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The Great Debate Over Baiting

Old 11-20-2008, 06:34 AM
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Default The Great Debate Over Baiting

I know that this topic has been talked about to death, but I have thought of a new spin to put on the arguement. Now first off, i will admitt that I am playing the devil's advocate here. It is not my intention to upset anyone, but rather to hear what people think about the idea.

To start let me tell you a little about my hunting practices. Up untill this year I did the vast majority of my deer hunting on public land. The hunter to land ratio is severely one sided where i hunt (northern Michigan...which has one of the highest number of hunters for any state). During my time of hunting (almost exclusively) on state land I used bait. I would put out corn, carrots, apples, sugar beats, or whatever I had handy that i felt would appeal to a deer's appitite. This year the Michigan DNR banned baiting in the lower penninsula due to a case of CWD found in the lower portion of the state. To say the least I wasa little upset. The area I hunt is roughly a square mile. Some may say that is alot of room, but I know of two dozen people that hunt that land from the beginning of bow season to the end. Then you have to consider the dozen or so more that "invade" come rifle season. It becomes very tight quarters. Most arguements that I hear revolve around the notion that I should set up on funnels between bedding areas and feeding areas or in the bedding areas etc. The problem with that is there are no true feeding areas where I hunt. There are no fields of mass areas of oak trees. It's almost impossible to hunt the bedding area considering over 3/4 of the land is a bedding area.I owuld be trying to shoot a fish in the ocean rather than the barrell. In addition, the bedding areas are so thick that no one could get a clean shot without cutting shooting lanes (which is illegal in michigan on state land). I hope you are starting to see my handicap. Baiting was a way for me to bring deer into my area in the hopes of getting a clean, ethical shot. In addition, I know that no one else hunts within 100 or so yards around my stand. By bringing the deer to me I am not bothering another person's hunt.

With that being said, this is where I decided to put a twist on the age old debate. Many people that I have come across are "anti-baiting". But when you think about it, most people "bait" when they hunt and don't realise it.

Let me start with the most common. Hunting over food plots or crops. I put food on the ground and the deer come to me. Hunting over a crop, the food is already on the ground and the deer come to it. Put a stand over a corn field or putting a stand over a corn pile had the same effect on deer. They are comming to eat and you are going to shoot them while they are eating. Now I have had that statement countered by being told that "You put the corn on the ground...it's not natural." Come on, the crop that you're hunting over isn't natural either...neither is the flood plot you planted. Unless you are hunting over a wild apple tree (and I am pretty sure a man named johnny planted it years ago) you are hunting over something that is not natural.

To go along with the above, hunt over the trails that are leading from bedding to feeding. Once again you are using a food item to shoot a deer. This time however you are not sitting infront of it...just a little ways off.

If you're still reading by this point I thank you for putting up with me. Here comes the interesting part. How many hunters use calls, or scents, decoys? I can't think of one hunter that doesn't use something along those lines. The point of all those devices is to appeal to one of a deer's senses or urges. All the items listed are used to entice a buck to come within range during the rut. Now think about this. I put corn on the ground to appeal to the need of a deer (hunger). I am using something to bring the deer to me...aka baiting. Using scents, calls, decoys, etc is appealing to a deer's need to breed or defend territoy. By using one of those items, i am using something to bring the deer to me...aka "baiting".

It doesn't matter what a hunter does, we are "baiting" a deer one way or another. The difference is how we go about it.

As I mentioned above this post was not intended to anger anyone or start world war three. I was sitting in the tree stand and this notion came to me. I decided to share my thoughts. For those that made it to the end I thank you and I hope I am not seen as someone who has been hunting in the sun too long. Now it's inevitable that someone has read this and can't wait to reply and tell me how much of a loony toons I am. I would like to conclude by saying that this hunting season I did not bait while hunting. I shot two deer this year despite the DNR's ban on baiting. One deer I shot in a food plot, and the other was in an acorn thicket. I did not bait them in...I merely "baited" them in. Thanks again for reading. Good luck for the remainder of the season. Oh, and if you are so inclined please comment. I would like to know what thoughts went through your mind while reading this. Again good luck and happy huntin.
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:44 AM
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Default RE: The Great Debate Over Baiting

Great read swampdog!
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:27 AM
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Default RE: The Great Debate Over Baiting

wonder how many people think of it that way?
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:39 AM
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You are saying the same thing that I have repeated for years on the forum. I agree with you 100%. To bait is to lure or entice.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:02 AM
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Default RE: The Great Debate Over Baiting

Big difference between setting up a stand on the edge of an 80 acre cornfield where a deer could feed all day and not come near you versus looking down on a baitpile from 20 yards away. If you want to bait and it is legal, then go for it, but there is a big difference.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:22 AM
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Default RE: The Great Debate Over Baiting

I have mixed feelings on this issue. I agree with Lanse in the sense that most of us hunting over a corn field, whether it is on public or private land may not get close enough to ever get a shot. The flip side of that arguement is during firearms seasons you can get your stand in most case within 200 yards of where the deer are coming into the field and reach out and touch them. I live in Tennessee and baiting is illegal, but food plots are not and are available on private and public lands. Most here disagree with baiting, but if it were legal i'm sure they would use any advantage they could.
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Old 11-20-2008, 08:29 AM
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Default RE: The Great Debate Over Baiting


I hunt in Illinois where it is only shotguns and muzzleloaders during firearm season, so I am relating to situations where the shots are generally gonna be way under 100 yards. Archery season is gonna be a different matter and will not change by state. I'm a meat hunter and so if it became legal in Illinois, I would probably be the first to stick a salt block under my stand. However, I would be the first to admit that I am making it much easier for myself than if i was set up in the edge of a cut field.I have spent plenty of times sitting in a stand on the edge of a cut field watching deer who were "lured" to the field graze 200 yards away and never coming any closer. On th other hand, a deer "lured" to my salt block is gonnabe standing there 25 yards away.
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:22 AM
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X2 Lanse CC
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:22 AM
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Default RE: The Great Debate Over Baiting

Many good points Dog. I have had this same discussion on several forums. First let me say I live in MO and baiting is illegal here so I don't do it. If it were legal I would use it as a way to gain advantage, the same way I use cover and lure scents.I think the main reason those who use scents, decoys, rattle horns, etc. but view "baiting" as wrong is they view themselves as "better hunters". They look down thier noses at those who bait and view it as unethical(regardless of if it's legal or not), therefore no practice they use should be considered baiting. They view baiting as the lazy man's way to hunt.
Lance CC , that 80 acres your hunting over, did you place your stand in some unused corner or did you place it close to a deer highway into or out of the field? Deer are creatures of habit and will use the same routes more times than not. Hunters know this and use it to thier advantage. I would also ask all those who hunt these large fields, did you plant these fields or are you hunting over someone else's crop? Many who say baiting is lazy have not put in any effort to the food source the hunt over. Not directed toward you Lance. I don't know you and Iam not trying to judge you or any practice you use. As far as food plots go in my own experiance most aren't large. They are on average 1 to 2 acres.
Also those who plant food plots, why do you want to act like you're out sunup to sundown nurturing your food plot? A few hours a month pulling a drag or disk behind an ATV doesn't make you a farmer. Also if food plots fall under agricultural practices why don't you harvest that BioLogic you planted? I have said it before and I will say it here now, food plots come out of a seed bag the same as that corn.
I have one final question that I have never been able to get an answer to. If baiting is wrong and unethical why is feeding them the rest of the year ok?
I have not presented my case as eloquently as MISwampDog and for that I apologize.
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:26 AM
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Default RE: The Great Debate Over Baiting

using calls takes some kind of skill. anyone can throw corn on the ground and sit on top of it.
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