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Update on Mississippi’s Deer Baiting Battle…

April 12th, 2008

Ok, most of us are a bit lethargic when it comes to blogging on the weekends, but I just found an update on a post I wrote a few days ago, and thought I would update you all on it (if you haven’t already seen it.)

Governor Barbour of Mississippi has remained true to his word, and vetoed a bill that would make it legal to hunt deer over bait in the state. In a statement that accompanied the news of his veto, the governor had this to say:

“I consider hunting deer over bait to be an issue of both science and ethics,” Barbour wrote in his veto message. “My personal view is that hunting deer with the aid of bait is not consistent with the sportsman’s hunting tradition of fair chase.”

Barbour stated that he believes that decisions concerning the practice of “supplemental feeding” should be left to scientists, rather than to the politicians. It seems that this decision was made to allow the DNR (which was given the right to make this decision just a year ago) to make the decision on policy concerning baiting, or supplemental feeding. A decision has not been made by lawmakers in Mississippi as to whether they will try to override the veto.

The Mississippi State Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (equivalent of the DNR) recently released their recommendations on supplemental feeding. Many of the lawmakers have complained that it took too long to reach them. However, it seems to me that a year of planning, gathering information, statistics, and public opinion on the subject is not too long!

The recommendations from the commission is that supplemental feeding (essentially baiting) should be legal, but with the following restrictions:

  • Feed may only be provided from above ground covered feeders or stationary spin cast feeders.
  • Feeders may be placed no closer than 100 yards from any property boundary.
  • Feed may not be poured, piled or placed directly on the ground.
  • Salt or mineral stations, blocks or licks may be established.

These seem to be reasonable suggestions to me. It would lead to more hunters establishing feeding areas for the deer, rather than just throwing out a basket of apples or corn right before they are hunting. This would provide a more normal location for deer to have feed, and would not be much different than planing a small field of turnips for the purpose of drawing in the wildlife.

If you live in Mississippi and would like to voice your opinion on the subject, you can visit the MDWFP home site. They are collecting public comment on the subject until May 6, when they have their next meeting.

For more information, you can visit this Sun Herald article!

6 Responses to “Update on Mississippi’s Deer Baiting Battle…”

  1. This is a tough call. I can’t really make up my mind on if I think it is a good idea or not. There have been some concerns about Cronic Wasting Disease being spread through feeders. But if they require the feeders that spread the food and not the trough kind, would it still increase the odds of spreading the disease? Not as likely, I wouldn’t think. We have three feeders on our property, but we don’t hunt within three hundred yards of them. I just don’t know if I like feeders.

  2. Adam, if I understand CWD, it is the food itself that is the problem. The disease is spread when feed that has used remnants of animals (primarily the brains of infected animals) as a filler. There is no chance of spreading CWD through feeders if you are just using corn, or sweet feed, or something like that. Pelleted feed can be a problem, if animal byproducts are used in the process.

  3. These seem like reasonable suggestions to me. However I still feel that the best way to help “feed” the deer is to plant food plots in your deer woods. The salt/mineral blocks are neat to visit after the deer have started using them – that is something we have done in the past.

  4. I honestly don’t have a problem with baiting even though it is not a practice I choose to use. For God sakes all of us put a worm on a hook to catch a fish. I just don’t see the harm of baiting deer for hunting. It surely doesn’t guarantee a kill.

  5. We bait, so I obviously don’t have a problem with it. However CWD is spread not only through contaminated feeds, but by deer accidentally eating the feces of other infected deer. This is more likely to happen around a feed site since there is consistent traffic in a confined area.
    I personally hate feeders and always pour our corn up and down the road. This not only spreads the deer out more, eliminating them eating other deer’s waste but makes older deer more comfortable using the site. Old bucks do NOT want to feed with a bunch of does (except for during the rut) and even if they did, the older does would just run them off.
    Spreading it out over 100 yards or so also lets deer feed like deer… walk and eat, walk and eat. It is not natural for them to stand in one place (under a feeder) for long periods of time. And I don’t care if you have spin feeders instead of troughs, it is still in a pretty concentrated area. And unless you either have a low deer population or have your feeder spinning for a long period of time, it probably isn’t going to put out enough to do anything but feed the does.
    I have been meaning to do a post on deer feeding,and I can see now that I am going to have to get to it…
    Thanks for keeping us up to date on this issue.

  6. Thanks for the further info Jeff. I had forgotten about CWD spreading through the accidental eating of feces. It seems like it would be logical to insist on trough style feeders if that were the concern, since that would put the food up off the ground. I look forward to your post on feeding deer so we can get your take on how best to do it!

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