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MNpurple

Pumpkins?

21 posts in this topic

I'm starting to make some food plot plans for this spring and was wondering about a pumpkin plot. I grew pumpkins in the garden this year and couldn't believe what candy they are to deer. I see no difference between planting a plot of pumpkins and planting a plot of turnips or clover. Pumpkins would not be baiting would it? As long as they are planted in a location and not hauled in and placed. Agree I shouldn't have any baiting worries? Anyone else ever tried pumpkins?

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It would not be considered baiting as long as the pumpkins you hunted over were not moved around to concentrate them. If they were still on the vine, then you would have no worries. It would be no different than a hobby farm for corn or tomatoes.

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I agree with Powerstroke, as long as you don't place the pumpkins (ie. pick and relocate) to attract deer they are not baiting.

But I don't think pumpkins alone would be a very good food plot, because the deer would only use them for a very short time if at all. Clover and turnips and several other of the more traditional food plot crops will provide more food to the deer over a much longer time period. Whether your goal is for a long-term food supply and nutrition, or an attractive food source to hunt over, or both, I think there are many better options than pumpkins by themselves. Good luck.

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Personally I'd leave out the pumpkins. It may not technically be baiting but what you are describing isn't normal or accepted farming, forest management, wildlife food plantings, orchard management or similar management activities.

Pumpkins show up really well in aerial surveys and with the DNR doing flights to catch poachers baiting you may end up having a lot of explaining to do. No need to bring unneeded trouble.

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It is legal and we have done it.... once. It is a lot more work than a standard food plot, so we no longer do it. The land we did it on is 2 hours away and it's too much driving to make sure they are up and going. You need to provide good soil and proper watering for them to flourish. The 1st month you need to be there at least once a week and that is without the droughts we've had lately.

I have checked into this and as long as they are planted as a food plot and not just pumpkins dumped in a food plot, it is excepted as a legal food plot.

Black Bay is correct that if they show up on a DNR's flight looking for bait, you may get a visit. But it will be OK'd the same as planting corn or beans in a food plot.

Good Luck!

Ken

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My kids grow pumpkins and sell them every fall.We had about a 10 to 12 left over sitting on our deck, so I brought them down to the garden last weekend before they got real mushy.There have been deer down there every night eating on them, they really like the insides.

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100% legal for sure.

I have checked with our CO and Labs hit it on the nose.

As Labs mentioned, they are more work than a more "normal" food plot.

Deer do love them! I have mine behind the house now as well, and they are there every night.

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BLB I planted some pumpkins and zucchini in my plot over by Clitherall and the pumpkins had tons of blossoms and looked great but only put out 2 pumpkins? I'm no farmer but the zucchini's were everywhere as were the the pumpkin vines and blossoms? P.S. have you seen a deer yet this year? grin.gif

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Not sure why, but guessing they didnt pollinate for some reason??? No idea why they wouldnt. Maybe the drought? We watered ours all summer with a water pump pulling water from a nearby pothole.

We had literally a couple hundred pumpkins that grew.

And YES, I finally saw deer! 8 this morning!!!!! WOOHOOOO.

No good bucks though. Leaving early to try again. The rut is full bore from what I saw the past 2 days.

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2-3 times in the last 7 years there's been a 5-6 acre pumpkin field bordering our property. Only 1 of those years did the deer seem to hit that very significantly. The last time I though it would be really good. I even went & split some of them open with an axe just to make it easier for the deer to get at them, but they were hardly touched. They were always out on the hayfield. So I'd have to say they're a secondary food. It almost seems like some deer get a taste for them, while others don't really care for them. Just my observations.

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I think its more the variety of the pumpkin.

We planted about 10 different kinds this year, and only a few of them were or have been eaten up.

The most popular by far is the Atlantic giants. They gorge on them. I cant recall the other type offhand, but I can say the "standard" ones you buy at stores for halloween get hit very little.

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Quote:

I even went & split some of them open with an axe just to make it easier for the deer to get at them


Now wouldn't that qualify as baiting?

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I don't see how. I didn't move any of them, or redistribute them. What's the difference if I did that or drove over them with a disc to break them up? They were in the field right where they grew.

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That would make some sense. I didn't pay enough attention to know if they planted the same kind of pumpkins in each time. They were selling them, but of course there were tons of them left in the field that weren't the right size or shape or whatever they were looking for.

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BigBucks,

It may be splitting hairs, But I think Shogun is correct... splitting those pumpkins open could be construde as baiting. What you are doing is not part of normal farming practices and you are manipulating a food source to try and entice animals to use them. That all falls into the realm of baiting. Even if you dragged a disk over them just to "open" them, you could get hit for baiting. Much like guys who knock down sweet corn or millet to entice doves and ducks, that is manipulation a food source to entice animals to go to that area. If you were to work the field to prep it for spring planting and broken pieces of pumpkins were laying around, that would pass the test.

Now a CO would have to catch you doing so, and the odds are slim that would happen, but in it's truest sense you could be tagged.

Good Luck!

Ken

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I think if you were attempting to dispose of them by disking or plowing them they are natural and you are trying to get them to break down they would have a hard time tagging you for that. I have set up goose hunting after we have hauled out manure and geese will land in there to pick the left over corn. And then there is the "Hot Lunch Program" that the turkeys flock to in the winter after you clean out the barn as well. I would say if you piled them next to your stand you would be in violation but if you are using farming practises we would be safe.

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I am with Labs on this.

The rulebook states very clearly that if its "normal farming practices", its legal to hunt over.

Discing a field of pumpkins and hunting near it would be fine.

Going out with an axe and chopping pumpkins open, is not a normal farming practice.

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Well I suppose it could be for a neanderathal (sp) farmer, but regardless of that it was probably three years ago. I never hunted over it, nor did it every appear to draw deer. I was just trying to make it easier for them to eat them instead of them just going to waste.

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Speaking for myself, I am not sitting here dialing up TIP on you Rodd.

Just wanted to share my thoughts on the topic of legal vs illegal in this instance. Just my opinion on how I read it.

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Not trying to bust your chops either Rodd...

Just trying to clarify what is legal vs. illegal... If you never hunted over, nor intended to hunt over those pumpkins, you're O.K.. Just trying to get them to eat them isn't against the law... at least they haven't made a law making it illegal for a deer to eat... YET! grin.gif.

Good Luck!

Ken

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I guess I can't honestly say whether or not I "intended" to hunt over them or not, it's too long ago, but I didn't...

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