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WI bans baiting for deer

  1. A total statewide (WI) ban on using bait for deer hunting was announced today. Also banned is residential feeding of deer. The reason is the outbreak of chronic wasting disease (CWD) discovered in deer harvested by hunters last fall in SW Wisconsin. This is the first time it's been discovered east of the Miss. River. There's been somewhat of a panic amongst wildlife management personnel (maybe justly so). Feeding and baiting of deer concentrates deer together at feed sights, sometimes nose to nose, and this may facilitate the spead of the disease.

    I feed deer regularly by my home. I've had as many as 15-20 at one time, less than 20 yards from my living room window. Sometimes I'd forget to put out some corn, and they'd just stare up at the window, waiting for me. I'd go out and feed them, talking softly to them, and the "regulars" got to recognize my voice, and would not run off... I'd get as close as 10 yds sometimes. I will miss this, but I understand why the ban... and I agree with it.

    What I won't miss is the practice of baiting for hunting. Too many hunters have forgotten how to hunt, and merely dump a pile of corn in the woods and wait nearby. It's gotten so bad in the last few years, that if you didn't bait like everybody else (on public land) you'd see very few deer, as they'd all head directly for the bait piles. I succumbed to the temptation of baiting, because I hunt on public land and the "competition" had corn piles all over the woods... but I limited it to small amounts, and only during bow season.

    While I'm glad it's gone, I fear it's a two edge sword. Our deer population is out of control, and the practice of baiting was a huge help in reducing the numbers of deer, by hunters. So many guys have relied so heavily on it however, that they forgot how to really go out and hunt for deer. Because of this, I see the deer harvest next fall taking a huge nosedive. With so many deer on the landscape, making more deer to deer contact because of these huge numbers that will now concentrate at natural feed locations instead of the millionms of corn piles in the woods for a few weeks, will this ban be a help in controlling CWD, or help it spread? Even though I don't like the practice of hunters baiting, I think banning it will do more harm than good, because most of the baiters are gun hunters, and our gun season is only 9 days. Banning residential feeding which goes on year-round, however, I think is a very necessary step. Hunters are limited to 10 gallons of bait, but residential feeders have no limit, and I've seen corn or potato piles bigger than my truck, and literally hundreds of deer together at some locations. In these situations, one infected deer could pass on the disease to hundreds of others, that it would never contact so closely otherwise.

    Just my own opinions, what do you guys think? Any other WI hunters got any opinions?
  2. Baiting is a very useful method of hunting. Especially in areas of dense foliage.

    It seems that a lot of folks look down on it, I've never figured out why. It reminds me of the debate on shooting does.

    I've killed lots of deer for meat at corn feeders. I have never killed a really good buck at one though. Most of the good bucks I've killed have been chasing does during the rut.

    One of the things I've always found contradictory is the guys who look on deer baiting with disdain, but will happily hunt a field planted in wheat or oats. What is the difference?
  3. What I don't like about hunting over a bait pile is there's absolutley no skill involved... other than being able to shoot straight. I'll agree, it's a good way to thin a herd or get some meat... but maybe I've been at it too long (38 years) to be in the same woods with guys who only know how to dump some corn and sit in a lawn chair with a rifle on their lap. I've hunted over bait... but couldn't help but feel guilty about doing it. To me, it's just shooting, not hunting. I do most of my hunting from treestands nowadays, because I hunt with a handgun or a bow, and it's the best way to get close up shots, other than a bait pile. I try to find areas where the older, local guys hunt... because they don't set out piles of corn, but really hunt for their deer. But that's getting harder and harder to do... and further and further into the woods. I'm 52, and dragging a 200lb buck several miles back to my truck isn't getting any easier. When I was younger, my favorite method was tracking. I'd find some fresh tracks (usually with snow on the ground, but not always) and follow them until I caught up with that deer. Sometimes it would only take hours, sometimes days... and
    I'd sometimes be miles away from my starting point when I finally got him. Not much chance of doing that now, because usually before I can catch up with it, it heads for a bait pile and a "shooter" in a lawn chair.

    There's so much bait in the woods here, the deer no longer forage naturally. They don't have to. Daytime deer movement is now at a minimum (except during the rut, or if somebody who hunts the "old fashioned" way, like I used to, kicks them from their beds and into the range of a bait pile shooter). The deer have figured out that the best time to visit the bait piles is after dark. They no longer have to spend several hours-long periods each day foraging for natural food, thus deer movement (except for the very young and stupid deer), doesn't occur during hunting hours. With all the corn in the woods, they can eat their fill in about 10 minutes and then go bed down in nearby dense cover... where the lazy bait pile "shooter" doesn't bother go to look for them.

    WI requires every deer to be registered, and I've been at the local registration station when some deer that weren't any bigger than my Labrador Retriever where brought in. I've overheard the "hunter" who harvested this "monster buck" say "It came into the corn just before dark" etc., and they're proud to have shot a 5 month old fawn. But hey... it keeps the population in check... so why not...

    Hunting by a bait pile isn't ethically much differant than hunting by a corn field... except that the cornfield isn't there just to attract the deer for an easy shot. Artificial "corn fields" have no place in densely wooded areas, where more traditional methods of hunting have been the norm. If those baiters want an easy hunt, then they should go to an agricultural area of corn fields, etc, and not bring their easy-kill method into an area where the more seasoned hunters appreciate the skills involved in really hunting for the deer. Before baiting was used in this area, a hunter who killed a deer, any deer.... even a doe, had accomplished something that took some skill and woodmanship. Now there's little pride in your hunting skills... in fact you're considered a schmuck if you don't shoot several in just a few days. It takes the skill... and the fun... out of the sport, IMHO.

    Here's an example of another all too often situation that has happened to me several times... and to my hunting partner (Deadeye, who also is a GT member). We start our scouting in August or early September... months before the gun season, because we also bow hunt. The area we hunt is national forest, only 5 miles from where we live. We know this area like the proverbial back of our hands. Natural deer movement varies from year to year, depending on the acorn crop, etc. We scout the area and locate the heaviest used, natural deer trails this season, and set up our stands accordingly. This takes time and skill. Then... a few days before the gun season starts, the flatlanders arrive with their truckloads of corn, and start dumping in piles that exceed the legal 10 gallon limit (which the deer will eat down to the legal limt by opening morning). This attracts every deer in the area in no time... and all our scouting, planning, and hard work is destroyed overnight, by a guy with a bag load of corn, a lawn chair, and a rifle... who couldn't find a deer otherwise, if it came up and bit him in the arse.
  4. Hey, I'm not argueing with you. I highly respect the guy who can track and still hunt with success. I have a Texas Mule deer hunt scheduled for early December this year out near Sanderson, TX. There will be no baiting, just spot and stalk hunting. I look forward to it eagerly.

    I just think that with the massive overpopulation in some areas, it is not the wisest thing to stop an effective way of controlling the population. Just my opinion.

    In Texas, most hunting is done on private land. You sign a lease with the land owner and get to hunt for the season. Texas has a huge population of Whitetails. In some areas, too many. I hunt near Brownwood and the lease my family has is overrun with deer. A subdivision that is to our West feeds them year round, and the deer are too numerous for the land. To give an example: I have set at one of our feeders and counted no less than 50 deer in an evening. Most are what we call mini-deer, one to three year old does that weigh less than 80# soaking wet. Then there will be the micro-deer, which are usually yearlings that are under 60#. This is what we take our meat out of. I shot one nice buck last year, an 11 point that was chasing a doe. The other four deer were all in the mini or micro class. I don't feel guilty about it. It helps the herd numbers and allows the older, smarter deer to continue to reproduce.

    In the five years that my father and uncle and I have hunted this lease, we have not put a dent in the population. Too bad, because if a real bad year hits, there will be a massive die off.
  5. I didn't think you were arguing with me. I just gave my reasons why I don't like baiting, after you gave yours why you think it's OK. If you read my original post, you'll see that even though I don't like the baiting, I too think it has it's place and is a valuble tool in controlling the deer herd, so we agree on this basic point (although I didn't mention our antlerless only seasons in my original post, when I think baiting is most usefull. We've got so many deer here, that the DNR has instituted two extra seasons in the areas where the population is way over the land's carrying capacity. These are 4 day seasons, antlerless ONLY, one in October, one in December. The regular gun season is in November. I would encourage the use of baiting during these "extra" seasons. Their purpose is to thin the herd. Two seasons ago, I hunted over bait during the Oct. doe season, and I shot three nice does in four days with a .45 Colt Blackhawk, and passed up shots at lots of those "micro" deer. I wouldn't even care if they allowed hunting from airplanes or helicopters if that's what it takes to cut the population. But during the regular buck hunting season, it does more harm than good. All the serious trophy buck hunters hate the practice, and these are the guys that keep the deer hunting traditions alive. It's easy to take those young, stupid deer, but it makes getting a real wallhanger that much harder. Because this is the season I most look forward too, I'm glad it's not allowed this year during the 9 day buck season ... although I think it will hurt the harvest (and the deer herd overall) by banning it during the doe-only seasons. And I think archers, who depend on getting close to the deer, should be allowed to bait if they wish.

    BTW, below is a pic of an 8pt that I tracked/chased for two days before bushwhacking him at 25 yards in his bedding area in a cedar swamp, back in '93, before baiting got so widespread during our buck season. I chased him for 3 weeks during bow season, seeing him several times, but couldn't get close enough for a sure shot. I didn't have a digital camera back then, so the only pic I can post is him hanging on my wall. Sorry about the pic, it's not too good, as the deer is hanging above a stairway, and I can only shoot an upward photo without using a ladder. It doesn't show the tine length too well. He's 135 1/8 B & C, and was 223lbs field dressed. I've gotten heavier deer, but none with such a nice thick rack. I had about 100 hours invested in bagging this guy! Best time of my life. :)
  6. 223 lbs. field dressed!!!;P ;P ;P

    Jeez, that is a huge deer. Nice, heavy rack too. This is the buck I shot last year. He was 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 years old by his teeth.

    But he wasn't anywhere near 223 lbs. More like 125 lbs. field dressed. I guess not everything is bigger in Texas.
  7. A law against baiting won't stop my WI friends from shooting big bucks. They wait until after season closes and bait in their back yards. Then shoot the big boys under their yard lights - right out the patio doors. I don't know what they see in it, but they all do it.

    I never shot a buck over 220 dressed. I shot 3 over 200. Won a buck board or two. But, some guys east of my home town usually beat us with bucks in the 230-250 range. They lived in some big farm county. Huge fields with 100 acre woodlots. Used to feed them all summer and fall then drive them to the slaughter every November. Those boys shot some big bucks.

    When I was a kid we used to hunt near my home town. One old farmer and former dance hall owner told us a story about a big buck he shot that went 386 field dressed. I thought he was full of it - but I was in college at the time and looked it up in the old Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin - sure enough Clint Norine 386 - 1938 if I remember correctly. The record at that time was 408 from NY - probably still stands. Clint swore he shot a doe that weighed over 200 - I believed him after verifying the first story.
  8. That sucks! As I see it, that buck made it through the hunting season, and in all likelyhood will be even bigger next year. I hunt legitimately, as do all my hunting buddies... and people who do this ****, are stealing that potential wallhanger from us! So I have absolutely no sympathy when those bastards get busted... I'll even help do it.

    The WI DNR wardens are cracking down heavily on this practice. They are using wardens in airplanes, who spot the yard lights with feeder used by "cabin shooters" from the air, and they co-ordinate by radio with wardens on the ground. (I listen to them on my scanner almost every night from Nov. 'til Jan.) Last Dec., I went with the warden "taskforce" (4-5 guys) on serving several search warrants. They do not like using the "kick the door in" method. Bad publicity, especially if there's no poached deer found. I'm a locksmith... so I get them in damage free... (and call me a "narc", or a "snitch', or whatever... I don't care... I'm happy to bust poachers who target trophy bucks...vs the impoverished guy who just "poaches" to get some meat to feed his family. Even the DNR "looks the other way" in these cases.) On one "raid", we found a huge 12 pointer, must have been 250lbs +, with a great rack. It was shot in the head and neck. The "Einstein" who shot it, gutted it in his mother's back yard (which was right on the main highway, in the middle of a very small town), right next to the feeder, and then dragged it into the garage through the snow, leaving a nice trail of blood and drag marks in 6" of new snow... plenty of evidence. It was two weeks after the gun seasons were over, and it snowed that very morning... all the tracks were fresh... and his mother's neighbor was the one who tipped the wardens. They found a .223 Mini-14 and two spent shell casings, right inside the back bedroom window... 15 yards from the floodlighted feeder. "Einstein" didn't lock the house, but he DID lock the garage where he hung the deer. The shooter was a convicted felon, too, who just got out of prison. Ouch! He was down the road at the local bar, showing off some polaroids of his "trophy", when they went and "busted" him (pictures and all). He went "bye-bye" for awhile.;f

    I never shot a buck over 220 dressed. I shot 3 over 200. Won a buck board or two. But, some guys east of my home town usually beat us with bucks in the 230-250 range. They lived in some big farm county. Huge fields with 100 acre woodlots. Used to feed them all summer and fall then drive them to the slaughter every November. Those boys shot some big bucks.

    When I was a kid we used to hunt near my home town. One old farmer and former dance hall owner told us a story about a big buck he shot that went 386 field dressed. I thought he was full of it - but I was in college at the time and looked it up in the old Wisconsin Conservation Bulletin - sure enough Clint Norine 386 - 1938 if I remember correctly. The record at that time was 408 from NY - probably still stands. Clint swore he shot a doe that weighed over 200 - I believed him after verifying the first story.

    Biggest I've ever seen, was close to 300lbs. It was shot in Iron County, WI, near the U.P. border, near Hurley, WI. The biggest I've ever got was from the same general area, and weighed 236lbs. Both were back in the '70s. Mine was also an 8pt, but the rack was small, the deer was on the down-side of life, and was probably 8 or 9 years old. He was tough as an old boot, too. Made dog food out of most of the meat. My dogs' teeth were much stronger than mine. :) I got a doe last season that went 150-some lbs. Only three years old, according to the teeth wear... and very tasty. 30 minutes after I shot her, an even bigger doe showed up, but I only had one tag left, and there was 9 days left in the season so I was saving it for a buck (which I did not get).
  9. Paynter2, you seem like a decent guy, why on earth would you consider lowlife poachers to be your friends? These are the guys that ruin the sport for all of us and I for one take it very seriously.
    rfb, I'm in WI too, and I share your sentiments about the responce to CWD. I'm alot like you, I baited, albeit reluctantly. I'm happy to see the law changed, and I hope it stays this way. I've done alot of soul searching, and I've decided that I prefer my piece of mind to venison. I'll still hunt as much as I can, but I'll never bait again.
    I hope others follow the law, I'm sure the Wardens will have their hands full this November.
  10. Micah: I maybe shouldn't have refered to these guys as 'friends' but aquaintences. The point I was trying to make was that this is considered to be acceptable behavior by these guys - not that this is cool.

    If you can tell me how to post a picture, I believe I have one of a deer stand they built on public property. You won't believe it.
  11. You can either post it as an atatchment or as a pic hosted by some other web page that will host your pic. The Glocktalk faq should have all the answers you're looking for.
    You've got me curious, I really wanna see this stand now!
  12. Micah: I'm going to try to post this picture. I tried to post one the other night. When I previewed the post, the attachment never 'took', so I didn't post. So, if the picture (attachment) isn't here, you'll know what happened.
  13. Good! It took. There's a LP stove and heater in it. A bunk, radio, even a urinal. The hooked a funnel onto a piece of black PVC tubing and ran it down under ground to avoid scent. They have a salt block and a corn pile off to one side.

    I ran across it while grouse hunting a couple of years ago.
  14. Sheesh! Looks alot nicer than some appartments I rented in my youth. This thing was on public land? I sincerely hope whoever built it was fined and lost any property he had stored within.
  15. If you want to attract to your corn pile instead of all the others, pour some molasses on the corn. It also attracts hogs.
    Here in La. it is unlawful to bait on wildlife management areas--only on private land. If they found a stand like that, it would be promptly torn down and a citation issued. They would probably wait till the hunter showed up to get in it while filming with videotape before busting them. They do the same thing for illegal duck hunters or dove hunters. They videotape them and then wait for them to load their boat on the trailer and then seize the boat/trailer/vehicle/firearms. Then they issue them a citation and they get to go before a federal judge.
    They also bait road hunters with fake mechanical deer and bust them when they stop to take a potshot at the deer.
    Deer that survive the hunting season around here learn to move mostly nocturnally and don't hang around roads. Their ancestors were hauled off in the back of a pickup truck.
    Deer hunting where I used to live in West Virginia is easy pickings compared to here. Deer stand around by the roads and all the foilage drops off the trees in the winter with the background lit up like a neon sign so its easy to see them from long distances.
    Here in La. the foilage never all drops off the trees and the deer will go hide in the most hellhole thicket imagineable or they go back into waist deep swamps once all the hunting pressure starts. You will have to hunt them hard to bag one. Baiting with corn will only produce some meatpot does as the bucks will only come out at night to feed there.
    Hope they bust all those poachers and good hunting.
  16. Saw the news of TV.

    Seems like WI has a huge deer overpopulation problem as well.
  17. paynter2,
    That stand is on PUBLIC LAND???? Are you sure??? I've seen many stands like that around here, some even bigger. One local guy (who owns a construction company) has been building them for customers for years. But they're all on private land. And I know of a very rich guy who owns a couple 1,000 acres, and has about a dozen like that... but they're not quite that tall, they have ramps instead of ladders, and he lets handicapped hunters use them all during the rifle season. He even provides "guides" (actually just a volunteer hunter who does the tracking, tagging, gutting, and dragging) and specially modified golf carts to get them out in the woods and back.

    If I had enough land, I'd build one just like it. :) Naw... on second thought I wouldn't. Those are OK for the handicapped... or for sissys.

    If I were to put molasses on a corn pile, I'd be over-run with bears. One afternoon while bowhunting, I poured some stale apple juice on a corn pile... and within an hour a sow bear and two cubs showed up. I was stuck up in my tree stand for a couple of hours after dark. Not again, thank you.
    BTW, my daughter is home from college for the summer (Univ of New Orleans is where she spent the last semester, but she's returning to the U. of Minn. in the fall) and she has brought her boyfriend with for the summer. He's from Morgan City LA, and he's a lifelong hunter... and he is awestruck at not only the size of the deer here "up north", but also the abundance. He's "seen more deer in the past month, than the whole rest of his life combined... and they're HUGE!"... as he put it.

    We are somewhat over-run with them. The area I live in has about 50-60 deer per square mile right now... including the new born fawns. The DNR claims the terrain (heavily wooded, no agriculture) can only support 20-25 per square mile in this type of habitat. But they have thrived, due soley to recreational feeding, now banned. Last Friday night, just before dark, I saw four deer walk through the parking lot at the supermarket... right in the heart of town! They can't figure out where all the corn piles have gone... feeding has only been banned a little over a week, and already they're confused and hungry.