General Assembly Considers Hunting Over Bait

This past summer and fall, a General Assembly study committee held public hearings and looked into the possibility of allowing hunting deer over bait.  While this practice has become somewhat commonplace among hunters, it is illegal under current law.  Several south Georgia representatives are pushing a change in the law to allow hunting over bait, and large hunting plantation owners in south Georgia see baiting as a way to guarantee customers a kill.  I can tell you from attending one of the hearings that there are VERY strong feelings on both sides of this debate. 

My personal feeling (as a hunter) is that shooting a deer over bait takes the sport out of the “Sport of hunting”.  Hunting is supposed to be a challenge, and hunters are not entitled to kill a deer every time they walk into the woods.  If that were the case, it would be called “deer shooting” and not “deer hunting”.  Another good argument against this proposal – which was pointed out to me by Glenn Dowling of the Georgia Wildlife Federation – is that the vast majority of the public does not hunt.  Allowing hunting over bait could spark a public outrage that would jeopardize the sport altogether.  The GWF has some facts about hunting over bait here

The House is currently considering House Bill 1285 which would allow hunting over bait in south Georgia.  This proposal has the potential to devastate the public’s perception of hunters.  I would urge the General Assembly to consider this with great caution, and with an eye toward potential future impacts on the sport. 

19 comments

  1. Tommy_a2b says:

    Also as a hunter I have concerns. The thing I think is the problem is the huge deer population here in Georgia. I think they should extend the season.

  2. Groseclose says:

    I agree extending the season might be a great way to cut down on this deer problem, without suffering some of the potential (albeit speculative) public backlash we hunters might endure if we allow hunting over bait.

    Nonetheless, I am not per se against the baiting idea because I see a real problem. The expanding deer population destroys crops and creates added hazards to our rural roads. I am somewhat skeptical of GWF’s argument about public backlash. Do non-hunters really care about what hunters do? I don’t know the answer to that question. But, I do know there is a problem and so far we haven’t found a solution.

  3. GAWire says:

    I got to agree with you … I never understood how people think they are hunting when they just sit in a treestand and wait for deer to come to the bait feeders. It is called “Hunting” for a reason! Personally, I think they should do away with the stands altogether, and make people hunt the correct way: through stalking!

    I also agree that the season should be extended and restrictions should be limited. Unless you own a large tract of land or permanently live in rural areas, it is becoming very difficult to hunt in GA.

  4. Tommy_a2b says:

    GAWire, have you ever tried to stalk White Tail? If you have gotten a kill doing it more than once in your life I want to go hunt with you (just keep me up wind from ya, lol.)

  5. Jason Rizner says:

    Groseclose asked above whether non-hunters care about the activities of hunters. The answer to that question is a resounding YES. See articles below:

    http://www.peta.org/mc/factsheet_display.asp?ID=53

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,177663,00.html

    Those deal with a fairly recent bear hunt in New Jersey. Unfortunately, anti-hunting groups like the Humane Society of the US and PETA are very loud and visible, and the media pays attention to them.

  6. larry smith says:

    Stalking deer in most parts of GA is damn near suicidal, given the number of hunters sitting in trees waiting to cap anything that moves on the ground.

  7. Melb says:

    I don’t think it matters, why should the government tell you how to hunt deer. If a hunting/sports association wants to set a standard for how to hunt a deer than fine, but this seems like a waste of time, especially if hunters are doing it anyway, should anybody be fined or punished in general? My family ate deer meat that my dad killed and it saved us a lot of money on meat every year and I don’t think any of us really cared how he caught the deer.

  8. housecreek says:

    Evidently the gentlemen in this blog have never hunted over a greenfield, corn field, peanut field, with deer scents or calls. They have also never shot a deer while hunting over a scrape line.

    I have hunted over a feeder before for 5 days and have never seen a deer. I have never seen a deer eating the bait.

  9. GAWire says:

    That is a good point – different terrains require different methods, some of which still have limited success.

    I am more of a fowl hunter anyways, but in my deer hunting experience, I have never liked feeders, just b/c of the idea in general. And, yes I have stalked white tail (not in GA); however, I have to admit that getting a kill with a scpoped rifle from 500 yds out is a heck of a lot easier than with a bow (which I don’t use), although it does require rifle skills. Some might say that hunting with a scope is unsportsmanlike too – anyways, that’s why I keep to shotguns and game birds!

    Either way, bait hunting, in many cases, can be more like fishing, which I don’t consider a real sport either, unless it is fly-fishing or off-shore angling!

  10. Bill Simon says:

    So, Melb, following that line of reasoning (that it doesn’t matter how the beast is killed, as long as it is killed and eaten), would it be okay if fishermen dispensed with throwing out fishing lures and, instead, took to tossing either M-80s or similar explosive devices into bodies of water to get some fish?

  11. Melb says:

    I think that would be destructive to the environment, which I don’t think bait fishing or hunting is. Not to mention that would be extremely dangerous. Do you really have to find the most extreme situation that is not even credible and could have answered yourself before you even posted? I wouldn’t say kill an animal either if it was endangered. Why is this even an argument? What are the dangerous and destructive side effects of laying out some corn or whatever the hell is bait and then killing a deer when it comes to eat it, inquiring minds would LOVE to know?

  12. Melb says:

    And those laws usually having something extremely bad happening – i.e. preg old lady marrying underage teen. What is wrong, dangerous, destructive of laying out bait to kill a deer?

  13. law303peachtreeroad says:

    OK, who cares about a bunch of stupid rednecks shooting deer when they want to. I say make it legal for them to do it at night, with spotlights. Make it legal for them to hunt at petting zoos for all I care. And yes let them do it drunk too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Can we talk about something on this blog that matters?

    ~Stephens ’06

  14. atlantaman says:

    First, there is a huge population of deer in this state so it’s not like the deer here are a rare species.

    Second, unless you’re a vegetarian, you’re a hypocrite for even worrying about something like this. It’s not as if when folks go to the Outback Steakhouse anyone complains about the unsporting manner the cattle were killed in.

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