With the gun deer season knocking on the door
(Nov. 15-30) the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has warned potential
gun hunters (bow hunters, too) that “Baiting deer is still illegal.”
Thus, we give you, the potential hunters of many
critters, the DNR NEWS verbatim. It goes as follows:
With deer firearm hunting season just around the
corner (Nov. 15-30), the DNR Division of Law Enforcement's conservation
officers remind hunters that they will be watching for violators of the
fair chase law, specifically as it applies to baiting.
Despite heavy commercial promotion on some hunting
television shows, extensive sales of such products at some sporting goods
stores, and evidence of the use of some of these products on some DNR properties,
baiting for the purposes of hunting deer remains illegal. "Bait" is best
described as anything a deer (or other wildlife) might ingest or lick.
"It has been a long standing practice for our
officers to enforce the hunting over bait rule," said Lt. Mark Farmer,
public information officer for DNR Law Enforcement. "Gaining an advantage
over your quarry by the use of a food or mineral product is illegal."
It is legal to place food products or mineral
blocks in the wild, but hunting near them is illegal.
"If a person had put out a feeder or other bait
during the summer months to attract wildlife to his property, it must be
totally removed 10 days prior to the opening of the hunting season before
a hunter could legally hunt in that area," Farmer said.
Odor differs from bait. Deer lures in the form
of scents are legal to use when hunting.
"Basically, if you place corn, apples, salt or
mineral blocks or anything that isn't grown in the area and hunt there,
it's illegal," Farmer said. "Hunting from an apple tree is legal, but placing
apples under your tree stand would place you in conflict with current Indiana
Violators apprehended while hunting over bait
will face a Class C Misdemeanor charge, and upon conviction could face
criminal penalties of up to $500 fine, 60 days incarceration and possible
loss of hunting equipment upon conviction.
Basically, the DNR handout is good information. Every hunter should read
and heed. But it doesn’t go quite far enough to please me.
Several years ago I became aware that “baiting”
wild animals for the purpose of luring them to a place where a hunter would,
in some manner, harvest them. So I checked with the Midwest regional office
of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service at St. Paul, Minnesota.
Here, basically, is what they told me, and what
I used in a column:
If the so-called “bait” is placed somewhere (anywhere)
by a normal operation of a farm, this is not deemed bait. It is legally
For example, let’s just say that several of the
Colts football team are handed their release, a road map, and a sack of
apples and bid adieu (as they probably should). In their hasty exodus they
chance to pass my deer stand and lose several golden delicious apples (my
favorite), but by the time I get there, Bambi (with horns . . . actually
antlers) has discovered the smorgasbord and is leading a troupe of his
friends to the fruit under my deer stand.
Not knowing the apples are there in the falling
leaves, I buckle my full body safety harness and climb into my ladder stand
without accident. But as Bambi and friends approach, I suddenly discover
THE QUESTION: Can I legally shoot?
THE ANSWER: Of course, I can. The apples
were put there by accident, just like grain spills and hundreds of other
accidents. Maybe this thinking needs to be revised.
On the other hand, if those former Colts, realizing
that I have “this thing” for golden delicious, throw out some goodies for
me as a parting gesture, and to help me scragg a wall hanger, this is a
Without regard to the species you are hunting,
baiting is baiting.
Yep! I would have to say baiting regulations need
to be rethought.