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smalls

Help with goose Problem!

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smalls

Just because you have hunted a spot or field for years, doesn't nor should it make it legal. The laws are laws, and I don't understand how you expect DNR to enforce them at any other time than the applicable hunting season... The guys enforcing the laws may very well not agree with them, they are just doing their job, and selectively enforcing laws is a very dangerous practice on their behalf.

That said, it sounds like you ahve some crappy laws. Try and change them, that is the only way to remedy the situation.

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Guest

Baiting laws are complex and confusing at times.

Rule of thumb- If you think it may be illegal, it probably is.

There are so many instances where a field that you may think is ok, is not. Burned off wheat fields are a big no-no, but a flooded field of standing corn is ok. Just too many grey areas. If there is even the slightest question, it's better to call the DNR and ask than to risk the chance of having the DNR show up and give out citations.

The laws were put in place to keep people from manipulating crops in order to attract migratory birds. Chopping up corn and spreading it on the field is a blatent attempt at this. Now, residue that is the result of standard farming practices is seen as ok to hunt over, but from the sounds of the sweet corn issue, it is not always the case.

Check, its better to be safe than sorry.

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bigbucks

Maybe a stupid question, but I don't know that I've ever even seen one. What's the problem with a burned wheat field & what's the purpose of burning one?

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96trigger

Just to clarify again. I was no where near the baited fields. I never planned on going into a baited field. My biggest concern was that these fields supposedly had followed the rules, the fields had disked under for the minnimum ten days. The officials came out the night before opener and said that there was too much left over waste and that the fields were off limits. I am not so much mad about people not being able to hunt, but about the manner and time with which it was taken care of. I was sickened to learn that people that had traveled were told the night before that it was off limits. Why did they have to wait until the 11th hour? Why didn't the DNR, come out and say that we are really going to get picky about these particular rules this year, they have in the past? The laws need to be cleaned up and more specific to prevent this problem, that is why I am asking the hunting community for help, they won't listen to me, but they will listen to us. I am surprised at the number of people who are quick to make many assumptions about our hunting practices. As hunters, we need to stick together. These fields were picked and plowed. I thought I made that clear. IN NO INSTANCE was there, or were there any dumping or piling of feed for the geese. This was strictly ag land, used for ag. The farmers in no way were doing anything illegal.

By the way, this was southeastern Minnesota

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Guest

There must have been a complaint or something that caused them to do this. Maybe something that happened in the past, who knows.

As for Burned wheat fields, they do this in order to claim complete loss of crops. If a field is damaged by mold, wind, pest, it's better to burn than to try and harvest remaining crop. Maybe a farmer or someone else who has had expierience in this could get more detailed than I can. (Bemduckboy, you out there?)

[This message has been edited by Tom Herman (edited 09-07-2004).]

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CRAPPIEBAIT

The DNR really needs to reconsider how they are wording this.I asked a DNR C.O. about a baiting question out at game fair,and he tells me it depends on who is working in your area as to how they will look at it(whether or not "THEY" think it would be baiting).He told me he honestly did not know the answer to my question,but just to be safe I should not do it.So I get a hold of my local C.O. and she tells me "no problem,go right ahead".So this to me just proves they don't even know.

------------------
Greg

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Guest

Well after a couple of hours on the phone with the USFWS enforcement, DNR enforcement and the extension office I feel I have a better idea on what to look for. Most everyone I talked to was extremely helpful and patient. Also the USFWS website has a link to the law on baiting. I really don't want to give wrong info so I would say call some of these same agencies I did. Your situations and scenarios may differ so giving a blanket response may be incorrect. I do think they could word the rules in simpler terms. As for the sweet corn fields and them closing them I feel it was a great thing to do to keep a hunter from unknowingly committing a potentially serious offense. This topic would make a great seminar at the various sporting goods stores and would better educate all of us. Most of us are not farmers or lawyers so the regs and terminology can be confusing.

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96trigger

This past weekend was the early goose opener for much of the state of Minnesota. The season opened on Saturday 9-4-04. On Friday afternoon 9-3-04, the DNR visited numerous sweet corn fields and shut them down to hunting due to the baiting rule. I understand the rule behind bating. I have read the rules in regard to it. The rules are not clear enough and leave to much discresion to the officer. In one instance, the field had been disked under for over ten days but there was too much waste left on the fields. In another instance there wasn't a cover crop planted yet. Keep in mind that it is also illegal to harvest geese on their way to a feeding area. Given this info, how are we supposed to hunt geese. Why open an early season to thin out the population, only to tell hunters that there isn't any area they can legally hunt? You know what really kills me above all of this is who caused the DNR to crack down? (tree hugger, another jealous hunter?) Many of the people I talked to Friday night were disgusted, many had people coming from all over the state to hunt geese. Can you imagine telling your kids that they can't hunt geese after driving 4 hours just to hunt them. How about the hunters from out of state that bought the Minnesota licenses just for the early goose season. What really gets me is that most of the farmers and land leasers I talked to said that they would have had all the requests taken care of if they had known. Many of these hunters had hunted these same fields for years and never had a problem. How can the DNR come out the day before opener and say no way. What are we teaching our youth about ethics? I am asking that people write or call the DNR and let them know that this was a mistake. The rules themselves are fine but going around the night before and telling people that they couldn't hunt, that just makes me sick. Fortunately I was in a group that hunted a hay field and did very well. So don't think that I am just a whiner who never got any geese. If this happened in the goose fields, it can happen anywhere. How would you like it if the day befor opener, the offcer told you that you couldn't hunt in your stand opening morning because it was illegal on a technicallity? Especially if you had hunted that spot for years. Anyway, I wanted to reach as many people as I could with this so please pass on the info and if you have time, contact the DNR.

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Labby

What area of the state was this in

Lab

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jlm

Many people do bait by trying to use the loopholes in the system. I have seen this happen many times where people leave waste on purpose to attract geese. I am not saying you have done this though, please don't get me wrong. If one or two people do it, we all get nailed for it even if we are hunting in legitimate areas.

If I were you, I would call the DNR and ask the officer to come back out and examine the field. If they can come out and tell you stay out, they better come back and let you know when you can legally hunt it.

Sweet corn fields are closely scrutinized by the DNR. If you are hunting over one, you better make sure it is legit!

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Mike Walerak

I'm not trying to start an argument because maybe the law has been recently changed, but hunting burned wheat fields was taken to the supreme court 3 or 4 years ago and legalized. It was considered to be a common farming practice. The only reason I am saying this is because I personally know the party that was involved in the lawsuit.
mw

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96trigger

What the regs say about ag feilds:

Agricultural areas must be prepared in accordance with official
recommendations to be legally hunted. It is a separate offense to
place or direct placement of bait on or adjacent to an area that
causes, induces, or allows another to hunt by the aid of bait or over
a baited area. Hunters are responsible for ensuring that an area has
not been baited and should verify its legality prior to hunting. The
maximum federal penalties are: for hunting over bait: $15,000/
6 months jail, and placing bait $100,000/1 year jail.

This is so vague it's BS. You will need to call the CO to come out to make sure your field is legal. I would do this as soon as you think that it is ready to hunt. The CO has the power to shut it down regardless of past hunting. In the cases last weekend the hunters never considered this baiting. When we think of baiting we think of people dumping out piles of corn for game to come and eat, not fields being poorly picked or not disking them under enough. Maybe the DNR should buy the farmers new combines.

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Flash

Just so everyone knows. You do not have to know a field is baited in order to be guilty. And yes, it is totally up to the CEO to determine if they feel it is baited. I know of some hunters that got nailed in a sweet corn field. Sometimes, with sweet corn, if it ripens too quickly before it is picked, the farmer will have to go in and just knock it down and plow it under. Also, the 10 day wait starts when all the bait is "removed". Meaning, that field is probably baited until spring time the next year. Dennis Anderson wrote an article about this baiting incident and he made it sound like the hunters were hand feeding these poor hungry geese and then slaughtering them. In fact, it's about time for Dennis to put out a baiting article. Look for it soon. Yes, the baiting laws are BS. One thing the CEO's use to determine baiting is if the act is "normal farming practices". They pick the crop, and yes some does not go through the combine and gets left in the field, and then they plow it under. This is "normal Farming practice". Anything different and it is baiting. I know in my area, Seneca Corp. is spreading the waste sweet corn back onto the fields they are picking. Geese are eating like crazy. Is this baiting or normal farming practice? It will depend on the CEO involved. If anyone knows, let me know. Sorry I rambled on here but my main point is to be careful as you do not have to know a field is baited to be in violation.
Flash
"Set the Hook"

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sheepheadslayer

flash i was told that people were hunting the field northwest of the 13 and 99 intersection. They were spreading silage on that field the whole week beforethe season. I can't believe that was able to be hunted.

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Flash

That's what I mean. Is this baiting or not? I just saw this morning just east of Monty, they are spreading right now. Geese, gulls, ducks, everything in there. According to the law, every bird that comes or goes to that field cannot be shot. Even if you are in an unbaited field. Correct?
Flash
"Set the Hook"

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96trigger

This topic is also being discussed on the Hunting forum, it's getting pretty interesting, your input would be appreciated on there. I agree that the baiting rules are B.S.. Especially when dealing with sweet corn. This should be normal ag practice. Like I have posted before, 10 COs would have probably given ten different answers on those fields. There needs to be more explicit rules. By the way, is it true that if you don't know that field is baited you can't be held liable? That is my biggest concern, I don't want to get caught on a judgement call, and I don't want to have to call the CO everytime I want to pick up decoys and head to a different field. We are talking about a bird that they are trying to thin the population of. It just doesn't make any sense.

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knucklehead

If a field is determined to have been baited and your are hunting there you will be cited..............you do not have to know there was bait there.

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Prime Time

Which is a joke when the baiting occured during normal Ag. Practices. How is a hunter supposed to know this? Who many ears of corn are there between ok and baiting?

Geese are using the field because there is food in the field. If there was not food left in the field geese would not be there. Correct?

So in all fairness every field is baited. Grain that should have gotten harvested didn't, and ended up on the ground for the geese to consume. There is bait or food that is attracting the geese to any given field all up and down the flyway. How are we as hunters supposed to know the LIMITS?

Example:
A farmer is picking field corn in October. He is getting followed around the field by a wagon that the Corn is getting dumped into. The wagons door is not completely shut, so grain is spilling out as they drive along. Not enough to notice, but enough to leave a good amount of grain on the ground. The field is complete and days later the Geese start using the field. Jo Bob Hunter drives by and notices the large number of birds so heads down the road and askes permission. "Go ahead" the farmer says. Jo Bob wakes up early the next morning and heads out with a group of friends to hunt the field. Morning comes and the geese pour in like they did the night before. An easy limit is at hand, the best hunt he or his friends have every had, when a truck pulls up and out steps the local CO. He comes walking out in the field to check licenses and notices a large amount of spilt corn in the area that Jo Bob did not notice in the dark setting up decoys and failed to notice after the shooting got hot and heavy.

1) Is the field baited?
2) Is Jo Bob at fault?
3) How much food does it take before a field is baited?

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knucklehead

I am not a CO but have had my fields checked. They have a set square(its like 18"x18") that they lay down in the field at a random location. They then count the number of kernels of food within that square. If the number of food kernels exceeds the predetermined limit then they check another area of the field to see if they have an accidental dump or if the problem is field encompassing. If both test sites fail then the field is shut down for a period of two weeks. It is then rechecked and determined huntable or not. I do not think that they have check two areas of the field only one area in violation is all that is needed. Every CO that has checked my fields has only checked the area directly around the area where we were hunting. If there is a obvious dump pile on the opposite end of the field from me they have never questioned us however I suppose they could. I think its important for us to remember that every CO working out there today is also a sportsman themselves. They deal with sportsman and sh- - heads everyday and must try and weed us out. Be courteous to them and see their side of the task at hand. If the shut field down then it was for a good reason. Guess they could of waited until you were set up shooting away then wrote a ticket? Just trying to see both side of the fence here. I do appreciate your frustations as well though.
knucklehead

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Prime Time

Thanks for that info.

I never new they had that method of checking!

So if your hunting a field that is determined to be baited (be it accidental or what not), are you fined or just asked to leave? I'm thinking a pile would be means for a fine, but if it's clearly a farming issue what happens to the hunter.

Thanks - Prime Time

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knucklehead

If a field is determined to have been baited then all parties actively hunting at the time of the violation are given citations and the field is shut down for 2 weeks. Again my experience has been that they check around the area where the decoys are at however if any part of the field has too much grain in it then it is possible to be considered baiting. if you have a question talk to your local CO about it. The ones here in the SE, are very fair in their enforcement in my opinion. There is not a corn field in this state that does not have a dump pile in where a combine over flowed the grain truck. A good working relationship with your local CO's makes this issue a very easily managed point. Good luck

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