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Deer Hunting baiting - Should I do This?

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Deer Hunting Baiting Pros and Cons

Hunting over bait is a controversial issue, to say the least. Perhaps I will start by saying that your best bet is to rely more on natural permanent food sources on your own land (if you have it) such as limited logging to create new growth and cover, planting some apple trees, and planting food plots to establish prime feed that deer will prefer even over your neighbor hunter's corn pile. But, for some, this is not an option. Here are the pro's and con's of deer baiting, along with a method of hunting over bait with minimum negative effects:

Pro's of Deer Baiting

  • Allows good humane shot placement during archery season.
  • Allows one to see deer in areas like small parcels of public or private land that might not otherwise provide such an opportunity.
  • Helps manage deer herds by allowing a greater number of hunters to harvest does.
  • Is just another way to attract deer, much like food plots, apple trees, or scent attractants.

Con's of Deer Baiting

  • Large bait piles visited by groups of deer can help spread disease like Chronic Wasting Disease. And this could end hunting for everybody!
  • Baiting can disrupt a neighbor's hunt, particularly during the rut.
  • When baiting is allowed, some (others) may disregard regulations on amounts and use very large amounts of bait.
  • Is not needed for obtaining a good shot in most gun hunting situations.
  • Can easily result in hunter to deer confrontations that may result in deer adapting a nocturnal pattern that in turn results in a lower harvest for everyone.

How to Hunt Over Bait With Minimal Negative Impact & Better Success

  • Bait in an area that already has at least a few deer in the general area. Pick a location that does not require you to walk into cover where deer are bedded down during the day.
  • On Day 1, drop your bait at about 1PM. Two gallons of corn mixed with apples is a good combo (If allowed by law) . Leave a scent attractant as well, hanging from a branch overhead or smash up some apples to leave some scent.. Also, at this time, you should find a place to put your stand that offers a good shooting lane at the desired distance from the bait. Ideally, you will want to put your bait behind a tree so the deer does not see you in your stand. For a ground blind, clear out a shooting lane by bending back or trimming brush or small trees. Note that in most state or national forests you are not allowed to cut trees or brush so you will need to temporarily bend them back and pin them down with logs or other branches. Place brush behind your bait to insure that the deer approaches from the side, giving you a good broadside shot - otherwise they will often approach from straight back. See illustration below.
    bait
  • On Day 2, do not visit the area! Deer are often still lingering around, even during mid-day.
  • On Day 3, leave about 1 gallon of bait, at about 2PM.
  • On Day 4, assuming deer ate up your bait from the previous day, hunt over your bait in an evening hunt. Either harvest your deer or move on to another area, taking unused bait with you. At any rate, move on. Any further baiting will likely lead to confrontations with deer. You can revisit this stand in 3-4 weeks and try again. Note that you will want to check advance weather conditions to insure proper wind direction before even starting this baiting process. If wind prevents you from hunting on this day, you may bait instead for a day or two and then hunt, but keep in mind that once you are detected by the deer, your chances of successful harvest decrease to near nothing.
  • Limit your baiting to pre-rut archery. You will have the best success since other hunters will not be competing with their own bait, and also you will not be messing up someone else's rut or gun hunting.
  • Follow all regulations in your state. Fines for illegal methods can run over $1000!

Using the method above minimizes danger of disease spread, reduces the chance of hunter-deer confrontations, and minimizes any aggravation you may cause to neighboring hunters.

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