Photo: Charles Alsheimer I think baiting for whitetails has to stop. Okay, okay, before you peg me as a … Continued. By Scott Bestul March 12, I think baiting for whitetails has to stop. Okay, okay, before you peg me as a purist who thinks all baiters are slobs, hear me out.
When Jake Bowman came to the University of Delaware 17 years ago after getting his doctorate from Mississippi State University, he encountered a problem with regards to deer research that he had never experienced before. Not only did some of the people he talked to have no idea about the number of deer in the area, some of them even thought that the animals were endangered. Bowman and his students have done a variety of work on deer over the years from assessing crop damage, the success and failures of controlled hunts, birthing rates and looking at Sika deer populations. The study lasted for two years and looked at the timing of fawning as well as cover crops, trying out a variety of clovers that could be used as a lure crop for growers to attract deer and reduce crop damage — discovering that crimson clover was the one the deer seemed to go to the most.
Intentional or not, those consequences can occur when baiting evolves into long-term, landscape-wide feeding operations, according to wildlife researchers at universities and wildlife agencies. Recent studies also document bait increasing competition between dominant and subordinate deer, sparking conflicts between wildlife and humans, and sowing potential for even more conflicts when bait spigots get capped. A study led by Rebecca Kirby at the University of Wisconsin-Madison notes that of 30 states with a black-bear hunting season, 12 of them allow baiting. Deer baiting, however, is legal in about 57 percent of Canada and the United States.
Imagine yourself as a deer… you are in a giant field just grassing and minding your own business. You still can hear faintly though. All you hear left is the rustling of leaves on the ground. I just want to get.
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