we have to do the best we can to prevent the disease from getting established in new areas.”
However, Nugent is not buying the department’s reasoning.
“We just want to go hunting,” Nugent said to M Live. “We want to get some deer. We want to balance that herd. We want to save the agriculture and the highway slaughter from an overpopulation. We want to have fun with our family, and we want to eat venison. Just leave me alone.”