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Fish&Fowl

"hunting" over bait

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I usually don't want deer hunting on tv because I don't find it that exciting, but I turned it on this morning just as a guy shot a mid-160's class buck over a pile of corn with his bow at 25 yds. The show was called Outdoors with Bob Coker. Anybody else ever heard of this show? This is the first time I've seen it, and watching it was just disgusting. If people bait deer and call it hunting, to each his own, but don't put that garbage on tv and say you're doing a hunting show.

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Baiting is legal in many states.

Not saying its right or wrong, but its legal.

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Here in Michigan, baiting is very rampant and it's killing our herd. I'd say at least 70% bait in the big woods setting. This allows most 1 1/2 y/o's to be shot. Pretty annoying! People are turning they're opinions of it now though because they believe that's what killed the good deer hunting.....since it came about in the late 80's....and it came about hard and fast. Before that time, there was actually a "hunt" and many bruisers were shot. Now they can't even make it to they're second birthday. Wisconsin allowed it a few years back and still allow it in many parts today. Hence the reason why deer are not able to mature. Greg Miller won't even hunt Northern WI anymore because of it and that's was his passion....northern WI I mean.

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Pretty disgusting. Legal or not, I just can't see how you could throw out a bunch of corn or apples and think you're hunting. Hunting is outsmarting or stalking the animal being pursued, and takes experience, skill, knowledge, and as with anything a little luck. Put someone who's never hunted before in front of a bait pile and tell them to keep their mouth shut and they can kill deer as easily as anyone else.

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So what do you all think about baiting for bear?

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Good question. I don't know what the number of bears are compared to deer, but I know it's substantially less. I have never bear hunted and don't know if I ever will, so it's probably a better question to be answered by a bear hunter. My question is "Could you kill one without baiting?"...and if so, then what's the need to bait?

I just think if you're baiting deer, just set up a feeder in your back yard and shoot them there, why go in the woods to do the same thing? These bait piles are put out before hunting season starts, and the deer are being made into "pets" in the woods after using them so much...but since they're in the woods they're fair game once the season opens. My main reason for bringing this up is because it was on tv. If it's legal in your state and you bait deer, that's not my business. But why replace wilderness hunts in Saskatchewan, Alberta...etc. with some guy "Lookin' at da big buck over der in da shootin' lane with his head down in the pile of cracked corn." ???

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Put someone who's never hunted before in front of a bait pile and tell them to keep their mouth shut and they can kill deer as easily as anyone else.


Easier said than done though. Here in Michigan, it's so prevalent that a mature buck usually won't come to bait. It also turned all of our deer nocturnal. It's a big issue and it needs to go away. But, being a multi-million dollar industry, it'll put a lot of farmers out of money....the State is worried about that especially in our current ecomonmic status.. That's they're life. I hate that fact, but it's true. I hope this year they pan't more corn for ethonol and cause bait prices to sky rocket because of it.

I foresee our DNR abolishing it in the near future though! Many hunters are now against it and diseaese spread is a big worry.

Just FYI, our laws allow us to spread two gallons of bait over an area of 10 feet at any one time...though I still see guys buy a truck load of sugar beets. They pull up, pay $60, and a guy on a front end loader dumps a scoop in your pick up. For those of you who don't know, 2 gallons of sugar beats is about a 1/2 - 2 sugar beets and they last quite a while.

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But why replace wilderness hunts in Saskatchewan, Alberta...etc. with some guy "Lookin' at da big buck over der in da shootin' lane with his head down in the pile of cracked corn." ???


I've hunted in Saskatchewhan a few times and a lot of those guys bait like crazy up there. Including on a lot of the televised hunts filmed up there.

I've hunted in a few different places that allow baiting (Saskatchewan, WI, MI) so I've done some hunting over bait, for both bear and deer. I'll admit that before I did it I didn't like the idea of it, but now that I've done it a few times the idea doesn't bother me like it did before.

Baiting is not a simple answer or magic recipe to get a big buck. You still need to be in a good spot, need to be still and quiet and scent-free, need to judge animals and decide which to pass on and which to shoot, need to be able to make the shot, etc. I really don't think baiting does much to make up for anyones lack of hunting skills. Maybe it would if you're illegally baiting in MN where not many other guys are, but not if you're hunting somewhere where the deer are used to bait.

Another thing is that mature animals do not come piling into bait sites throwing caution to the wind. Especially in MI where I hunted --- and those guys are serious, professional, master-baiters over there --- virtually every time I saw deer the fawns would run to the bait pile, the does would skirt around the bait pile and constantly look up into the trees, and to see a buck bigger than a fork was an extremely rare occurance. Several times while bear hunting I've heard and seen bears completely circle the bait at a wide distance, like 100 yards, and decide not to come into it. I think game is more skitish and alert around bait piles, deer and bear both.

I'm not writing this to defend baiting, I just want to say my thoughts about it changed after I hunted over bait. Personally, I hope MN never allows baiting, and I wish they'd crack down on "feeding" too. If anyone finds anyone baiting, I hope you report it.

I guess to let you know how effective I think baiting is where legal, where I hunt in WI each year we don't bait even though we could legally, and even though some of the guys on the neighboring properties put out bait.

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Amen PerchJerker!

It is different in areas like SK where there isn't a baitpile every couple hundred yards like Michigan too.

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I would'nt hunt over bait for deer I dont agree with it or feeding deer here in MN. Helping deer herds survive where mother nature has ment to deplete to me is upsetting the natural order. A good example of management is Lake of the woods fishery, even though I was dissapointed when they droped the walleye limit from six to four an the saugers down to two, and with the help of the slot limit you definately see more quallity breeding fish than in many past years, an bigger saugers also. Now you will see a gap in year class size from time to time but thats nature taking it's course. Now I hunt for bear over bait, that is an entirely different story my family owns some 80 acres of river bottom land that I have hunted deer for 28 years now up until five years ago I never gave bear hunting a thought, never seen one, never even thought about them being there until one tore apart an old canvas pop up fish house I hauld in for deer hunting. Now having learned all I know of bear hunting from advise an experience, hunting bear without the aid of bait would be almost next to impossible. I'm not fortunate enough to live in area or afford hunting bear by spot an stock which if having the opportunity to do so I would in a heart beat. Just because ya put out a pile of goody's for mister bear certainly dosent mean your going home with youre tag filled. My first bear hunt took me from August 15th till sept. 30th to fill my tag, lots of baitting an hard hunting, my next bear came on openner, bang, done, lucky me, the next year a month an ahalf of baiting an hunting an did'nt see one, got hit on the bait three times an the acorns fell in mass an it was over. So many variables. Anyway just my two cents. Later boar

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I will never allow hunting over bait. I actually turned in some hunters 2 years ago for hunting over bait. I was hunting on the same land with permission and they hauled in 100lbs of shelled corn the day before opener. I called the CO and they were busted at first light. The sad part was he had a kid with him. I ended up getting kicked off the land cause they figured I did it, but oh well, it was the right thing to do.

I've never bear hunted so I can't say how I feel about that, but I know enough about deer hunting to know that baiting for deer is cheating. If you can't SEE deer than you're njot trying hard enough. Getting one is another story, but if you don't see anything then you need to do more homework. The cheaters are those who don't want to try that hard to find deer.

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When you relate deer baiting to bear baiting it sort of negates any morality or sportsmanship from the equation, doesn't it?

Until now I always figured it was just plain wrong but now I'm not so sure. Since it is illegal in Minnesota I will say that I won't look the other way when I encounter it.

Aside from the preseason effort, is placing scent or other attractants different from baiting? How about using decoys or calls? I don't recall if this is legal in MN.

I think this raises many interesting questions.

Bob

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You have a great point BobT regarding the bear hunting. Gets hard to start saying its okay for this type of hunting but not this type. I have never bear hunted and probably never will unless I have some extra dinero laying around some year but I have heard its next to impossible to get a bear otherwise. I don't feel it's that way with deer so I see no need for bait. I also don't think its good healthwise for the deer or when managing a quality herd. There are plenty of other ways to 'bait" deer like food plots, cutting travel lanes through brush, minerals, scents, decoys, calls, etc. where the piles of corn on the ground really isn't necessary and often not as effective as the latter. You'll see a lot of does at feeder trail cam pics during the day but how many big bucks. Few if any in most cases. They realize the corn is being put there by somebody, which drives them nocturnal. And there you've just shot yourself in the foot because they may have been coming through at day had you just thrown out some minerals and stayed out of their bedroom.

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OK where to begin…

I live in Michigan where it is legal to bait, like it or not it is legal. Do I bait? Sure I do because it is legal. Have I ever shot anything real big of a bait pile? No, because the big ones are smarter and know better not to come into a bait pile. I do however use it to my advantage why? Because it is legal. I normally bait about 100yds away from where I am going to hunt. I use trail cameras to find out there they are coming in and I set up on that trail. So do I bait? Yes. Do I hunt over bait, you make that decision. Do I think hunting over a pile is any different than hunting over a 1 acre food plot or a small corn filed? Absolutely not, no difference. Here in the good old Gogebic County of the UP of Michigan, I wish we had fields to hunt over, I have about 160 acres of land and I can honestly say my biggest field or clearing on all of my property is about 100 feet by 200 feet. So for me I wish I had a 5 acres field because I would be planting, but I don’t… Know I also hunt the Washington County area in Wisconsin and baiting is also legal but there is no need because I sit over a corn field…. Now that is a HUGE bait pile….

I know I rambled on and on I am sure I am going to get someone stating hunting over a plot is not the same as hunting over a bait pile… So I am ready to defend myself…

shocked.gif

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For BobT, scents, calling and decoys are legal in MN. You are not allowed to use any kind of food product for enticing deer.

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perchking,

I agree with whole heartingly.

I work my butt off while I hunt alot of public grounds here in Minnesota, but I will tell ya during the slug season over here I get pretty spoiled, cause we do what you were talking about. I get to hunt a big woods with 2 little fields in the middle of them and some rather big corn fields surrounding them. So what is the difference to baiting. I have NO idea.

Some time I really wonder who is writing up some of these laws, outdoorsman or politicians?

Lets see, I know at this time we cannot "place" food to attract deer to a location, but we can plant leafy food plots designed to attract and grow deer? But this is not baiting.

In Minnesota we could get a ticket for baiting if some person happen to be feeding deer in thier yard with a bird feeder for example and we are sitting on the trail that may lead them to it.

I understand what Minnesota is trying to do sometimes, but if baiting is ILLEGAL, then it should ALL be illegal, no mineral blocks, deer suckers, food plots. IMO

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perchking, you state that you bait because its legal, do you think that it should be legal or illegal? Why?

I've read quite a few articles in magazines and on the web from people in legal deer baiting states and the vast majority of the people say don't let baiting get started, it ends up being a competition for who has the biggest and best deer bait pile, that it has ruined their deer hunting. I hope MN never allows deer baiting!!

Its and interesting comparison between legal bear baiting and illegal deer baiting. I've never bear hunted, the idea of hunting over bait has turned me off, plus I'm not really turned on by the thought of butchering and eating a bear, but if I lived in an area where bears were common, I'd have to try it. Also, if baiting is the only way viable way to harvest a bear, if bear baiting were illegal, we'd be overrun with bears and would start having more nuscience bears, turning them from a big game animal into a pest. Kind of like coons. I'd rather not see that happen so I'm ok with bear baiting.

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perchking, I also wanted to address your statement that hunting over food plots is baiting. Every few months that subject comes up here on FM and I wonder whether it’s from people that are jealous because they don't have the capability of planting a food plot or trolls looking to start an argument.

You state that hunting over a big cornfield is like hunting over a big bait pile. In a sense it is, but is it any different than hunting deer in an 80 acre oak woods? Or by the edge of a 10 acre lake where they're coming down to drink? Any deer hunter worth his salt knows that one of the best ways to hunt deer is to find their food/water source. But if you're hunting 80 acres of woods or corn field, the deer have a lot of options; you need to find the best trail leading into it, that gully or draw that the deer are following. Ask any hunter that has hunted over an alfalfa field how many times they've watched deer come out onto the field ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE where your stand is! Plus you still have to play the wind.

Lets say you only have a 4-5 acre food plot- clover, brassica, corn, it doesn't matter. Deer are still very wary critters, you're still going to have to play the wind to hunt them, it’s no different than hunting a bigger field.

Now if your food plots start getting smaller, 100x100 feet like you talked about, the deer will have them cleaned up in a few days and it won't be any different than sitting under an oak tree that the deer hit hard until most of the acorns were gone. They'll come by that oak tree or small plot occasionally but it won't draw deer consistently because there is nothing left. On the other hand, if you're dumping corn in a pile, and come every week from August until November and dump more, the deer will keep coming back on a consistent basis, giving you the baiter an unfair advantage over non-baiters. On the other hand, if you were to dump corn in 80 different piles on your 160 acres, would it give you an unfair advantage? Somewhat, it will draw the deer into an area but it won't concentrate them. It would be like one guy hunting an oak woods and the other guy hunting a pine woods, I'd like to be the guy hunting the oak woods. If I plant 4-5 one acre food plots on my 160 acres, it will help bring the deer into the area but I still have to hunt them.

What I'm trying to say is that baiting concentrates deer in one small area where food plots aren't any different than hunting and oak woods, be it a one acre woods or an 80 acre woods. Plus food plots provide and extra nutrition source for the deer. My reward on planting food plots actually comes in the winter when I'm seeing all the tracks in the snow in my corn plot after a big storm; I know that I'm helping the deer survive.

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the reason you can bait bears is because there population is 30,000 or so in MN. Deer population is about 1 million. Do the math and you will realize people are correct to say its nearly impossible to get a bear without bait. I have hunted them before and using a bait does not mean you will get a bear. You need to scout and do your homework more so than you do for deer hunting. Have you ever hit a bear with your vehicle?

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BlackJack,

As long as it is LEGAL in MI I will bait, if it goes away no big deal I will then have my land logged and plant plots, and yes I have the means to plant plots. I just picked up the 160 acres about 4 months ago and along with it came a tractor with numerous implements, so I am not trying to start a fight. I don’t think it is a competition on who can have the biggest bait pile, MI allows you to have up to 2 gallons on the ground at time, so it is not like I am going and dumping 5 yds of corn out. You also talk about hunting an oak stand, let me tell you if I had the opportunity to hunt oaks on my land I would I have a few but that is about it. I would rather hunt in a oak stand vs. hunting over a bait pile or food plot any day.

I guess the bottom line is no matter how you hunt you have to hunt the wind, no questions asked. I just don’t want to have people think that if you hunt over 2 gallons of corn you are guaranteed a buck. That is just NOT the case… Our bow season starts Oct 1 and that is when baiting starts, it is against the law to bait any earlier…

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I know that scents, calls, and the like are legal. I'm refraining from stating that I have a hard position either pro or con to baiting. I think it is really a personal thing.

I hunt not only just to take a deer but also to enjoy the chase. This may seem a bit sadistic but I honestly believe it is in our nature. I think someone already touched on one possiblity and that is that those of us that don't bait maybe feel some sense of jealousy when someone does use baiting type tactics including scents, calls, decoys, etc. I don't use these things but I don't hold it against someone that does legally.

Wait a minute...I do use some of these methods because I carry a grunt. My brother uses scent and rattling as well. We both feel a bit disgusted when we come across piles of corn, apples, salt, etc. within the area of a deer stand for we know what they are doing. But are we any better? Maybe in the sense that what we use is an at-the-minute method whereas baiting attracts after we leave, but then so do scents.

And what about hunting in a stand of cedar, oak, or near an apple tree? These things attract deer too. Maybe we should only be allowed to hunt in the middle of a gravel pit, eh?

Man this is a merry-go-round. confused.gif

Bob

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Also, even if you weren't able to plant food plots, there are plenty of management tactics you could use that would be more fruitful and less time intensive than throwing a pile of corn on the ground. Even if a guy had access to a small tract in the woods like 10 acres, you could plant a couple of bowhunter's food plots of clover and cereal grains in clearings, plant some apple trees and/or pumpkins, establish a few mineral sites and create a water source if there was none by digging a depression, lining it with rubber fish pond liner, and letting mother nature fill it for you. Establish some trails by bushwacking, etc. and you might have a good small ecosystem to hunt so long as you didn't overpressure it.

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Also, even if you weren't able to plant food plots, there are plenty of management tactics you could use that would be more fruitful and less time intensive than throwing a pile of corn on the ground. Even if a guy had access to a small tract in the woods like 10 acres, you could plant a couple of bowhunter's food plots of clover and cereal grains in clearings, plant some apple trees and/or pumpkins, establish a few mineral sites and create a water source if there was none by digging a depression, lining it with rubber fish pond liner, and letting mother nature fill it for you. Establish some trails by bushwacking, etc. and you might have a good small ecosystem to hunt so long as you didn't overpressure it.


Chucker,

I guess that is my point, what is the diffence of what you are saying to what I am saying with my 2 gallons of bait? Are you trying to attact animals into bow range? So am I. Are you trying to give them something they need to survive? So am I. That is what I am trying to say, digging a small watering hole, sitting on top of a food plot, hunting a LEGAL bait pile, or putting down minerals are ALL THE SAME... We can all agree to disagree if you want but the bottom line is it is legal and if you dont like it on TV dont watch it...

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Great post PJ.

I'm a bowhunter and we hunt over bait in WI and I do have mixed feeling about it, but one thing bait also does is puts the deer in position for a quick clean kill.

I usually can come to full draw and take my time waiting for that broadside or quatering away shot.

In WI we only bait while we're hunting. We put out about a gallon of corn at a time and refill it when needed. My feeling is bait may attract more deer to an area over time, but you'd have to bait consisitantly week after week. The advantage I really see is making a good shot.

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Enhancing a habitat and dumping corn on the ground are completely different. I'm not against you baiting if its legal, more power to you. I just think there are healthier, not to mention less invasive and time intensive ways to do it. Enhancing the habitat is just that, enhancing it and working with what's already there.

Not to mention that people claim and trail cam pics prove time and time again that baiting drives a majority of the deer nocturnal. Don't see many trail cam pics of bucks gobbling on corn piles during daylight hours. It happens but its not the norm. So why would you want to hamper your chances at a great deer so you could just shoot whatever walks up to your cornpile?

Again, don't take this the wrong way. I'm not saying I'm against people baiting where its legal and I would never berate another hunter for doing it. I'm just asking, why would you want to do it when you look at the consequences. If's because everyone else is doing it, but you wished it were otherwise, I would hope several hunters who felt the same way banded together and approached the dnr and legislature and say this needs to end for all the detrimental reasons we are sharing with you. That would take some major cahones and I'm sure some people would be pissed off, but sometimes you need to piss people off to accomplish great things.

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