January 23, 2020

Au Gres business owner hopes to recall Michigan governor.


NORTHERN MICHIGAN— Ed Beckley, owner of M-65 Bait shop in Au Gres and Whittemore hopes to soon start the process of recalling Governor Whitmer. Whitmer’s recent veto of a bill that could have removed the ban on deer baiting motivated a group of Michiganders to come together and discuss a potential petition. 

As well as the bait ban, Beckley says her veto on some funding for charter schools and gas tax proposal are also among the reasons they want to recall the the governor. 

“We don’t feel like she is taking care of rural Michigan,” Beckley said. 

The group plans to meet in Jan. to discuss the potential recall and also hope to overturn the veto for the bait ban. Beckley said he feels they have a better chance of doing so because of the Michigan Farm Bureau’s recent view change on baiting. 

MFB Legislative Counsel Andrew Vermeesch released a statement on the MFB website updating its view on the bait ban. “Our updated policy position now indicates that while we support baiting as a means to increase hunter success rate, we oppose feeding of free-range deer because it creates an unnecessary risk of disease transmission without contributing to overall deer population reduction,” said Vermeesch as of Dec. 19. 

Beckley said the group at least wants to be able to bait during hunting season. In order to recall the governor, they would need a quarter of the last elections voters’ signatures, which Beckley said equals about 1.6 million signatures. 

While Beckley’s businesses in Au Gres and Whittemore have already felt the effects of the ban, he believes it will be worse next year. 

Everyone who got a license this year and didn’t get any deer won't want to come up here and take time off work to hunt next year, said Beckley. Beckley was down 40% on sugar beet sales and down 30-35% on bow sales. He used to have four to seven people working during bait season at his shop in Whittemore and is now down to one. His Au Gres shop shut down for a month in Nov. and reopened in Dec. because of the lack of sales and he is now the only person working in that shop. 

Beckley said he doesn’t plan on restocking hunting supplies in his Au Gres bait shop and it will become strictly a fishing shop. All the restaurants, gas stations, and hotels will be affected around here without people coming to hunt, said Beckley. 

Beckley believes more research should be done before banning baiting and affecting hunters and businesses. Wyoming has one of the highest concentrations of Chronic Wasting Disease and they don’t allow baiting, said Beckley. With over 15,000 deer tested for CWD, and only 57 testing as positive, that leaves less than a one percent chance of CWD.

The UP doesn’t have a ban on baiting but downstate does. “Why punish the rest of the state,” said Beckley. “We are not two states.” 

They are messing with a billion dollar industry for such a small chance of CWD, said Beckley. 

People from the UP, downstate, and northern Michigan came together to plan the recall and hope to gather enough signatures in time.


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You can bet I'll sign the petition if I see it around Standish

Tuesday, January 7 | Report this

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