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Author Topic: To bait or not to bait? That is the question  (Read 2618 times)

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Offline Barney

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To bait or not to bait? That is the question
« on: November 11, 2008, 02:19:30 PM »
To bait or not to bait? That is the question

In the coming months the WDNR and state officials will be pushing for banning of baiting  for hunting purposes in Wisconsin. They have put forward a document with several goals in mind to prevent the spread of CWD in Wisconsin. The baiting issue may be the hardest to implement.  You can access the States CWD Management Plan HERE

A little history of baiting in Wisconsin is in order. When I started hunting deer (30 years ago) baiting was not legal in Wisconsin. 30 years ago there were not as many deer but you could hunt just about anywhere there was deer. The posting of land was unusual and frowned upon. We drove deer and stump sitters were few. You could get on a deer track after a fresh snow and track it until you got the deer or just got tired or gave up. If we took those kind tactics today it wood be a short hunt, you would end up in jail or a large fine at a minimum.

You will hear a lot of anti baiting testimony in the coming months; hear are a few on the pro side.

Baiting is an effective and humane way to harvest deer; most counties in Wisconsin have too many deer and in many of the northern counties animals starve during hard winters. There should be no restrictions that would hinder or reduce the annual harvest of deer in Wisconsin. In other words why would you implement a rule that would make it harder to reach the states harvest goals?

The current argument for banning baiting for hunting purposes in Wisconsin is because of the possible spread of CWD and other diseases in the state. This is an argument they say is based on hard science related to CWD. To my knowledge the science is not settled on how the disease is actually spread. If indeed there is a possibility of spreading the disease through close contact, I believe the act of baiting for hunting is a very small part of the problem. Most hunters that hunt over bait do it sparingly. They only bait for just a few days out of the year. 

The feeding of deer for recreational purposes (viewing of wild life) is by far the most prevalent in the state. The feeding of deer is being done on an all year basis throughout the state.

Most bird feeders feed both deer and other wildlife. What will be done with bird feeders?

The average deer hunter today is confined to less than 100 acres. In some cases, hunters are restricted to 20 acres or less. They have one spot to hunt and no other options other than public land. They can't stalk or drive deer for fear of moving deer to there neighbors land. They can hardly move around the property without running deer across the fence and off there land. Their only option is to sit patiently in a blind and hope a deer comes by. Using bait ups the odds considerably. In the old days hunters could move from parcel to parcel with ease. The posting of land was unheard of. Now it is common place, it is unusual for private hunting not to be posted. In many cases hunting on these parcels just is not allowed. And in some other instances it is pay as you go hunts or leases.

Baiting allows hunters to study a deer for minutes at a time. Every shot at a deer is a management decision. Hunters before baiting often had scant seconds to shoot or not shoot as they saw a buck moving through heavy cover. The deer frequently was an immature buck (sometimes with big antlers) that should never have been shot.

Baiting is a very safe method of harvesting deer, baiting puts the deer where the hunter wants it. That includes putting deer close to novice hunters, excitable hunters or poor rifle shots. Close shots at relaxed, broadside, standing game translate to clean kills and fewer wounded animals, and that should be every deer hunter's goal.

Most modern hunters don't have much time to spend afield. By baiting, they can maximize their hunting time.

It's fun to see a lot of game and watch how animals interact. Baiting deer to a blind makes the hunt more entertaining (though admittedly less challenging).

Baiting for hunting purposes is a choice. It should be kept that way.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2008, 09:35:08 AM by mudbrook »