Editors Blog

Of Deer Bait, Minerals, Food Plots and Petty Ethics

I’ve touched on this topic previously at this blog, but today’s visuals help drive the point home a little more clear. I’ve long-held the contention that anyone who argues against baiting for deer — yet plants food plots or maintain mineral sites — are hypocrites. Plain and simple.

What’s more, anyone who argues against legal baiting for deer during hunting season — out of concerns for chronic wasting disease — is equally a hypocrite if they lend a deaf ear to any of the other practices. Truth be told, few are consistent in their beliefs. It’s absurd.

For example, this is banned in many states:

A Florida buck approaches a corn feeder.

A Florida buck approaches a corn feeder.

OMG, no, you can’t hunt over a few gallons of shelled corn that’s been sprinkled on the ground. That congregates deer, you know. Protein pellets? Doesn’t matter. It’s bad-bad-bad, according to some folks, because of the potential nose-to-nose encounters that could occur between deer seeking that food.

Ah, but this is perfectly OK in some of those same states:

That’s right: It’s perfectly legal to put out a salt or mineral block and let deer tongue it until there’s nothing left of it. Trace minerals help deer grow big, you know. Never mind that 35 or more deer could all put their tongues on that same block over the course of a week or two in summer.

Likewise, this is also perfectly legal and, in fact, encouraged:

Hungry deer seek food in a snow-covered food plot. (photo courtesy of Mark Kenyon)

Hungry deer seek food in a snow-covered food plot. (photo courtesy of Mark Kenyon)

That’s 12 deer in a quarter-acre food plot. It’s not the best example of concentrations of deer in a food plot, but it gives you a good idea of how they will not hesitate to change their travel patterns when it comes to food.

I’ve seen way better examples of high densities of deer in food plots, especially turnip plots. In those cases, deer will chew the turnip bulbs a bite at a time over the course of an entire winter. The end result is a lot of traffic into a small area.

Where’s the concern over that?

This transcends a bait-or-don’t-bait argument. I prefer to hunt deer on their own terms. Yes, I have — as have all of us here at D&DH — experienced hunts in states where baiting is allowed; over manicured destination food plots; tiny “kill plots” in the woods; near water tanks and ponds; fruit tree plots; and great native browse such as persimmons or oaks. Like other hunters, we have our preferences. But that’s not the point of this blog.

The point? Let’s call a spade a spade. Baiting bans are rooted more in jealousy and personal hunting preference than anything else. Selective regulations smack of petty ethics, and they do nothing more than drive a wedge between socio-economic classes within the hunting community.

2 thoughts on “Of Deer Bait, Minerals, Food Plots and Petty Ethics

  1. Payzo80

    I plant food plots. I would not hunt over bait. Planting food plots, in my opinion is habitat enhancement. No different than planting apple trees, opening up the canopy or hinge cutting trees. My plots benefit wildlife 365 days a year. Do you think the baiters are out dumping corn in February and March for the good of wildlife? I doubt it. In my plots I’ve seen deer, wolves, bears, coyotes, bobcats, porcupines, weasels, mice, turkeys, grouse and other wildlife all benefiting. I’d keep planting plots if there wasn’t a hunting season. Being called a hypocrite because I have enough ambition to improve my hunting ground doesn’t sit well with me and I’m not jealous of baiters, I just think they’re lazy.

    1. sa_hunt

      You would not hunt over bait because you just choose not to. It is the SAME thing as planting a food plot, EXACTLY. Some people put out corn, ME, and plant field corn, ME and let it stand for the deer. If you are planting “apple” trees then you are Baiting deer also, SAME THING. If you clear cut trees, SAME THING, you are baiting deer. If you use a grunt call, SAME THING, you are baiting deer. If you use the can call or doe in heat scent, SAME THING, you are baiting deer. Get down off that high horse you THINK you’re on Payzo80. Guess what, I’ve seen all those animals you name coming in and eating corn also, SAME THING. I agree you’re not jealous of “baiters” because you ARE ONE.

Comments are closed.