The Bait Debate
The use of bait for hunting big game animals has been widely criticized and praised for decades. There are both pros and cons to baiting, but it also raises some ethical questions. Lets discuss the topic of baiting, whether it be for whitetails, hogs, or black bears. Is it ethical or unethical? Does it offer an unfair advantage to the hunter? Do you currently use bait, and if you don't and had the opportunity to, would you use bait? After a few replies, I'll weigh in with my own opinions, and support it with some scientific facts I've learned while studying wildlife populations.
Hunt ManI've always put out apples or corn in the summer. If I didn't gather up the apples and take them out to the woods, they would just sit in the yard and rot. They're great to put out in front of game cameras so you can see what deer you have in the area. I want my deer to be well fed so I can be as well. Just this last year, they allowed us Georgia hunters to hunt over corn in parts of the state. I'm not sure what the deal is this year. I hate to think all the neighbors are legally hunting over corn and I'm just too stubborn to do so and son't see anything.
Michael NearhoofI use corn during the Maryland season which starts in September and runs until the end of January. This gives me a opportunity to harvest animals but by no means is it a slam dunk. You still have to be scent conscious and be mindful of the wind direction. Just because there is food the deer still are cautious when coming in. I also have hunted and harvested black bear over bait and in several areas this is the only way in which you can hunt them as it is to thick for any type of spot and stalk. I personally am all for bait hunting.
Eric RogersI'm all for it. I've never put out bait during season but I always do beforehand.
Ken Bass IIHere in Arizona, we are not formally allowed to bait, or place things out to attract wildlife. BUT... the rules then go on to say that items such as salt and other attractant can not be put out X amount of days before the start of the hunting season (clear as mud right!? Not allowed to, but if you do, follow these rules! Its enough to make you crazy! ) I am personally against it on public land. I can see the need to attract if you are hunting a lease and trying to keep the deer on that property compared to the next guys property. While "hunting" feral hogs in Texas a number of years ago I could not bring myself to enjoy the harvest. The pigs showed up a few minutes before the feeder went off, ate their fill, and left. That afternoon, same thing. My lab does that, knows exactly when its time to eat down to the dang minute! It felt too much like shooting a trained pet to me.
John JacksonI'm not for shooting animals over bait. That reminds me of lions ambushing antelope over the only watering hole for 50 miles in Africa. While I do own a wildlife nutrition supplementation company, I absolutely encourage you to feed your wildlife in the way of supplementing their natural diet with healthy and natural products (Corn is not one of them! I did the research). Our company motto is "keep your deer local." Deer are opportunistic foragers and grazers. They are also VERY predictable and habitual in what they do. If you make a practice of providing food/supplementation for them in a given area, you'll keep them local, as well as keeping them healthy for the rut, breeding, fawning, drought and hard winters. Please obey all baiting and feeding laws. As a matter of practice, if a hunter is going to be in one of my areas that have been fed, I will withhold supplement from the area for as long as 30 days prior to hunting (I rarely allow anyone to hunt my carefully nurtured herd however.)
Rick RinehartWe cant bait in Iowa. We had our first official case of CWD a couple weeks ago at a game farm. DNR here feel that bait increases risk of disease transmission by concentrating deer. On the other hand many here do use food plots and even micro plots in bowstand areas with beets, clover, etc. Is that bait? Arguable. We also are able to use mineral (but cant hunt over it) and most believe that this can be a nice source of mineral and protein for improving herd health...as long as it doesnt transmit CWD and the like.
Its my belief that we must use our personal observations and the studies of our state wildlife biologists and be vigilant in our management techniques and this varies by region and state. My joy of being a bowhunter is being "in the element." Reading the wind, the trail the weather and the deer and becoming successful. A 135 class buck taken in fair chase in that regard beats a 165 [email protected] buck taken over a pile of bait with a slug gun anyday. But that is just me. Not all have my passions and deer genetics and as long as they are respectful hunters and outdoorsman I support them.
Joshua KirbyIt is not allowed in my home state of South Carolina . There's very. Strict rules on private and public lands . I myself am very much against it . What happened to Hunting being challenging ?? A sport ? It is called hunting not "Killing" . Anyone can harvest a nice deer under a baited stand ... but being a fffather teaching a future generation of hunters it isn't ethical and will instill that belief into my lil hunters . Doin all the work down to patterning deer routes travel times and stand placement makes it all the more of an enjoyable experience and accomplish than harvesting your deer over
Joshua KirbyHis dinner or breakfast plate .
Josh MiguesI grew up in south Mississippi where it is allowed, but am not stationed in New York where it isnt. It doesnt Make ANY DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!!! Theres been many times where I have been hunting over corn or other types of "bait" and you may go weeks without seening any freaking deer. Same in New York, You dont use it and go days with out seeing any deer. Just because there is a bunch of corn on the ground does not mean that deer are going to come running from miles around just so they can eat your little pile of corn or "bait" you put out... I believe that it shouldnt even be called baiting but more like wildlife conservation. Many people that say I dont believe in "baiting" also plant food plots, hang up trail cams, and all that good stuff. It you want fair chase hunting then only go out in the woods on opening day with just a OLD wooden bow with no sights and a couple of hickory arrows and go track down a deer that way.
Justin Mathewhmm, well if your hunting big game i would just go with one of those salt like blocks which only attract larger game