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Baiting


Musky Buck

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We've been down this road before, I don't want it to get ugly. I just want to post the field and stream article written by Scott Bestul and then you can make an agree/disagree about it. Just an FYI article. From April 2009, page 23 and 24. Grain Man-In Wisconsin, hunters can put out more than 200 gallons of bait per season. A Pile of Trouble. Put the ethical debate aside. Right or Wrong, baiting is bad news for deer hunting and deer. I think baiting for whitetails has to stop now. okay,okay, before you peg me as a purist who thinks all baiters are slobs, hear me out. If you watch a spin feeder or camp near a pile of sugar beets, I'm not going to attack your character or question your allegiance to the flag. But, I do think that if you gave up the bait, we'd all be better off. Baiting divides us. Nationally, 28 states ban the practice in any form, while 22 allow it(eight with significant restrictions). And recent headlines point to deep divisions within individual states. Last Spring, legislation passed by the mississippi house and senate would have allowed baiting in the Magnolia state for the first time had Gov. Haley Barbour not vetoed the bill. In Michigan, a state long synonymous with baiting, officials shocked the deer hunting community by abruptly banning the practice in the entire Lower Peninsula after a single game farm doe tested positive for chronic wasting disease. In the Upper Peninsula, however, baiting remains legal. What we need is to unify- against baiting. Not because it's unethical (that's a complicated argument and an ugly fight), but because deer hunters, deer hunting, and deer would all benefit. Here's why: 1. We'd see more deer during daylight. It doesn't take a whitetails long to associate bait piles with humans, and when deer know people are around, they wait for dark to feed. Studies from Texas, Michigan, and Mississippi all show that daylight buck visits to bait sites range from rare to virtually nonexistant. Whitetails already restrict their daytime movements. Why make it worse? 2. Deer would generally be more active. Foraging whitetails must travel to find food. Bait reduces the need for this movement, creating not only a nocturnal buck but a lazy one. 3. Deer would be healthier. Researchers have proved a link between baiting and bovine tb in whitetails. The CWD connection is shakier, but find me a biologist who thinks concentrating deer near a pinpoint food source is a good thing. Besides, baited deer in nonagricultural areas can get sick from eating too much grain. The disease is called lactic acidosis, and it can kill a whitetail. 4. We'd be better managers. Baiting can lead to unnaturally high survival and birth rates, particularly in northern deer. It also concentrates whitetails, which eat more than just what we put out for them. That densely packed herd can wipe out native plant species and retard forest regeneration. We've long told the public, "We're the managers who keep whitetail numbers in tune with their habitat". Well, are we? 5. We'd fight less with one another. We're all aware of the battle lines drawn over the ethics of baiting. But, beyond that once a hunter puts out a pile of corn, his neighbors feel obliged to follow suit. Soon, a seemingly benign activity turns ultracompetitive. In 1984, only 29% of Michigan hunters reported using bait. Just nine years later, the figure had risen to 56%, and more than one in five hunters told the DNR that baiting to compete with other hunters was "very important" to them. Wisc. DNR researcher mark Toso estimates that Badger State gun hunters alone place 4.5 million pounds of corn on the ground each day-enough to feed the state's entire herd of 1.8 million deer-during the firearms season. Baiting is especially troubling on public lands, where hunters who place bait often claim ownership for their sites and a considerable territory around them. This practice-known as homesteading-ruins the hunting experience for everyone. 6. We'd improve our public image. Surveys reveal that most of the non-hunting public supports our tradition as long as hunting remains a fair-chase, ethical endeavor. If the ethics of baiting is controversial among hunters, what must the general populace think? And make no mistake; what they think is critical to deer hunting's future. 7. We'd tag jsut as many deer. Baiting proponents argue they'd kill significantly fewer deer without the bait, but only one Texas study supports that. Other research reveals equal or near equal success. Just this past fall, Michigan hunters- despite complaints that the bait ban would slash their harvest-bagged nearly the same number of deer as they did during the previous season. But suppose, just for the sake of argument, that we'd bag slightly fewer deer. So what? I'll take that-along with better hunting, healthier deer, and one less wedge to divide us-any day of the week. The End. There it is. No need to respond to it, just someone else could post an article on why baiting is a good thing and then we can compare them and make our own judgments from there. Just an FYI read.

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Just an FYI. Not for long Dave, wife lost her job so I'll be busier than ever stirring the musky buck pot. Things just really got cloudy for my family. Cloudy like the baiting issue. Time for me to fly.

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Ahhhhh.....the old "use baiting to cause trouble on a slow day" trick......very clever.

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That wasn't the purpose at all, but I have yet to read a good pro-baiting article. I think it has become a problem in our state. I have seen the damage it can cause. The 4.5 million pounds dumped daily in Wisc. during firearms season is what caught my eye, I hope we don't get to that point. I've often wondered what is being dumped already, some are getting pretty sophisticated with it. It is unnecessary unless pockets of the state get so overwhelmed they need sharpshooters etc. Even with bait those deer change their patterns quickly. Right or wrong, fair or not, just for your perusal.

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Just for you Shiner, I'm way against baiting yes. I think our 600,000 deer hunters+vehicles can keep deer numbers in check without baiting them. I'd rather see baiting than buck party hunting. I also understand baiters don't shoot every deer that comes to the pile. Would you support baiting elk since I see you are a chapter chair ? I'm not trying to get at ya or pick on you and it is irrelevant whether you support baiting or not. What would your thoughts be on that ? Also, do you know if that has ever come up with elk hunting ?

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Just an FYI. Not for long Dave, wife lost her job so I'll be busier than ever stirring the musky buck pot. Things just really got cloudy for my family. Cloudy like the baiting issue. Time for me to fly.

That's too bad Musky Buck. I don't ever like to see this happen to anyone.

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I doubt that you will find a lot of pro-baiting arguments here unless you ask if food plots compare to baiting. But I would never bring that up because that might stir the pot. smirk

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Just a thought - every year good ethical hunters will put out bait and wait for an unsuspecting bear to harvest. Food plots do work IF you have the land to plant. I do agree that a good hunter will take the time to find the routes, scraps, and rubs to get a deer. The last two years the DNR has used helicopters to find illegal deer baiters with some success. Don't know what the cost to the taxpayer is as opposed to the fines collected. Ok -- Cast A Way

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Just for you Shiner, I'm way against baiting yes. I think our 600,000 deer hunters+vehicles can keep deer numbers in check without baiting them. I'd rather see baiting than buck party hunting. I also understand baiters don't shoot every deer that comes to the pile. Would you support baiting elk since I see you are a chapter chair ? I'm not trying to get at ya or pick on you and it is irrelevant whether you support baiting or not. What would your thoughts be on that ? Also, do you know if that has ever come up with elk hunting ?

Although I wont bite and get into a debate about baiting deer in March, I do bait deer in MI, and until the MI DNR finds it necessary to ban, I will continue to hunt this way. I have posted on this subject a couple times before and it has turned ugly (which I don't want to happen again). Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and I would never fault anyone for their views. Don't worry about "getting at me or picking on me" as I am a big boy, but I have heard this argument a 1000 times and it always ends up the same.

Baiting elk would never work so (IMO) it is not a valid argument.

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I hear ya shiner, I have no problem with baiting in a state where it's legal, I just don't understand it's purpose I guess when most areas deer #'s are in check in MN and in other areas numbers seem down. We have 2 deer per hunter in MN, meaning 600,000 hunters x 1.2 million deer. I think we can do the job without baiting them in. We have greater needs here I think than baiting. The bear bait thing is you don't have to bait them if you don't want. How else in our mosquito infested woods could you get one otherwise ? In my bear area they don't even sell out the available licenses. Bear numbers seem strong and how else would the DNR try to control their numbers. If hunters couldn't bait them few would probably go. If deer hunters couldn't bait deer, which we can't, we still go. If we can't bait waterfowl, we still go. I just don't want our deer seasons to turn into a baiting fiasco. I don't want to take deer away from other people who have marginal lands to hunt on, with bait those folks wouldn't stand much chance even baiting because I can bait in a swamp way off the road where the deer feel even safer. Why'd the DNR halt baiting in lower Michigan, infected animal ? I do understand the article is 1 guys viewpoint and research on it. Trust this, I have some relatives that wished it was legal, I just tell them you like the shooting part about hunting, not the hunting part about shooting. smile

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My thoughts are different, you'll be happy to know. Now with a wife who was canned, these deer related issues really take a back seat. I'm sorry I have been too narrow minded, like an amish horse, I had my blinders on. All of a sudden like a ton of bricks I better focus on what really is important in life. I appreciate it Big Dave and whatever the season is or becomes I'll just go by the book like always, take care guys and I wish your families well in these economic times.

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I hope your better half can find a job somehow....It is sad to hear about all the people on this site that are being or have been effected by the employment situation. frown

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can't..resist..posting..

The only reason baiting is a good idea in MI (or anywhere else) is so you can compete with the neighbors who are baiting. By logic, it would stand to reason that banning all baiting would level the playing field with far fewer issues than allowing everyone to bait.

I see we are back to the inane argument comparing food plots with baiting. I'll simplify:

baiting = short term benefit to hunter

food plot = long term benefit to all wildlife (including deer) and the hunter.

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I would support baiting in MN 100%. Many others do to, they are just afraid to stand up as those who support it tend to get spanked pretty good in forums like this. In reality, baiting is such a pandemic at this point, we might as well level the playing field and let the CO's focus on other issues (baiting tends to take a lot of their time). However, I would recommend that if you are one that baits, your days are numbered. I spent some time with some CO's over the last few years and they filled me in on their tactics. Chopper or small plane with GPS marking makes you an easy target. Not worth losing all your gear and hunting privilages in my opinion.

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Well, I guess there are pros and cons to baiting. And I'm not about to even get into depth about because everything has already been said before. People consider food plots baiting. Well, I plant the [PoorWordUsage] out of food plots, and they do work. Have i ever shot a deer out of a food plot, no. Do i have 1000's of pics of deer in them, yes. I do believe however that there should be a clear reason stating why bait piles are illegal. I mean, that is about the only way one can harvest a bear in MN, is over a bait pile.

What would a bushel of corn in front of my bow stand hurt anything. Is that really enough to change the feeding pattern of deer? I doubt it. For instance. a month ago i took two bushels of corn out of the grain bin on the farm. dumped them in one random spot in the woods. Hung the trail camera over it and let it be for three weeks. Keep in mind, I was only doing this to simplify my shed scouting efforts. Trying to see if the bucks had lost their head gear before logging on the miles looking for them. 810 pics later, all does and fawns, with a few button bucks that had lost their nubbins. to make my point, every single picture was during daylight. maybe this time of the year it wouldn't have effected their feeding patterns.

Everyone preaches CWD is the result of baiting. Can anyone find a study to prove that? Doe in heat scents are more likely to change a rutting bucks daily routine than a bushel of corn. after all, rutting bucks don't tend to eat at all while ruttin and stompin around.

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I know when I add my 2 cents it just keeps spirraling, but Vister, in front of your stand a corn pile wouldn't be a problem nor in front of mine. We won't hammer away without selectivity. These are a few of my concerns about it Vister, not trying to pick on the guy who took 2nd place without bait by archery and a huge congrats to you on that. How about a section of land with many landowners in it ? What type of competition might arise ? Would people start baiting in August already trying to keep animals on their property ? Will we see camoflauged gravity boxes spilling corn deep in the woods ? I know they'd set a limit, but once legal we'd start hearing all kinds of scenarios. What about public land, I'll be darned if I put out a ton of corn that I won't defend that baited site to the fullest. What about 100+ days of baiting going on, think deer during a cold musket season might be susceptable to bait, especially in non-farming areas ? What about my neighbors that were 20 for 20 archery hunting with 80 standing acres of corn just 50 yards away ? What about deer numbers and after a wicked deer depleting winter, with baiting as law, bait away I guess to the deer that are left picturing northern minnesota. I just don't want MN to say ok, so much illegal baiting is going on why not like 40% of our states, why not just legalize it without taking in all the possible scenarios. The more scenarios I come up with just seem to make it not so good and I never mentioned fair chase, I have yet to see a baited deer show where I felt it was fair chase, looked more like unfair chase or just waiting for the herd to hit the pile to me. I haven't even touched the disease issue if there is one, that is low on my radar compared to the new issues that will rise from baiting. To me baiting is too effective, calls,rattlin horns,scents,salt blocks,deer decoys, and whatever else is way less effective and doesn't pin point your deer. I have yet to see a thread on here about which scent do you use or what kind of salt or while rattlin what sequence do you use or is a doe or buck a better decoy during rifle season or buck,doe,fawn bleat, which call is the bomb. I've tried for 26 years most of those things and have had minimal luck with any of them, many times trying them after I have already had success and once rifle pressured, those things become way less effective, but deer have to eat and there is no doubt if I could bait my swamp I'd be pulling in a lot of deer from others and other properties because they'd have the big 3, water,shelter, and then food.

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MB, if baiting became legal and you suddenly had a swamp devoid of deer, would you than feel forced to also bait?

I get to hunt a property in Farm country. The first few years we saw very few deer. Since adding food plots, we see as many as the neighboring farmers (still not many.) The food plots are kinda fun, but are a lot of work, and they take some money that is hard to come by these days. But I do feel forced to food plot in order to keep up with the farmers. I am O.K. with feeling forced to keep up to the farmers in order to see a few animals. I would not be O.K. with being forced to keep up with someone baiting, even if it was cheaper, easier, and took less time.

IF anyone can show that deer being fed bait are healthier and have LESS chance of spreading disease than deer not being fed bait, I could, maybe be swayed the other way. Till than, please no baiting.

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Did the anti baiting, so I better do some back tracking on pro-baiting. I do rifle hunt 3 areas or 3 separate herds of deer. The pro's would be I could put almost an end to fringe hunters meaning if i could bait, I could end there rifle seasons almost before they begin, plus I'd feel a lot safer than them using my creek bottom as a background for their bullets on 1 of the properties. I'm talking about the guys that have zero deer where they hunt, but wait for them to come out of my land or your land into plowed field, pasture, some even sit in there yard and blast across my field if I'm not around. I could bait all 3 sites, restricting some deer movement toward these open areas, maybe these deer wouldn't jump the fence like they have always done, maybe they'd stay by the river longer, feed there and not have to travel as much and not go into these marginal fields as often. And when they do the rifle fire is intense because any and every deer is shot if given the chance. I thought baiting would be too much as far as harvest goes, but maybe not, if I can hold deer on my properties they wouldn't be getting shot and if I am lucky enough to score on a mature buck, I could keep baiting to try to hold the deer onto my property through the whole deer season and add a doe tag to the wallet. I could bait them at the perfect rifle or muzzy range without spooking them much. I could feed them as far away from the brown down gang as I could. Hey, see I can flip flop between the pro and con, maybe I should freelance a field and stream article on pro-baiting. With any topic, there is the pro's and the con's. I agree with you guys, how can Musky Buck be so Anti baiting when I haven't seen it first hand and we've never tried it MN, that is true.

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I still agree with ya Jameson 100%, we have 22 states that allow it, I'd love to see those hunters surveyed so I could get some concrete been there done that information. The pro-bait I wrote really is do those marginal land hunters want to be wiped out. I hear ya J, no doubt the first few years I wouldn't bait but times change and I could see myself being forced into it at some point, something I'd swear I'd never do would turn into I guess I "have" to now and then those marginal stands would get pretty silent.

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I watched several people try to bait on a small scale...set out corn for a couple of months in a fairly hidden area, then keep on putting it out during the season. zero deer shot over the bait. They only fed the bluejays and red squirrels. I had to laugh about it. If it isn't food they know, or in their travel routes, baiting can be a waste of time and money.

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Maybe some guys are "forced" into baiting because of the foodplot guys? If you are on public land or borrowed land with a food plot in the area, how else do you combat it?

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can't..resist..posting..

I see we are back to the inane argument comparing food plots with baiting. I'll simplify:

baiting = short term benefit to hunter

food plot = long term benefit to all wildlife (including deer) and the hunter.

Not neccessarily.

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Private land...lots of area. He is just trying to be cute.

There isn't any pressure in our area. I am just saying, that limited baiting in the wrong place doesn't work. The neighbors even tried the pumpkin bit. The pumpkin was still there in the spring and had rotted.

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Some of the public lands I have visited have corn food plots. If I was hunting public land that I thought needed a food plot I would ask the appropriate people if I could help install the food plot.

Just the way I might combat it.

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Some of the public lands I have visited have corn food plots. If I was hunting public land that I thought needed a food plot I would ask the appropriate people if I could help install the food plot.

Just the way I might combat it.

I could be wrong here but I don't think you would be allowed to plant a food plot on public land.

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Someone must be allowed to. One voice likely isn't very convincing to a public land manager, but form a group (like Pheasants Forever) and your voice is more likely heard.

I know of three public hunting areas with corn food plots. The only one I'll out on the web is Carlos Avery WMA.

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I know some more, Rum River State Forest, there are at least 3 large cornfields you can easily see from the road, maybe more planted every year near the Mille Lacs WMA south and east of Onamia, all on public land. My last baiting bit I was wondering about..... I live right where I hunt so baiting would be easy. What about the guys that have a few hours drive or more, how are they planning to keep up baiting when they live so far away ? It would be a big sacrifice to keep rotating your hunting party to keep bait up until rifle opener if you live a long ways away and if you don't freshen the piles, others might be drawing deer away from where you hunt and even tagged out hunters could keep baiting to try to prevent more deer from being shot, once season(s) end the piles will dry up quickly. I hope it wouldn't be to late for the deer to find a good wintering area with quality food and browse.

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Taken from a popular outdoors type magazine....just to offer some input. Think what you may about the article.

I think baiting for whitetails has to stop. Now.

Okay, okay, before you peg me as a purist who thinks all baiters are slobs, hear me out. If you watch a spin feeder or camp near a pile of sugar beets, I’m not going to attack your character or question your allegiance to the flag. But I do think that if you gave up the bait, we’d all be better off.

Baiting divides us. Nationally, 28 states ban the practice in any form, while 22 allow it (eight with significant restrictions). And recent headlines point to deep divisions within individual states. Last spring, legislation passed by the Mississippi House and Senate would have allowed baiting in the Magnolia State for the first time had Gov. Haley Barbour not vetoed the bill. In Michigan, a state long synonymous with baiting, officials shocked the deer hunting community by abruptly banning the practice in the entire Lower Peninsula after a single game-farm doe tested positive for chronic wasting disease. In the Upper Peninsula, however, baiting remains legal.

What we need is to unify—against baiting. Not because it’s unethical (that’s a complicated argument and an ugly fight), but because deer hunters, deer hunting, and deer would all benefit. Here’s why:

1 | We’d see more deer during daylight. It doesn’t take whitetails long to associate bait piles with humans, and when deer know people are around, they wait for dark to feed. Studies from Texas, Michigan, and Mississippi all show that daylight buck visits to bait sites range from rare to virtually nonexistent. Whitetails already restrict their daytime movements. Why make it worse?

2 | Deer would generally be more active. Foraging whitetails must travel to find food. Bait reduces the need for this movement, creating not only a nocturnal buck but a lazy one.

3 | Deer would be healthier. Researchers have proved a link between baiting and bovine tuberculosis in whitetails. The CWD connection is shakier, but find me a biologist who thinks concentrating deer near a pinpoint food source is a good thing. Besides, baited deer in nonagricultural areas can get sick from eating too much grain. The disease is called lactic acidosis, and it can kill a whitetail.

4 | We’d be better managers. Baiting can lead to unnaturally high survival and birth rates, particularly in northern deer. It also concentrates whitetails, which eat more than just what we put out for them. That densely packed herd can wipe out native plant species and retard forest regeneration. We’ve long told the public, “We’re the managers who keep whitetail numbers in tune with their habitat.” Well, are we?

5 | We’d fight less with one another. We’re all aware of the battle lines drawn over the ethics of baiting. But beyond that, once a hunter puts out a pile of corn, his neighbors feel obliged to follow suit. Soon, a seemingly benign activity turns ultracompetitive. In 1984, only 29 percent of Michigan hunters reported using bait. Just nine years later, the figure had risen to 56 percent, and more than one in five hunters told the Department of Natural Resources that baiting to compete with other hunters was “very important” to them. Wisconsin DNR researcher Mark Toso estimates that Badger State gun hunters alone place 4.5 million pounds of corn on the ground each day—enough to feed the state’s entire herd of 1.8 million deer—during the firearms season.

Baiting is especially troubling on public lands, where hunters who place bait often claim ownership for their sites and a considerable territory around them. This practice—known as “homesteading”—ruins the hunting experience for everyone.

6 | We’d improve our public image. Surveys reveal that most of the nonhunting public supports our tradition as long as hunting remains a fair-chase, ethical endeavor. If the ethics of baiting is controversial among hunters, what must the general populace think? And make no mistake; what they think is critical to deer hunting’s future.

7 | We’d tag just as many deer. Baiting proponents argue they’d kill significantly fewer deer without the bait, but only one Texas study supports that. Other research reveals equal or near equal success. Just this past fall, Michigan hunters—despite complaints that the bait ban would slash their harvest—bagged nearly the same number of deer as they did during the previous season.

But suppose, just for the sake of argument, that we’d bag slightly fewer deer. So what? I’ll take that—along with better hunting, healthier deer, and one less wedge to divide us—any day of the week. --Scott Bestul

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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