Baiting Deer: A Game Changer

deer in food plotBaiting of wildlife by the public is usually done for the express purpose of luring or attracting wildlife for hunting. Baiting is the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of salt, grain, or other feed that could lure or attract target wildlife. Baiting deer and other animals has become a common practice across the country, even in areas that have outlawed it. But why is it outlawed, and how does it change the hunt so much? 

Feeders, Food Plots, and Corn

In this billion dolor industry that we call hunting you don't need to look to far before someone is trying to sell you a salt block or new corn feeder to help improve your odds. With billions of products on that market promising exceptional results which one should you chose, or should you chose any at all? Local and State hunting regulations in most of the country have already chose for you. Wether bating  is accepted or not in your area lets look at the facts and why you might not want to participate with those that do. 

Bating Affects

Bating for Deer can create some un-wanted and un-known affects to your local ecosystem. Scientists have prove that baiting deer concentrates wildlife in abnormal densities. These increased densities cause increased direct and incorrect contact among the wildlife. This increase of contact has been linked to the spread of diseases, that are able to cause widespread sicknesses among the animal populations. Increased concentrations of wildlife not only affect other animals but have a devastating affect to the wildlife habitat and ecosystem. One behavior change frequently observed with deer baiting is increased nocturnal activity. A study of captive deer in Michigan documented that a majority of feeding at supplemental food sources occurred at night, and daytime feeding was almost nonexistent! It should also be noted that deer, especially mature bucks, learn quickly to avoid baited sites during daylight hours. Incidentally most of the bucks (77%) harvested from baited stands were yearlings in 1993. A Mississippi study noted that 90% of bait station use by bucks was during non-legal shooting hours and over 84% of total use occurred during darkness. So time to look at your trail cam Pics.  

Spread of Diseasedeer_at_feeder-at-night

Baiting alone can net be blamed on the wide spreading of diseases such as Chronic Waste Disease (CWD), and Tuberculosis (TB) but it has been related to bot target and non-target disease spread. Some of the diseases spread from bating are blackhead (histomoniasis) and (avian pox) in wild turkey, bobwhite quail and other birds, bovine tuberculosis (BT) and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wild and enclosed ungulates such as deer and elk, pseudorabies and swine brucellosis in feral hogs, and rabies and distemper in raccoons, fox, and coyotes. There are numerous other diseases and parasites that can be readily transmitted at baiting or feeding sites through direct or indirect contact between animals and the bait or feed. The economic costs associated with wildlife disease outbreaks and control can be quite severe. The costs to control disease outbreaks is communicative every year with the increased cost of research and eradication of diseased animals. 

The Ethical Hunter

Although the discussion of deer baiting has been studied numerous times by scientists, the ethical dilemma of the hunter has yet to be explored. I was surprised to find out that very few hunters knew the full ramifications of baiting. With record deer populations some hunters and regulators are reluctant to change baiting laws for fear it will adversely impact the deer harvest.

On average deer will eat about 5-7 lbs of food a day. However the amount of bait a deer will eat is less as deer will always consume other natural foods if available. Dr. James Kroll a supporter of baiting recommends providing about 2 lbs of food per day per deer. if you take that on average 20% of hunters in Wisconsin in 2000 baited deer (138,800), and each of this hunters put out 5 gallons of corn on the ground that adds up to 4.58 million lbs of corn each day. if you devoid that by 3 lbs for each deer a day that would feed 1.52 million deer, almost all of the 1.8 million deer reported in the herd in 2000. 

Increasing your odds? buck at night feeding

Although  you may think that bating increases you odds, studies have shown that out of all hunters those that do not use bait get the most deer quicker. In a 1999 Michigan department of resources study they found that deer hunters revealed that 44% were successful using bait while 52% were successful without bait. 

I cant tell you to use bait or not, but before you do you should research all the affects in your area! 

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Posted in: Gregory Beckman, Scrolls
gregory Beckman

About the Author:

Hi, I am Gregory Beckman, as the main owner of Military Hunting and Fishing let me tell you a little bit more about myself. I am currently an active duty member in the United States Coast Guard. I have been an active duty member for seven years and counting, traveling the world, and defending my country! My experiences have shaped the way that I see the world and my memories will stick with me for a lifetime. Although I may not live in the country, the country lives in me. Traveling the world I have had the chance to experience the wonders of nature in many different places, meeting many different people and tasting wild game that the normal person would not get to experience. Although these experiences have kept me away from home, it has instilled a deep passion of hunting and fishing in my blood. Thank you for joining our site, and I look forward to interacting and sharing stories of our hunting adventures. Gregory A. Beckman
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