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Poll: Is Hunting Deer Over Bait Fair Chase?

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February 23, 2012

Poll: Is Hunting Deer Over Bait Fair Chase?

By David Hurteau

There is a difference between ethical hunting and fair-chase hunting. Fair-chase is typically ethical. But ethical hunting is not always fair-chase. For example, there is nothing unethical, as far as I can tell, about baiting deer.

You lure them, you shoot ’em, you butcher ’em, you eat ’em. From an ethical standpoint, this meat is far better gotten than our morally acceptable (by most) supermarket meat.

And yet, there remains a lively debate about whether baiting is fair-chase. I know we’ve asked this question before. But bear with me; I’m going somewhere with this. So: Is hunting deer over bait an example of fair chase?

Comments (110)

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from Dcast wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

David, you're opening a can of worm on this one! I voted no, and my reasoning is that if people claim shooting deer in a several thousand acre fenced area is not then this is not either. I use neither method, so I can state my unbiased opinion. High fence hunting is keeping a animals in a confined area and baiting is luring an animal into a confined/opportune area so in my feebile opinion they're the same. I must mention I do not have ill feelings to either technique.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Dcast,
Just call me "The Can Opener."

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from Arlo269 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Yes!! Some seem to think it is baiting but I bet those same people plant and hunt Green Fields or a Water Source. Hell some even plant standing corn and mow it down with a bush hog which is legal in my State. I don't understand this line they have drawn between baiting and fair chase. It seems to be that it is not a straight line and it is also invisible! Just my humble opinion!!!!

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Read Bestful's post about this. He makes it clear how food plots and bait piles are NOT the same thing, and they certainly are different.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I have hunted over many things that lure deer in. Cornfields, oak trees, water, doe urine, mock scrapes, to name a few. I do not have a problem with anyone hunting over corn. It's just another lure.

Is it fairchase? The answer will vary with each hunters opinion, and everyone has a right to their own opinion.

I answered NO. I have shot both deer and bear over bait and it just doesn't give me the same feeling of satisfaction as a spot-n-stalk. But, I have no problem with guys that do hunt over bait.

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from Arlo269 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Let me follow uo with this. I personally do not hunt over corn but I certainly think it is the same concept as hunting near water during a drought.

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I voted Yes Because a food plot that is planted and regularly attended is the same thing it just takes more work. Plus it is all regional and how people do things where you're from. But my corn feeder is just the same as your food plots. If it's only purpouse is to lure wildlife it's baiting wether it's planted or poured.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Dave, I voted yes, In just the same way a fly guy can look down his nose at a worm dunker, a food plotter can talk all kinds of crap about baiting, food plots are bait, their purpose it to bring and deer. Baitin's Baitin'....fair chase either way.

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from country road wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

By extension, fertilizing oaks and honeysuckle could be considered baiting---maybe even hunting in a grove of Oaks, even though you didn't put the acorns there. Certainly hunting around harvested grain fields---

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from Calsdadhunting wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I voted no. And I think those of you who hunt over food plots are only trying to justify your way of hunting. Neither are in any way "fair chase". You're simply training the deer year around to come to a safe place to feed in order to ambush them one time in the fall. Personally, I hunt in the West and do all my hunting on the ground, either spot and stalk or by still hunting. I don't always see deer, but I'm usually successful year in and year out simply through persistence, patience and a lot of work. I think it takes a lot more work "hunting" as opposed to some of your versions of work which is "farming". I have a friend who has deer visit an apple tree on his property every night and he could literally shoot them from his back porch any time he wants to. He doesn't simply because he doesn't believe it would be fair. My question is how is this different than shooting them over and bait site or food plot (I don't think it is - and I certainly don't think this should be considered hunting). Don't get me wrong, I don't think that baiting should be banned - to each his own. I just get annoyed when people profess this to be the same as "hunting". It's not, it's just baiting and shooting.

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

This is amazing to me that hunting over bait may not be considered fair chase. If hunting over bait is not fair chase then neither are a great number of other practices we use as hunters. How about using scent or scent control products? Hanging a wick of doe estrous is also not fair chase then. Both methods are used to attract deer correct? Using scent control products allows us to mask the presence of human odor, is that then considered “unfair”? How about the increased popularity of food plots and nutrition management? You plant seeds that grow into food for the deer, the deer then oblige and eat the plants that you grew. The reason behind you planting food plots is to provide enhanced or increased nutrition, and to attract and hold more deer. I have used bait and I have used no bait. Both have advantages and disadvantages. In some cases using bait can actually make it harder for the hunter to harvest an animal.
Whether a hunter decides if they do or if they don’t want to use bait, I understand that completely and by all means use your preference. But that it is considered unethical to hunt deer over bait, I don’t know, it’s just hard to wrap my mind around that mentality. Whether you do or you don’t use bait, or prefer to hunt using a different method has nothing to do with it being ethical or not.
Ethical- conforming to accepted standards of conduct
Is hunting over bait not acceptable? And if not why would any state management program allow it?

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Fairchase and ethics are two different things. You can have ethics without fairchase but you cannot have fairchase without ethics.

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from Captjim wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

The answer is more complicated than a yes/no answer. Hunting over bait is not 100% fair but it is an ends to a means. 100% fair hunting would be jumping out of a tree on top of a deer and strangling the deer to death with your bare hands. Then you add a gun into the equation. Is that fair chase? Then you add bait into the equation. The bottom line is if hunters don't have reasonable success at hunting the sport will die out. Who wants to spent a ton of money and 100's of hours to "maybe" shoot a deer every 3 or 4 years? Then the deer would over populate and deer/car collision accidents go way up, gardens and crops get damaged, etc. Is baiting 100% fair? No, but I believe it's necessary to keep the sport healthy and hunters interested especially when peoples time is limited these days and fathers are trying to pass the tradition on to kids with short attention spans. Also add into the mix, in the south where I'm from the deer are so abundant one town is considering a "within the city limits" bow season because the deer are causing so many problems. Again is it fair? Not really but I believe it is necessary in certain states.

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Go to the Boone and Crockett website and read the FAIR CHASE STATEMENT and ENTRY AFFIDAVIT FOR ALL HUNTER-TAKEN TROPHIES. Find in either of these articles where is says hunting over bait is unfair and I will humbly concede. Surely the authority on fair chase wouldn’t allow animals to be entered in the record books if it was unfair.

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from WesMcCormick wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I voted yes. Its no diff. then hunting a corn field, soybean, apple orchard, white oak stand whatever. I grew up in Pa hunting over all the above minus a feeder. When I got to TX I couldn't imagine hunting over a feeder. Now in the last 4 seasons I have killed 4 deer. We get 5 tags per year. Now I have hunted numerous times every season over a feeder, pin oak flats, pines, cypress sloughs, cedar thickets and can literally show you 1000's of pictures from this last year alone of deer at my feeder or corn pile. But in the last 4 yrs I have never seen a deer at my feeder or corn pile, much less killed one over em. So do I think its fair chase yes, does it mean your guaranteed a deer just because you put "bait" out absolutely not. I think it is no less fair chase than any kind of agri. field out there, but then again I'm not going to lie to myself either. Do I wish we had corn fields and lived in farm country sure, I miss hunting in PA badly. But am I affraid to "do as the Romans" ABSOLUTELY NOT!

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Seems like everyone uses bait then, because hunting where ANY food source is seems to be considered baiting. Therefore, the only way to not hunt over bait is to purposely hunt where the food is not, thus where the game is not. I think there is a BIG difference hunting over a natural food source and a bait pile.

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Also, an ag field or food plot is much bigger than a pile of corn etc. Hunting a field requires the hunter to place a stand or blind in range of where the animal will enter the field or feed in the field, much different than setting up 20 yards from a bait pile.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I voted yes as well. However I don't think it qualifies as "fair chase" as you're not chasing anything, or even really pursuing it for that matter. You're waiting for it to come eat. Now if you're baiting inside a high fence operation that is deplorable, and loathing. If you're hunting public land or private for that matter and bait, I don't see a problem with it. As everyone that hunts near you has the same chance at baiting in the deer as you do. Personally I prefer to go to the deer, and feel that I have better odds at harvesting an animal, rather than waiting on them to come to me.

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from TayHawk wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Dave,
Ill have to go with no on this one, for the same reason as everyone else and for one more. A. Its not ethical because the deer, even smarter mature deer will usually break down and go in for an easy meal. However though it is very different than green fields and estrus attractants I can see how they often get grouped together.
B. However my biggest beef with corn it that it violates ethics from hunter to hunter. I know some hunters could put $5000 worth of delicious corn on their fields year round, while others couldn't put $50. If their land happens to but up against each others Mr. Highroller is going to end up with all the deer on his place, stealing them from the other guy. To me people drawing deer off other hunters property with high powered attractants such as corn is just as bad as if they poached them off their land.
That's just the way I see it.

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from Mike Orton wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Is it fair? Simple answer, no. It isn't quite that easy though. Is it necessary to keep the animal population in a healthy and sustainable level, yes. Do I consider it hunting in the truest form and sense, no.

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from Bellringer wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I would like to see some of you spot and stalk guys come to the south and perform your magic in a thousand acre pine thicket that offer in many cases less than 15 yards vision.

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from rock rat wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

If you have to ask, I probably can't explain.

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from Krysten Michell... wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Well if you hunt in a state like Michigan where you have a high population of hunters and little land, you have to keep the deer on your property some how, and sometimes corn, clover, and soybean fields don't always cut it, especially if you have a bad harvest. Smart land owners will leave some kind of "sanctuary" where no one is allowed to hunt on their land, where there's a bait pile. That way the deer are not intimidated and will stay on or near the property. Also, encourages movement from fields/food plots to the bedding area. As far as what qualifies as fair chase, look at predator hunting, don't we all use deer guts/dead calves/rabbits etc and calls to bring 'em in. So long as the animal is free to roam from the East Coast to the West Coat, it IS fair!

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from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I've never hunted over bait but if the state says it is legal then go for it. I remember Bestul's piece on food plots but I think that is splitting hairs. I vote YES.

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from rock rat wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

For fun I just went to Eric Nuse's blog called appropriately enough, "Fair Chase" where he further linked to the definition at Boone and Crocket.

I'd love to link to B+C but this website allows no links.

Where they say fair chase is both ethical and lawful. They further define ethical.

So again, No, baiting is absolutely not Fair Chase where I live as it could land you in jail, and that other line where it says local traditions, no, folks around here don't bait.

OK for you midwesterners, but in the Rockies mostly no.

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from smccardell wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

If it isn't occuring naturally in nature it is not fair chase. So the corn you throw down, not fair chase. The plot of food you plant, not fair chase. The corn field, soy bean field that farmers plant, if planted for the purpose of hunting, not fair chase. That same field, planted to be sold for food, fair chase. That watering hole and oak groves, fair chase. In essence if the hunter plays a hand in it to get an advantage, not fair chase. If the hunter takes advantage of an existing resource already available in the natural setting, fair chase.

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from David Hansen wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

The difference about a food plot or corn field and a corn pile is that corn piles you put like 20 yards from your stand and in the clear open! And a corn field is big so there not always gonna come within bow distance.

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from Drew Williams wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

In golf, there is a rule that if your ball encounters a "natural" obstacle, you cannot move it. If it encounters a man-made obstacle that is not considered part of the game, you can move it without penalty. In hunting, there are "natural" areas that attract deer. Hunting these areas is fair chase. These would include water sources, acorns, and clover fields. In my opinion, doing something to enhance these places that mother nature has created is fair chase. For example you use fertilizer to help your clover field grow and plant more clover in season and along road beds.

However, setting out a bucket of corn or a chemical attractant is not mother nature. This is not fair chase, it's changing the rules of the game temorarily. If it doesn't live or exist on it's own, in situ, it's not natural and is not fair chase. Just my two cents.

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from Roderick K. Purcell wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Bait is for fishhooks, not deer hunting. Deer hunting is about knowing your prey's habits to pursue it. Baiting is about altering your prey's habits to kill it. Feeding wildlife is a bad idea for lots of reasons -- basically creates a wildlife welfare state. It concentrates wildlife and helps spread disease, facilitate predation. Where I live, baiting deer is not only considered unsportsmanlike, it's illegal. I agree with that.

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Mike Orton, a bait pile is absolutely not necessary to keep an animal population at a healthy and sustainable level. Dry corn is actually very bad for deer, as they do not have the stomachs to digest it, such as cattle would. It can actually tear their stomachs. Also, the small area a bait pile uses brings deer in much closer contact than normal, which allows for a greater probability of ingesting others' feces and allowing for the spread of CWD and other diseases. Food plots and ag fields, however, provide deer with nutrition they can use and digest, and spreads the animals out over a greater area and greatly reduces the chance of disease transmissionl

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from hexed775 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I have few a questions...how is shooting a deer over bait any different than when it's sparring, mating, walking along a trail, doing it's business, or anything else a deer normally does? How is baiting any different than using scented lures or rattling/calling? ou are simply attracting the deer somehow. In my book fair chase means letting the deer have an unimpeded egress/escape. Do what you need to to draw the deer in, but make sure it can leave as it wishes. Herding deer into a small enclosure/pen (eg 1/2 acre) in order to shoot them would not allow for fair chase. But putting a little food out to draw the deer in yet still allowing it to leave back into it's habitat should still be considered fair opportunity for the deer to escape hunters. Just my honest opinion.

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from Terry Hall wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

if you plant a field it is not natural or typical in some regions so to say you hunt over a natural food plot is crazy. but those who put out corn or other means of attractant are not fair is crazy. not everyone has the access or means to hunt large properties or have the acreage to plant so we make do with baiting. it is not what or where but why we hunt is it meat or horns. who cares as long as it is legal and ethical where you hunt.

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

i hate to tell most of you but even if you bait for deer it still is not a guarantee to shooting a deer. most deer when they do find a bait pile usually wait till dark before they come out to eat. at least they do here in new jersey because of all the hunting pressure that they get. i have had several deer come to the corn i put down the same time i am climbing down from my stand once it is dark out. plus this season has been so mild that sometimes the corn is not even being eaten.

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

also some of you talked about fair chase. is it fair chase when 40 to 50 hunters put on a deer drive walking ten yards apart using buckshot mind you on small parcels of land and shoot anything the size of a small dog and up? don't pull that fair chase bull $hit!

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from Bryan01 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

"I know we’ve asked this question before. But bear with me; I’m going somewhere with this."

What concerns me about all the talk about "fair chase" is where people are going with it. While those trumpeting fair chase are often hunters, fair chase based arguments are also used by anti-hunting activists seeking to outlaw a particular type of hunting or trapping. While I don't advocate censoring debate on the issue, I hope everyone remembers that hunters/trappers need to support each other because if we start forming circular firing squads, we will all eventually lose out.

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from James Jim Gonzales wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

No, No, No When do we as hunters change hunting into shooting. Baiting deer makes me question a hunters or should I say shooters ethics. 1 hunter works hard and after a few failed hunts finally gets his 170 class buck. Hunter #2 sets up a blind and puts his bait at 15 yards and SHOOTS the 170 class buck.
I for one have no respect for SHOOTER number 2. Hunter #1 gets my respect because he did not cheat. 2 170 class bucks on the wall at a show who do you respect more? I think all deer baits should be outlawed. But if you choose to use it look in the mirror and ask yourself did I earn it? I hope you question your ethics or lack of ethics. Any way you look at it you cheated and dishonored the deer and hunting.
Its illegal in my state and will fight to make sure its never legal here.

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

If you want to get literal about it, using any mechanical advantage to shoot a projectile is not fair chase. Are treestands fair chase? Artificial or any storebought scents? Fair chase would mean running'em down with your bare hands?! Or using a bow you made and handmade arrows, that's fair chase. Lots of differnet people use lot's of different tactics and lot's of us like to say the other one is not ok, but there is a very fine if fuzzy line. I prefer to hunt without the aid of bait, but i do use bait when hunting certain area. Is it more satisfying to kill a deer that is unbaited? Hell yeah, but i understand why it is legal and even accepted practice in some areas. Fair chase? not really no, but I don't have a bunch of private land to post and plant etc. and i have no "holier than thou" attitude about people who hunt differently than I.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I've found smccdell's comments strange. What if the farmer's soybeans are more attractive then my food plot? (Which I don't have). Coachsjike said it best when one is looking at heavy hunted areas. In New York, if baiting was legal the deer would figure it out real quick. I'm guessing baiting works best on regulated private land. I can't believe that Mr. Hurteau thought this debate would change any minds either way. Jack O'Conner thought that hunting mule deer during the rut would be un-sporting. Some hunters who leave their clothes outside, bathe in streams and rub mud all over themselves think using a firearm,a crossbow or running hounds is a sporting no-no. Fair chase? I couldn't catch 'em when I was a teen let alone now.

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

What about the "thousand yard club" rifle hunters... using a bench and extreme optics to shoot a deer a half mile away? More ethical or sporting than shooting a deer over a cornpile at 25 yds? I don't think so

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from NHshtr wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Sounds like this topic has brought out the whole gang!

I voted no. Like most others, I have no problem with anyone that hunts over bait.

Now, Dave, you didn't identify the bait. Is assume that you mean temporary food placed in an unnatural location. So, if I hunt an apple orchard and gather a lot of the drops into a pile near my tree stand, is that baiting? I'd say, Yes!

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I don't care what Scott Bestful says-- the only reason people plant food plots is to attract and hold deer, the same thing a five gallon bucket of corn does spread over a 100 square foot area. His reasoning about hunters claiming squatters rights because they spread bait on public land is comical because on public land any hunter who comes across a baited area can simply choose another place to hunt, not like there is any shortage of public land. You can justify food plots by saying it gives other species food also but I have seen many other critters eating bait piles besides deer too! Is baiting deer ethical? Why wouldn't it be! Its no different than putting a worm on the hook for a fish!

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from dukkillr wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Most of the anti-baiting, anti-food plot people I hear sound pretty self righteous. Not all, but most. "My way is harder/fairer/better than yours", etc. Seems to me a lot of people use the fact that they don't bait or hunt private land to stroke their egos.

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Most likely a regional thing as well. If you grew up hunting where baiting is legal, it feels just as normal and ethical as anything else you can imagine. Same goes for growing up in a place where baiting is illegal. I've hunted bears once over bait in Alaska and sat for 30+ hours in three days, and saw one bear (he was a juvenile and I didn't shoot). Can't help but think I would've seen more bear by spot and stalk. An answer to this will never be settled upon, but lets keep it respectful and respect everyone's opinions. Good post.

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from Basheer Benhalim wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Hunt the way that makes you happy. You can be an unethical hunter in fair chase hunting. Also, coming from the Great Lone Star State!!! Hunt over a feeder, hunt over a food plot, hunt the way that you like... Its your life, fill the freezer

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from mexhunter wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

i have never acctually hunted deer from bait piles so I really dont know how much the crowd to the bait and how easy it is to lure them in, yet spraying corn near a blind or stand the nights before has brought deer to me pretty well. still those deer are ussually young, careless deer since corn is thrown by hand.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

b. benhalim wrote "Its your life, fill the freezer" Thats exactly right sir!! Better use of argueing would be aimed at those who shoot big bucks behind high fences and brag about how tough it is, they are the ones commiting unethical acts as far as I'm concerned!

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from nuclear_fisher wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Not to play devils advocate but...."FAIR CHASE, as defined by the Boone and Crockett Club, is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals." Using this definition I’ll throw out lawful since it varies from state to state and from time to time and really seems open for debate. Also, it seems that we're all agreed that anything that is unethical and/or unsporting is also not fair chase. So the hang-up seems to be with the unfair advantage aspect of the definition. So what constitutes an “improper advantage” over the prey we seek? (This question is a very old one and ortega’s meditations on hunting is a very good read for those who haven’t.) Clearly dropping a stick of dynamite in a river is not hunting, yet do we need to head out from deer camp in a loin cloth without any of our intellectual advantages? Where to draw the line is precisely the question at hand; or rather on which side of the line does baiting fall? Recognizing what certain species are attracted to (corn for deer and carp, chum for sharks, beaver for bears, etc) and baiting with it, is no more, and actually less of, an improper advantage than killing an animal with a chemically fired projectile, i.e. a gun.

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from Mark Carver wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Yes, I think it is fair chase simply because in this wonderful game of chess that we enjoy with hunting wild game, they usually win the match! How many times have we spent countless hours braving harsh conditions, and went home empty handed? I've harvested game by baiting & non-baiting, and I gotta say, "my heart pounded just as hard with both methods!" And to tell the truth, my biggest trophies have come from non-baiting conditions! Either way, I think is fair chase.

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from northernminneso... wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I said no. There are a few problems that I have with baiting but the major one is that since we are not sure how CWD is spread we should not be doing things that may aid to it spreading. Granted that the exact cause of it spreading is not fully known but the transition of saliva is thought to be one of them. The saliva exchange is much more likely when you have a pile of food that dozens of animals will visit. Also baiting is illegal here in MN so I might be a little biased.

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

no it is not. the absolute only reason i understand why someone would bait and tolerate it is that bait gives the shooter an opportunity at a non-moving, broadside animal. it takes the sport out of it though.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

scratchgolf, I have a family member that is a 100% disabled veteran. He likes to hunt and really enjoyed doing so for many years. Now he isn't able to tromp around like most of us. In fact about the only way he can hunt is to just sit in one spot. I guess he could always go sit at the edge of an empty field and hope something walks out, but lets be realistic here.
However for those of us that are able to get around we should be ashamed of baiting. I have never baited an animal and don't plan on doing it at any time in the future. But then again there is a saying' Different strokes for different folks...

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from jvf wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Not unless baiting a hook is wrong???

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from Nate05 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

To me fair chase means taking an animal under the most NATURAL conditions. This does not include taking an animal on a pile of corn, on a food plot planted for wild animals, or behind a fence. Do I disagree with any of these methods? No. If a hunter wants to put a pile of corn on the ground where it is legal to help improve his odds of harvesting a game animal it is his choice.

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from Metawampe wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

If it were ethical, it would be legal where I hunt and it's not. There's not much to debate, as far as I'm concerned.

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from vasportsman wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Not legal in my state, dont want it to be, wouldn't do it. Don't think it would be very interesting, like bait fishing vs. fly or lure fishing, yeah you might catch a fish or two, however it wouldn't be as fulfilling for me as a sportsman.

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Hunting over a farmers soy bean field is not baiting. It's hunting deer where the deer are. But if you went out and plated that food plot you are baiting, even if it is leagal where mechanical feeders are not.
I also Think the arguments that the deer swamp to your feeder and stay away from everywhere else is redicules I have seen my feeder go off and be swarmed within a minute but I have also watched it go off and sling corn everywhere and the deer in the feilds and under the oak trees listen to it it, see it, and some times even smell it and then go back to what they were doing.

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from Whackdaddy wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Yes. It's fair chase and fun.

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from Kris24 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

This argument is similar to the one I see on forums sometimes between guys who shoot compound archery equipment and the guys who shoot traditional archery equipment.One side is always claiming their's is better. I say do it how you want. If you want to bait then bait, if you dont then dont. Same with the guys arguing over which kind of bow to shoot. Do it the way that makes you happy as long as it is legal. Fairness is in the eye of the beholder. It is a matter of opinion. Above all though please do not slam one side or the other. We are all hunters!!!

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from 784512 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

it depends

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from chevymanar wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Fair??? We are seriously debating what is fair when deer hunting? Let's put it in terms of getting in a fight with someone. Would you consider it a fair fight when one guy has a gun and the other his fists? I think not.

So how in the world could we consider any methods that we use for hunting as "fair". It is almost comical. I think people need to stop worrying about how other people harvest their deer.

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from sdboy wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I voted no. There is a big difference between hunting on a food plot and hunting a bait pile. Food plots take advantage of agricultural processes that we all need and you still have to get the deer to come to you based on their existing natural instincts. Bait piles are just lazy and unethical.

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from klvthatsme wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Does anyone out there fish with a bare hook?

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from Dcast wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I think alot of people here are taking this a little too personal! There is no ethics involved in hunting over baited areas, it is just a way of attracting deer. Indians and I'm sure cavemen used baiting techniques to lure their prey in so its been around since the beginning of mankind. Those of you talking about ethics need to realize ethics is on a personal level not a general level. Some see shooting deer with a firearm as unethical because of unfair advantage in the hunters favor and some think bow hunting is unethical because of the lethality and margin of error. So ethics has nothing to do with this just your personal and spiritual opinion. I don't care if you hunt in a barn for a deer in a 10x10 pin or throw a ton of corn in a hole with a doe in estrous tied to a tree next to your bait pile, it's your choice as long as it is legal and you can sleep with yourself afterwards. Lets leave ethics out of these types of subjects.

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from mdsulli2 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

It is unbeliveable that this poll is so close. There is no such thing as "hunting" over bait. It is live target shooting and nothing more.

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from DJ Hansen wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I say you might as well be chumming the water with corn or some other tastee treet and then throw the same tastee treet only with a hook in it. It is the same thing as hunting over a bait pile. I'm glad it's illegal here in Arizona. We actually have to "Hunt" for the animals not lure them in. And I don't care what the rest of you think. You are in the same category as someone who thinks fishing on a 20 X 20 foot COY Pond is fishing.

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from jhjimbo wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Hunting over bait where legal is a personal thing. I
prefer to still hunt / stalk. Gives me a chance to see
a lot more of the woods and hopefully some game.
My vote for me is No, but that is just me.

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from brithebold wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Are all the scents used baiting? Mock scrapes? Hunting in farmers fields, beans, corn, alfalfa fields, anything?

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from ray cummings wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

In Michigan,baiting was banned for two years and it cost MILLIONS of dollars in lost earnings for sugar beet, apple, and corn growers. Now it is allowed in a confined area (10X10). Many people posted CWD as a reason not to bait. They believe that too much food in a small area poses a problem. If this is so, why does the Michigan DNR mandate not only the amount of food but that it must be spread in a very small area? If we put out the legal amount over a large area we are in violation of the law and are fined. Can someone explain this to me??

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Baiting can never be considered fair chase hunting but if it turns a shooter into a hunter we have moved forward. Our deer herd and we should be proud, is the BLOB every year even if it wanes in one area it will blow up in another. People being allowed to hunt in city folks back yards while their at work(with permission)is one word, WOW!
We have rewarded ourselves into thinking, now I just need to shoot my record deer and its all back slapping time...far from it, our does need thinning every year and if we wait for the other guy to do it, it may just be a govmt sharpshooter being paid with our tax dollars to do what we should have done all along. It is not an overnight cure but if you can take a doe...do it, the herd still depends on us...if not us it will be them...the govmt. If Uncle Sam says its sick(chronic wasteing, mad deer,(he ain't above makeing sh1t up to take stuff away)(think privilege) ect. BAITING should be used as a tool and it wouldn't draw the negativity. All users of the baiting site could give a sample(brain stem) or what ever site sample the Govmt needs to inspect the deer quality. Just an observation

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from GrantHarland wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I do think that hunting over bait for whitetail deer is "Fair Chase," however, I also believe that it has a negative effect on deer herd health.

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from Don Mitchell wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Ray Cummings, the 10x10 feet spread is the minimum space,with a two gallon feed limit at any one spot per hunter.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

The poll results show that about 50% of deer hunters are dipsticks.

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from redpenmaster wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

There's no question the difference between hunting over bait and simply taking advantages of natural food sources or hunting near a heavily traveled deer path is huge. I spent years learning every inch of the available hunting spots in my suburban area of PA, and it took a long time to get a deer, let alone enjoy the consistent success I've had for a few years. A couple years back I hunted over corn piles at a friend's farm. The difference was night and day. There was no question that deer would show up, it was only a matter of which deers would be targeted on a given day.

It's just not fair chase, as I understand it, to hunt over a corn pile. And that's from someone who has done it and sees no ethical problems with it. If you want a real thrill, figure out on your own where to intercept a deer in the woods. It may take longer, but it's the difference between a hunt and a harvest.

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from canardnoir wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

What's really sad here, is that there is a near 50/50 split on this hunting deer over bait issue!

Hunting anything over bait is unethical, whether it is legal or not remains an issue of state law.

In many states the well healed show-up-and-shoot crowd have lobbied their legislators to make baiting for deer a lawful practice.

Aldo Leopold really said it best:

“Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching - even when doing the wrong thing is legal.”

Show-up-and-shoot at the feeder if you will, but it remains an unethical practice, even though it may be legal.

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from canardnoir wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Bait is generally considered as physical placing of an un-natural food source to attract wild game.

Non-food attractants are generally not considered "bait" but there are some ethically gray areas when any un-natural attractant is placed and hunted over. Even mineral-salt blocks could be considered an un-natural attractant, because they are not to be found occurring naturally in the wilds.

Hunting a commercial corn field, planted, tilled, and harvested by a farmer who is engaged in production agriculture is NOT hunting over bait, when normal agricultural practices and procedures are employed. A field planted specifically for deer hunting and manipulated by, or at the direction of the deer hunter - such as bush hogging - would be considered "bait".

Specifically and as a matter of federal law, with respect to waterfowl hunting, a sphere of influence is created with bait and birds taken going to or coming from the bait source are considered to have ben taken over bait. The same ethical consideration could also be applied to deer hunting.

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from Baileymade wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Seems to me that there is not hardly a more polarizing issue in deer hunting around right now. Hunting over most food plots is the same thing as bait as far as attraction is concerned and frankly, motive and application. Foodplots are generally non-native species and intended to draw deer. On some land in East Texas I have hunted over the last 10 years or so we have noticed that the deer come in droves to the foodplots but only occasionally to the feeders. At least in this local it shoots a big hole in the arguments of those claiming one is less 'ethical' than the other. Truthfully if anyone had developed a lure that was 100% effective at bringing in trophy bucks I'm pretty sure they would be rolling in the money right now. That hasn't happened however and corn is still just a suppliment that some deer will want but most trophy bucks will avoid until night-time.

You can hunt the way you want but to say baiting is unethical is not fair. One could easily make the same argument about rifles vs. bows. For me, I would much rather hunt a food plot or even bait with my bow than shoot a deer 200 or even 100 yards away. To each his own.

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from vtbluegrass wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

If you count hunting over a farmers bean field or your latest seed blend food plot fair chase then you have to consider baiting, whether its a grain or prepared product, fair chase as well. Both situations are unnatural, but I still think they are both ethical and fair chase one just tends to cost alot more. If you think bait is not fair chase then you also should not be using any scents to attract a buck into your shoots lanes either.
I do like that my state does not allow baiting on public land though. I could see that leading to confrontations over a hunting spot with people feeling that the bait pile means a particular spot is theirs.
All that being said I do not think bait makes much difference in hunter success. You still have to be in the right areas.

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from Fat guy Aaron wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

This may be slightly off subject, buy I hunt to get grass fed, no steroid, non altered meat, feeding it piles of corn "90% is genetically modified in the U.S." totally would cancel out what I am out to do. Aside from that I think bating should only be allowed on pests like wild boars. Keep the sporting species an actual sport.

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from wischneider wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

the way I look at it... you can hunt (well I only gun hunt) for 1 week and 2 weekends out of the year. If you come home empty-handed, you failed. If you come home with a deer, any deer, your hunting trip was a success. Anything that [legally] can be done to improve your chances of having a successful hunt is a plus. IMO, a monster buck is preferable to a small doe... however, a monster buck doesn't always walk out in front of my tree stand, so a small doe is better than nothing. And no, I don't hunt on 200 acres of private land either, so I don't always have the luxury of "managing the herd."

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

i know hunting is not supposed to be about killing a deer but i hate to tell you that with the rising costs of hunting in terms of licenses, permits, ammo, and limited public land to hunt on, it is about killing a deer. if baiting helps me to see more deer (not necessarily shooting one) then there is nothing wrong with baiting. if i want to sit my ass out in the woods and stare at trees all day well then i could save a ton of money by not buying all the things i need to legally hunt. using a tree stand or a scope or gps to mark waypoints or scent free detergent or camo is no different.

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from Tony Berg wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I voted No. Here is my reasoning. I have never baited, however seems to me that if your feeder turns on everyday at 4pm the deer learn to eat there at 4pm and is only available in a very limited area. All you need to do is be in your stand before 4pm no need to scout the woods for this hunting. I have hunted over creeks and standing corn fields but those are accessible to the deer 24 hours a day and from many entrance points many of them out of range and sight.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

If someone baits but kills the deer with a long bow, or even better, a spear, can the bait-bashers (not just non-bait users) love that someone?

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from Tony Berg wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Dukkillr - C'mon man. Self righteous, Ego, you don't even know me. If people want to hunt deer over legally baited areas that is their decision. I have no problem with it. But, you are altering the environment and the deers patterns. ethical, OK. But fair chase, absolutely not. And its not ego, its having a sense of pride in putting the effort and time into scouting a large buck, learning his patterns and setting up in the best place possible for just a chance at the perfect bow shot. If you want to bait deer and fill the freezer with does to feed the family, great. I don't think that shooting a large buck over bait should allow you to gain Pope and Young credentials per the use of electronic devices to attract game. Just something to think about.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

You can't bait in Tennessee so I have always thought of corn as cheating. I voted no. Now that I have read all the opinions it does seem kind of silly to draw a distinction between hunting over a pile of corn or acorns or Tink's 69 or whatever legal method you use.

But it is the law and if they can distinguish between those things I can too. I guess it is what you get used to. I wouldn't hunt deer with dogs either, but for some reason it seems fine to hunt birds with them.

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

It kind of worries me that some folks are saying that not harvesting an animal is failing, and that its all about killing. Great fuel for the anti's.

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from Daniel Allison wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

The question is not is it fair chase, but is it hunting or harvesting, in my opinion. Using bait or feeders is not hunting, but it is harvesting. You have cultivated the crop and then you harvest it. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact it is a necessary tool to manage the herd. I prefer to hunt and I don't get as many deer as harverters do, but they don't get the thrill of the chase that I get and they certainly never get as intimate with their prey as I do. I also admit that I do a poor job of managing the herd that way. I hunt on the ground and play by the deer's rules. Many times the deer win. On the other hand I know where the deer eat, sleep and drink. I get to know them well. I only want one deer a year as there are just two of us to eat it. I don't miss many years of getting a deer. If every one hunted it would be very bad for the deer herds as they would over populate and be sickly and might even be less of them due to disease and starvation. I raised my children and grand children with my beliefs on hunting and harvesting. I don't look down on them or any others that harvest, but I have taken them hunting also.
What is great is that we can agree to disagree in an agreeable manner. Good topic.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I love it when people write "hunting over a farmers corn, soybean, oats, winter wheat field is not baiting" How did you figure that one Zeek? If deer weren't attracted to those crop fields would you still build shanties on stilts all around them? C'mon Zeek, if you're gonna lie at least do it quick!

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from Tony Berg wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Walt Smith- I don't know how big the fields are in your area but where I live they are 40 to 200 acres. The deer normally have several entrance and egress places and use the size of the field to their advantage. I have never seen "shanties/Stilts" anywhere ever. Secondly, those fields are available to the deer 24 hours a day unlike your timed feeder that trains deer to be in a small area at a certain time for an easy meal. I come from a farming family and i actually try to hunt away from standing corn. The deer in there will win every time when you have a bow. In addition, those fields have been there for years and will be there for years. More or less they have become the habitat. Your automated feeders alter the environment not to mention the deers natural instincts. seriously. The saddest thing is that most people who "push" deer, use automated feeders, run dogs, shoot from vehicles never learn these things about deer. They don't get to see them up close and see how they act. Missing out on watching rubs get made, bucks fight, yearlings play tag, a grunt, a bleet, even a snort. I love being in the woods and hunting, not just the killing. I would spend all season in the woods just to see a large buck make a rub and plot a strategy to get close enough for a bow shot. Pope and Young fair chase rules specify no electronic attractant.

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from Ncarl wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I voted no mostly because deer dont naturally come to bait piles. But besides that I dont understand why people want to hunt deer over bait it takes the chase aspect out of it. Also bait piles can spread CWD with all the deer feeding is a small area. Now, if you hunt over a bait pile I have no problem with the way you hunt because any type of hunter is better than an Anti hunter.

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from JCSoutdoorsman wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I am kind of 50/50 when it comes to this topic.

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

How many of you that are whineing about my feeder not being fairchase use sent blocker HD clothes and tinks and/or the other 4 million sent LURES and decoys ect.? I really don't see why you all (the one throwingg personal atacks) are getting so angry at everyone who disagrees with you. And the Antis are going to cry no matter what. The hunting of deer usualy means killing at least one, that is why we carry skinning knifes and things like that. Do I have feeders? yes. But to tell the truth I don't think I have ever killed a deer at a feeder. So wait does that make it unethical?

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

So I asked my girlfriend the difference, in her opinion, between a foodplot a farmers field and corn or apples dumped on the ground. She thought that a food plot and a pile of feed were the same thing, but the farmers field, was different in her eyes. I don't disagree. To hunt a fence line or a funnle is strategic. The same said about a bedding, staging, or feeding areas. Completely fair chase. But to create a feeding area to bring the deer to you seems like an attempt to not have to find these strategic vantage points in the woods.
That said there are different levels of every sport, different competitors bring their own strategies, and their own level of skill to each game. Are they game basics the same between rec league and major league baseball? Yes, and I don't discredit anyone who enjoys spending their free time deer hunting, but I do say that the skill levels are not the same between patterning a whitetails natural route, and baiting it to you by offering it up it's daily bread. And I swallow my pride to say I have tried it both ways.

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from Calsdadhunting wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I feel like the fact that it's questioned is all the answer I need. No one will question if still hunting or stalking are fair chase or ethical. Yet baiting and food plots (which I view as being very similar) are definitely questioned on both accounts. Don't get me wrong about food plots, I do believe they are good for providing vital nutrients for deer, I just don't agree with hunting off of them (or around them). I guess its one thing to hunt near fields that are growing food for human consumption (such as soybeans or corn) as opposed to those grown to simply draw in deer (such as chicory or clover). I know this can be debatable, but honestly I don't do either, so I leave it up to you to debate. To me it is just unfair and unethical to hunt deer that are conditioned to go to feed at a particular place, and time. The fact that we are even able to debate the ethics of this style of hunting - says a lot.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

So which 50% do the dipsticks who gave me all the minus-1's belong to? LMAO!

"Ah say, ah, it's a joke there, boy!" - Foghorn Leghorn

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Sorry wa-mtnhunter I had to do it.

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from wildartstech wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I'd say no way! I'm not so apposed to give someone a hard time about it but if you ask I'll tell you, Lame! Hunting over a bait pile is lame! Get up and at least try to act like you want to predate something. I'm under the opinion that shooting them over a bait pile isn't much different than shooting a free range cow over a trough. Would you consider that hunting? If you need food, fine! Emphasis on NEED. If you're like the majority, like I said... if you do it, you're still OK in my book but I think it takes all the fun out of hunting.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Whether it is a big pile of apples or whether it is a big apple tree in the woods that is loaded with apples dropping it is the same thing to me. The only difference is how they got on the ground. Deer love white oak acrons and we have a few scattered big whiteoak trees on our property. When the whiteoak trees hit and the acorns are dropping it is like a great big bait pile under the trees. So if anyone is against baiting the next time you are hunting and come across an oak tree with acorns dropping keep walking don't dare hunt near the oak tree.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Let me preface my remarks with the fact that I don't do either. I don't have the desire to turn my property into a food plot and I am too lazy/cheap to bait deer, which is legal in my area.

I could care less either way, but some of the comments on this thread defy all logic!

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

WOW. Some of you really have your nose stuck up in the air. I havn't seen anyone call sentblocker or even camo for that matter cheating and that it's not giving the shooter a grave advatage over the deer since they can't smell or see you.

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from JohnR wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

My personal opinion is that it's much ado about nothing. I've watched deer walk right by corn scattered by hunters for bait on their way to browse somewhere else. The only reason the deer walked by the corn was because it was on the track they were taking. Sometimes baiting works and sometimes it doesn't. In heavily hunted areas the deer learn to avoid piles of corn.
If one thinks one has to plod and stalk through the woods all day to hunt fair chase, I'll concede the chase part :-).
I will never be convinced however that deer are ever at a disadvantage with the exception of bucks during the rut when they have only one thing on their mind. Deer hear better than we do, have a better sense of smell than we do, have excellent vision, and are very good at living undetected in close proximity to us humans.
If one wants to really open a can of worms we can become all inclusive and ask if hunting from a ground blind over a 10,000 acre field using a .300 Win Magnum and a 3 X 15 long range riflescope that can shoot deer all day long at 500 yards is ethical.
Like I said at the beginning it's much ado about nothing. If you like to bait and it's legal then bait. If you don't like to bait even if it is legal then don't bait. I think we need to respect each man his method regardless of our personal preference.
Remember the Native Americans used to drive them over a cliff and/or drive them into nets. At the very least one could call that a chase.

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Correction. I ment to say in my last post Supposedly can't smell you instead of "can't smell you".

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from Hank111 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Great comment JOHNR, I can't think of a thing to add to that.

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from joejv4 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I'll say no. It's illegal here (so are salt-licks), so I don't do it. I don't use scent block or estrus scent, I wear blaze orange hat and vest, I sometimes sit in a tree stand, sometimes still hunt and sometimes stalk. On the years I am successful (not every year), it is because I had some time ahead of the season to do some scouting and plan my hunts. Years I'm unsuccessful, are the years where time didn't permit for me to scout and I just had to "wing-it". Oh yeah, I'm too cheap to buy trail cams too, so I'm not letting a gadget do my scouting for me. I've made a point to walk and learn every foot of the few properties I have permission to hunt (all 50 acres or less) so that I know where the trails to/from bedding/feeding areas are, so that I can hopefully catch them on the move.

Food plots are too much hassle for me, and like I said, baiting is illegal here, so I have to rely on learning where travel routes are and being along one when they are moving. I think what I do is fair chase and ethical. I think that hunting over bait is ethical as well, but to me, does not qualify as "fair-chase"

I see a distinct, fundamental difference between a meat-hunter and a trophy hunter.

Someone simply looking for meat in the freezer and doesn't care about a huge rack - if bait is legal, then by all means, use it to help feed your family. Ethical, but still not fair-chase to me.

A guy looking to put a monster buck that can brag about on the wall... I'd have a tough time impressing my buddies when I tell them "y'all should have been there when i dropped him over my pile of corn 15 yards from my stand. He just stood there broadside to me for 5 minutes eating that corn. Easiest shot I've ever taken". I know if someone told me that story, I'd be less than impressed. Certainly not fair-chase, and borderline on the ethical side of things. I say that because if you would find yourself less than proud and maybe even a little embarrassed in bragging about your monster without omitting parts of the story (like the pile of corn you've been refreshing every day for 2 months), or embellishing other parts (make it seem like it was a difficult shot), then you're kidding yourself along with whomever you are telling your modified story to... less than ethical.

I guess the closest thing I can compare trophy hunting over bait to, would be the MLB players with home-run records, who also have an asterisk next to their names because they did it while on steroids. They still had to hit all those pitches, but their records are tainted by steroids. I could shoot a world record buck someday, but if I did it over bait, I'd feel like my name should have an asterisk next to it.

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from 007 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

If food plots and feeders are such a big advantage, why is it that the buck I was watching for in my food plots never arrived until well after shooting light and I never got an archery shot when hunting near the feeder I had hung out? There's more to it than just shooting. I don't go to lunch at the same time every day, do you? I voted yes, of course.

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from Dalton Stephenson wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I do not consider them fair chase. But I like to keep it more natural and old school. Someone made the comment about hunting not being worth it if you only get the kill every 3 or 4 years, but to me thats all right. Hunting isnt about the killing, its about HUNTING. Being in nature and putting of my knowledge of the wild to the test. If I used bait, a trail cam, or things the like, I feel like I used the answer key. But for me, hunting is a spiritual endeavor.

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from mselseth wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Do their natural predators bait them? Then we shouldnt have to because were smarter than them right?

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Maine is a state that is illegal to bait in. Would it be fair to say that Maine inland fisheries and wildlife doesn't consider baiting deer fair chase? Or possibly they view it as a method that harvests too many deer, making it a "more productive" easier way to hunt. I'm not sure what their reasons are, but either way, to each his own, I'll stick to my other methods. And good luck to everyone, no matter your hunting practices come this hunting season!

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from Wade Dunn wrote 27 weeks 4 days ago

Is baiting a hook fishing?

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from Gary Devine wrote 27 weeks 4 days ago

If you’re State or Province Fish and Game Law states baiting deer is legal then it is fair chase.

It is perfectly legal to bait deer in Saskatchewan, Canada and I hunted there five times. Every guided deer camp baits in Saskatchewan.

I will not hunt Saskatchewan hoping that a buck will walk by while the entire Saskatchewan hunting fraternity is hunting over peas, oaks and corn placed there by their deer guide.

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from icantdrive55 wrote 27 weeks 4 days ago

The question can't be answered as asked because it's not a binary, that is, not a yes or no answer. It's more like a continuum with illegal on one side and fair chase on the other with legal and ethical in the middle and no defined points in between them.

So depending on your culture, your capabilities as a hunter, your local available resource to hunt, the answer may fall for each individual somewhere along the range between illegal and fair chase.

Hopefully we as hunters are always looking to push ourselves to the fair chase side of the continuum scale because it's more sporting and more challenging to do so. But if you are just putting food on the table, and or don't have the capabilities to still hunt through a swamp, as an example, then ethical or fair chase will mean something different to you than to me or someone else. And that's ok.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I have hunted over many things that lure deer in. Cornfields, oak trees, water, doe urine, mock scrapes, to name a few. I do not have a problem with anyone hunting over corn. It's just another lure.

Is it fairchase? The answer will vary with each hunters opinion, and everyone has a right to their own opinion.

I answered NO. I have shot both deer and bear over bait and it just doesn't give me the same feeling of satisfaction as a spot-n-stalk. But, I have no problem with guys that do hunt over bait.

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from Drew Williams wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

In golf, there is a rule that if your ball encounters a "natural" obstacle, you cannot move it. If it encounters a man-made obstacle that is not considered part of the game, you can move it without penalty. In hunting, there are "natural" areas that attract deer. Hunting these areas is fair chase. These would include water sources, acorns, and clover fields. In my opinion, doing something to enhance these places that mother nature has created is fair chase. For example you use fertilizer to help your clover field grow and plant more clover in season and along road beds.

However, setting out a bucket of corn or a chemical attractant is not mother nature. This is not fair chase, it's changing the rules of the game temorarily. If it doesn't live or exist on it's own, in situ, it's not natural and is not fair chase. Just my two cents.

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from Bellringer wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I would like to see some of you spot and stalk guys come to the south and perform your magic in a thousand acre pine thicket that offer in many cases less than 15 yards vision.

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from smccardell wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

If it isn't occuring naturally in nature it is not fair chase. So the corn you throw down, not fair chase. The plot of food you plant, not fair chase. The corn field, soy bean field that farmers plant, if planted for the purpose of hunting, not fair chase. That same field, planted to be sold for food, fair chase. That watering hole and oak groves, fair chase. In essence if the hunter plays a hand in it to get an advantage, not fair chase. If the hunter takes advantage of an existing resource already available in the natural setting, fair chase.

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from Roderick K. Purcell wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Bait is for fishhooks, not deer hunting. Deer hunting is about knowing your prey's habits to pursue it. Baiting is about altering your prey's habits to kill it. Feeding wildlife is a bad idea for lots of reasons -- basically creates a wildlife welfare state. It concentrates wildlife and helps spread disease, facilitate predation. Where I live, baiting deer is not only considered unsportsmanlike, it's illegal. I agree with that.

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from Basheer Benhalim wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Hunt the way that makes you happy. You can be an unethical hunter in fair chase hunting. Also, coming from the Great Lone Star State!!! Hunt over a feeder, hunt over a food plot, hunt the way that you like... Its your life, fill the freezer

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from klvthatsme wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Does anyone out there fish with a bare hook?

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from canardnoir wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

What's really sad here, is that there is a near 50/50 split on this hunting deer over bait issue!

Hunting anything over bait is unethical, whether it is legal or not remains an issue of state law.

In many states the well healed show-up-and-shoot crowd have lobbied their legislators to make baiting for deer a lawful practice.

Aldo Leopold really said it best:

“Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching - even when doing the wrong thing is legal.”

Show-up-and-shoot at the feeder if you will, but it remains an unethical practice, even though it may be legal.

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from JohnR wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

My personal opinion is that it's much ado about nothing. I've watched deer walk right by corn scattered by hunters for bait on their way to browse somewhere else. The only reason the deer walked by the corn was because it was on the track they were taking. Sometimes baiting works and sometimes it doesn't. In heavily hunted areas the deer learn to avoid piles of corn.
If one thinks one has to plod and stalk through the woods all day to hunt fair chase, I'll concede the chase part :-).
I will never be convinced however that deer are ever at a disadvantage with the exception of bucks during the rut when they have only one thing on their mind. Deer hear better than we do, have a better sense of smell than we do, have excellent vision, and are very good at living undetected in close proximity to us humans.
If one wants to really open a can of worms we can become all inclusive and ask if hunting from a ground blind over a 10,000 acre field using a .300 Win Magnum and a 3 X 15 long range riflescope that can shoot deer all day long at 500 yards is ethical.
Like I said at the beginning it's much ado about nothing. If you like to bait and it's legal then bait. If you don't like to bait even if it is legal then don't bait. I think we need to respect each man his method regardless of our personal preference.
Remember the Native Americans used to drive them over a cliff and/or drive them into nets. At the very least one could call that a chase.

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from Dcast wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

David, you're opening a can of worm on this one! I voted no, and my reasoning is that if people claim shooting deer in a several thousand acre fenced area is not then this is not either. I use neither method, so I can state my unbiased opinion. High fence hunting is keeping a animals in a confined area and baiting is luring an animal into a confined/opportune area so in my feebile opinion they're the same. I must mention I do not have ill feelings to either technique.

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from Arlo269 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Yes!! Some seem to think it is baiting but I bet those same people plant and hunt Green Fields or a Water Source. Hell some even plant standing corn and mow it down with a bush hog which is legal in my State. I don't understand this line they have drawn between baiting and fair chase. It seems to be that it is not a straight line and it is also invisible! Just my humble opinion!!!!

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Read Bestful's post about this. He makes it clear how food plots and bait piles are NOT the same thing, and they certainly are different.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Dave, I voted yes, In just the same way a fly guy can look down his nose at a worm dunker, a food plotter can talk all kinds of crap about baiting, food plots are bait, their purpose it to bring and deer. Baitin's Baitin'....fair chase either way.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Fairchase and ethics are two different things. You can have ethics without fairchase but you cannot have fairchase without ethics.

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from Captjim wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

The answer is more complicated than a yes/no answer. Hunting over bait is not 100% fair but it is an ends to a means. 100% fair hunting would be jumping out of a tree on top of a deer and strangling the deer to death with your bare hands. Then you add a gun into the equation. Is that fair chase? Then you add bait into the equation. The bottom line is if hunters don't have reasonable success at hunting the sport will die out. Who wants to spent a ton of money and 100's of hours to "maybe" shoot a deer every 3 or 4 years? Then the deer would over populate and deer/car collision accidents go way up, gardens and crops get damaged, etc. Is baiting 100% fair? No, but I believe it's necessary to keep the sport healthy and hunters interested especially when peoples time is limited these days and fathers are trying to pass the tradition on to kids with short attention spans. Also add into the mix, in the south where I'm from the deer are so abundant one town is considering a "within the city limits" bow season because the deer are causing so many problems. Again is it fair? Not really but I believe it is necessary in certain states.

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

i hate to tell most of you but even if you bait for deer it still is not a guarantee to shooting a deer. most deer when they do find a bait pile usually wait till dark before they come out to eat. at least they do here in new jersey because of all the hunting pressure that they get. i have had several deer come to the corn i put down the same time i am climbing down from my stand once it is dark out. plus this season has been so mild that sometimes the corn is not even being eaten.

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

If you want to get literal about it, using any mechanical advantage to shoot a projectile is not fair chase. Are treestands fair chase? Artificial or any storebought scents? Fair chase would mean running'em down with your bare hands?! Or using a bow you made and handmade arrows, that's fair chase. Lots of differnet people use lot's of different tactics and lot's of us like to say the other one is not ok, but there is a very fine if fuzzy line. I prefer to hunt without the aid of bait, but i do use bait when hunting certain area. Is it more satisfying to kill a deer that is unbaited? Hell yeah, but i understand why it is legal and even accepted practice in some areas. Fair chase? not really no, but I don't have a bunch of private land to post and plant etc. and i have no "holier than thou" attitude about people who hunt differently than I.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I don't care what Scott Bestful says-- the only reason people plant food plots is to attract and hold deer, the same thing a five gallon bucket of corn does spread over a 100 square foot area. His reasoning about hunters claiming squatters rights because they spread bait on public land is comical because on public land any hunter who comes across a baited area can simply choose another place to hunt, not like there is any shortage of public land. You can justify food plots by saying it gives other species food also but I have seen many other critters eating bait piles besides deer too! Is baiting deer ethical? Why wouldn't it be! Its no different than putting a worm on the hook for a fish!

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

b. benhalim wrote "Its your life, fill the freezer" Thats exactly right sir!! Better use of argueing would be aimed at those who shoot big bucks behind high fences and brag about how tough it is, they are the ones commiting unethical acts as far as I'm concerned!

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from Kris24 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

This argument is similar to the one I see on forums sometimes between guys who shoot compound archery equipment and the guys who shoot traditional archery equipment.One side is always claiming their's is better. I say do it how you want. If you want to bait then bait, if you dont then dont. Same with the guys arguing over which kind of bow to shoot. Do it the way that makes you happy as long as it is legal. Fairness is in the eye of the beholder. It is a matter of opinion. Above all though please do not slam one side or the other. We are all hunters!!!

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from canardnoir wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Bait is generally considered as physical placing of an un-natural food source to attract wild game.

Non-food attractants are generally not considered "bait" but there are some ethically gray areas when any un-natural attractant is placed and hunted over. Even mineral-salt blocks could be considered an un-natural attractant, because they are not to be found occurring naturally in the wilds.

Hunting a commercial corn field, planted, tilled, and harvested by a farmer who is engaged in production agriculture is NOT hunting over bait, when normal agricultural practices and procedures are employed. A field planted specifically for deer hunting and manipulated by, or at the direction of the deer hunter - such as bush hogging - would be considered "bait".

Specifically and as a matter of federal law, with respect to waterfowl hunting, a sphere of influence is created with bait and birds taken going to or coming from the bait source are considered to have ben taken over bait. The same ethical consideration could also be applied to deer hunting.

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from Baileymade wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Seems to me that there is not hardly a more polarizing issue in deer hunting around right now. Hunting over most food plots is the same thing as bait as far as attraction is concerned and frankly, motive and application. Foodplots are generally non-native species and intended to draw deer. On some land in East Texas I have hunted over the last 10 years or so we have noticed that the deer come in droves to the foodplots but only occasionally to the feeders. At least in this local it shoots a big hole in the arguments of those claiming one is less 'ethical' than the other. Truthfully if anyone had developed a lure that was 100% effective at bringing in trophy bucks I'm pretty sure they would be rolling in the money right now. That hasn't happened however and corn is still just a suppliment that some deer will want but most trophy bucks will avoid until night-time.

You can hunt the way you want but to say baiting is unethical is not fair. One could easily make the same argument about rifles vs. bows. For me, I would much rather hunt a food plot or even bait with my bow than shoot a deer 200 or even 100 yards away. To each his own.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Whether it is a big pile of apples or whether it is a big apple tree in the woods that is loaded with apples dropping it is the same thing to me. The only difference is how they got on the ground. Deer love white oak acrons and we have a few scattered big whiteoak trees on our property. When the whiteoak trees hit and the acorns are dropping it is like a great big bait pile under the trees. So if anyone is against baiting the next time you are hunting and come across an oak tree with acorns dropping keep walking don't dare hunt near the oak tree.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Dcast,
Just call me "The Can Opener."

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from country road wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

By extension, fertilizing oaks and honeysuckle could be considered baiting---maybe even hunting in a grove of Oaks, even though you didn't put the acorns there. Certainly hunting around harvested grain fields---

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from Calsdadhunting wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I voted no. And I think those of you who hunt over food plots are only trying to justify your way of hunting. Neither are in any way "fair chase". You're simply training the deer year around to come to a safe place to feed in order to ambush them one time in the fall. Personally, I hunt in the West and do all my hunting on the ground, either spot and stalk or by still hunting. I don't always see deer, but I'm usually successful year in and year out simply through persistence, patience and a lot of work. I think it takes a lot more work "hunting" as opposed to some of your versions of work which is "farming". I have a friend who has deer visit an apple tree on his property every night and he could literally shoot them from his back porch any time he wants to. He doesn't simply because he doesn't believe it would be fair. My question is how is this different than shooting them over and bait site or food plot (I don't think it is - and I certainly don't think this should be considered hunting). Don't get me wrong, I don't think that baiting should be banned - to each his own. I just get annoyed when people profess this to be the same as "hunting". It's not, it's just baiting and shooting.

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

This is amazing to me that hunting over bait may not be considered fair chase. If hunting over bait is not fair chase then neither are a great number of other practices we use as hunters. How about using scent or scent control products? Hanging a wick of doe estrous is also not fair chase then. Both methods are used to attract deer correct? Using scent control products allows us to mask the presence of human odor, is that then considered “unfair”? How about the increased popularity of food plots and nutrition management? You plant seeds that grow into food for the deer, the deer then oblige and eat the plants that you grew. The reason behind you planting food plots is to provide enhanced or increased nutrition, and to attract and hold more deer. I have used bait and I have used no bait. Both have advantages and disadvantages. In some cases using bait can actually make it harder for the hunter to harvest an animal.
Whether a hunter decides if they do or if they don’t want to use bait, I understand that completely and by all means use your preference. But that it is considered unethical to hunt deer over bait, I don’t know, it’s just hard to wrap my mind around that mentality. Whether you do or you don’t use bait, or prefer to hunt using a different method has nothing to do with it being ethical or not.
Ethical- conforming to accepted standards of conduct
Is hunting over bait not acceptable? And if not why would any state management program allow it?

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Go to the Boone and Crockett website and read the FAIR CHASE STATEMENT and ENTRY AFFIDAVIT FOR ALL HUNTER-TAKEN TROPHIES. Find in either of these articles where is says hunting over bait is unfair and I will humbly concede. Surely the authority on fair chase wouldn’t allow animals to be entered in the record books if it was unfair.

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from WesMcCormick wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I voted yes. Its no diff. then hunting a corn field, soybean, apple orchard, white oak stand whatever. I grew up in Pa hunting over all the above minus a feeder. When I got to TX I couldn't imagine hunting over a feeder. Now in the last 4 seasons I have killed 4 deer. We get 5 tags per year. Now I have hunted numerous times every season over a feeder, pin oak flats, pines, cypress sloughs, cedar thickets and can literally show you 1000's of pictures from this last year alone of deer at my feeder or corn pile. But in the last 4 yrs I have never seen a deer at my feeder or corn pile, much less killed one over em. So do I think its fair chase yes, does it mean your guaranteed a deer just because you put "bait" out absolutely not. I think it is no less fair chase than any kind of agri. field out there, but then again I'm not going to lie to myself either. Do I wish we had corn fields and lived in farm country sure, I miss hunting in PA badly. But am I affraid to "do as the Romans" ABSOLUTELY NOT!

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Seems like everyone uses bait then, because hunting where ANY food source is seems to be considered baiting. Therefore, the only way to not hunt over bait is to purposely hunt where the food is not, thus where the game is not. I think there is a BIG difference hunting over a natural food source and a bait pile.

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from hexed775 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I have few a questions...how is shooting a deer over bait any different than when it's sparring, mating, walking along a trail, doing it's business, or anything else a deer normally does? How is baiting any different than using scented lures or rattling/calling? ou are simply attracting the deer somehow. In my book fair chase means letting the deer have an unimpeded egress/escape. Do what you need to to draw the deer in, but make sure it can leave as it wishes. Herding deer into a small enclosure/pen (eg 1/2 acre) in order to shoot them would not allow for fair chase. But putting a little food out to draw the deer in yet still allowing it to leave back into it's habitat should still be considered fair opportunity for the deer to escape hunters. Just my honest opinion.

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

also some of you talked about fair chase. is it fair chase when 40 to 50 hunters put on a deer drive walking ten yards apart using buckshot mind you on small parcels of land and shoot anything the size of a small dog and up? don't pull that fair chase bull $hit!

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from Bryan01 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

"I know we’ve asked this question before. But bear with me; I’m going somewhere with this."

What concerns me about all the talk about "fair chase" is where people are going with it. While those trumpeting fair chase are often hunters, fair chase based arguments are also used by anti-hunting activists seeking to outlaw a particular type of hunting or trapping. While I don't advocate censoring debate on the issue, I hope everyone remembers that hunters/trappers need to support each other because if we start forming circular firing squads, we will all eventually lose out.

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

What about the "thousand yard club" rifle hunters... using a bench and extreme optics to shoot a deer a half mile away? More ethical or sporting than shooting a deer over a cornpile at 25 yds? I don't think so

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from NHshtr wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Sounds like this topic has brought out the whole gang!

I voted no. Like most others, I have no problem with anyone that hunts over bait.

Now, Dave, you didn't identify the bait. Is assume that you mean temporary food placed in an unnatural location. So, if I hunt an apple orchard and gather a lot of the drops into a pile near my tree stand, is that baiting? I'd say, Yes!

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from dukkillr wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Most of the anti-baiting, anti-food plot people I hear sound pretty self righteous. Not all, but most. "My way is harder/fairer/better than yours", etc. Seems to me a lot of people use the fact that they don't bait or hunt private land to stroke their egos.

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Most likely a regional thing as well. If you grew up hunting where baiting is legal, it feels just as normal and ethical as anything else you can imagine. Same goes for growing up in a place where baiting is illegal. I've hunted bears once over bait in Alaska and sat for 30+ hours in three days, and saw one bear (he was a juvenile and I didn't shoot). Can't help but think I would've seen more bear by spot and stalk. An answer to this will never be settled upon, but lets keep it respectful and respect everyone's opinions. Good post.

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from nuclear_fisher wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Not to play devils advocate but...."FAIR CHASE, as defined by the Boone and Crockett Club, is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals." Using this definition I’ll throw out lawful since it varies from state to state and from time to time and really seems open for debate. Also, it seems that we're all agreed that anything that is unethical and/or unsporting is also not fair chase. So the hang-up seems to be with the unfair advantage aspect of the definition. So what constitutes an “improper advantage” over the prey we seek? (This question is a very old one and ortega’s meditations on hunting is a very good read for those who haven’t.) Clearly dropping a stick of dynamite in a river is not hunting, yet do we need to head out from deer camp in a loin cloth without any of our intellectual advantages? Where to draw the line is precisely the question at hand; or rather on which side of the line does baiting fall? Recognizing what certain species are attracted to (corn for deer and carp, chum for sharks, beaver for bears, etc) and baiting with it, is no more, and actually less of, an improper advantage than killing an animal with a chemically fired projectile, i.e. a gun.

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from Metawampe wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

If it were ethical, it would be legal where I hunt and it's not. There's not much to debate, as far as I'm concerned.

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from vasportsman wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Not legal in my state, dont want it to be, wouldn't do it. Don't think it would be very interesting, like bait fishing vs. fly or lure fishing, yeah you might catch a fish or two, however it wouldn't be as fulfilling for me as a sportsman.

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from chevymanar wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Fair??? We are seriously debating what is fair when deer hunting? Let's put it in terms of getting in a fight with someone. Would you consider it a fair fight when one guy has a gun and the other his fists? I think not.

So how in the world could we consider any methods that we use for hunting as "fair". It is almost comical. I think people need to stop worrying about how other people harvest their deer.

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from sdboy wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I voted no. There is a big difference between hunting on a food plot and hunting a bait pile. Food plots take advantage of agricultural processes that we all need and you still have to get the deer to come to you based on their existing natural instincts. Bait piles are just lazy and unethical.

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from Dcast wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I think alot of people here are taking this a little too personal! There is no ethics involved in hunting over baited areas, it is just a way of attracting deer. Indians and I'm sure cavemen used baiting techniques to lure their prey in so its been around since the beginning of mankind. Those of you talking about ethics need to realize ethics is on a personal level not a general level. Some see shooting deer with a firearm as unethical because of unfair advantage in the hunters favor and some think bow hunting is unethical because of the lethality and margin of error. So ethics has nothing to do with this just your personal and spiritual opinion. I don't care if you hunt in a barn for a deer in a 10x10 pin or throw a ton of corn in a hole with a doe in estrous tied to a tree next to your bait pile, it's your choice as long as it is legal and you can sleep with yourself afterwards. Lets leave ethics out of these types of subjects.

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from mdsulli2 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

It is unbeliveable that this poll is so close. There is no such thing as "hunting" over bait. It is live target shooting and nothing more.

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from ray cummings wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

In Michigan,baiting was banned for two years and it cost MILLIONS of dollars in lost earnings for sugar beet, apple, and corn growers. Now it is allowed in a confined area (10X10). Many people posted CWD as a reason not to bait. They believe that too much food in a small area poses a problem. If this is so, why does the Michigan DNR mandate not only the amount of food but that it must be spread in a very small area? If we put out the legal amount over a large area we are in violation of the law and are fined. Can someone explain this to me??

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from vtbluegrass wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

If you count hunting over a farmers bean field or your latest seed blend food plot fair chase then you have to consider baiting, whether its a grain or prepared product, fair chase as well. Both situations are unnatural, but I still think they are both ethical and fair chase one just tends to cost alot more. If you think bait is not fair chase then you also should not be using any scents to attract a buck into your shoots lanes either.
I do like that my state does not allow baiting on public land though. I could see that leading to confrontations over a hunting spot with people feeling that the bait pile means a particular spot is theirs.
All that being said I do not think bait makes much difference in hunter success. You still have to be in the right areas.

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from Fat guy Aaron wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

This may be slightly off subject, buy I hunt to get grass fed, no steroid, non altered meat, feeding it piles of corn "90% is genetically modified in the U.S." totally would cancel out what I am out to do. Aside from that I think bating should only be allowed on pests like wild boars. Keep the sporting species an actual sport.

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from Tony Berg wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I voted No. Here is my reasoning. I have never baited, however seems to me that if your feeder turns on everyday at 4pm the deer learn to eat there at 4pm and is only available in a very limited area. All you need to do is be in your stand before 4pm no need to scout the woods for this hunting. I have hunted over creeks and standing corn fields but those are accessible to the deer 24 hours a day and from many entrance points many of them out of range and sight.

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

WOW. Some of you really have your nose stuck up in the air. I havn't seen anyone call sentblocker or even camo for that matter cheating and that it's not giving the shooter a grave advatage over the deer since they can't smell or see you.

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from mselseth wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Do their natural predators bait them? Then we shouldnt have to because were smarter than them right?

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from Wade Dunn wrote 27 weeks 4 days ago

Is baiting a hook fishing?

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from Arlo269 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Let me follow uo with this. I personally do not hunt over corn but I certainly think it is the same concept as hunting near water during a drought.

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I voted Yes Because a food plot that is planted and regularly attended is the same thing it just takes more work. Plus it is all regional and how people do things where you're from. But my corn feeder is just the same as your food plots. If it's only purpouse is to lure wildlife it's baiting wether it's planted or poured.

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Also, an ag field or food plot is much bigger than a pile of corn etc. Hunting a field requires the hunter to place a stand or blind in range of where the animal will enter the field or feed in the field, much different than setting up 20 yards from a bait pile.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I voted yes as well. However I don't think it qualifies as "fair chase" as you're not chasing anything, or even really pursuing it for that matter. You're waiting for it to come eat. Now if you're baiting inside a high fence operation that is deplorable, and loathing. If you're hunting public land or private for that matter and bait, I don't see a problem with it. As everyone that hunts near you has the same chance at baiting in the deer as you do. Personally I prefer to go to the deer, and feel that I have better odds at harvesting an animal, rather than waiting on them to come to me.

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from TayHawk wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Dave,
Ill have to go with no on this one, for the same reason as everyone else and for one more. A. Its not ethical because the deer, even smarter mature deer will usually break down and go in for an easy meal. However though it is very different than green fields and estrus attractants I can see how they often get grouped together.
B. However my biggest beef with corn it that it violates ethics from hunter to hunter. I know some hunters could put $5000 worth of delicious corn on their fields year round, while others couldn't put $50. If their land happens to but up against each others Mr. Highroller is going to end up with all the deer on his place, stealing them from the other guy. To me people drawing deer off other hunters property with high powered attractants such as corn is just as bad as if they poached them off their land.
That's just the way I see it.

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from Mike Orton wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Is it fair? Simple answer, no. It isn't quite that easy though. Is it necessary to keep the animal population in a healthy and sustainable level, yes. Do I consider it hunting in the truest form and sense, no.

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from rock rat wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

If you have to ask, I probably can't explain.

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from Krysten Michell... wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Well if you hunt in a state like Michigan where you have a high population of hunters and little land, you have to keep the deer on your property some how, and sometimes corn, clover, and soybean fields don't always cut it, especially if you have a bad harvest. Smart land owners will leave some kind of "sanctuary" where no one is allowed to hunt on their land, where there's a bait pile. That way the deer are not intimidated and will stay on or near the property. Also, encourages movement from fields/food plots to the bedding area. As far as what qualifies as fair chase, look at predator hunting, don't we all use deer guts/dead calves/rabbits etc and calls to bring 'em in. So long as the animal is free to roam from the East Coast to the West Coat, it IS fair!

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from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I've never hunted over bait but if the state says it is legal then go for it. I remember Bestul's piece on food plots but I think that is splitting hairs. I vote YES.

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from rock rat wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

For fun I just went to Eric Nuse's blog called appropriately enough, "Fair Chase" where he further linked to the definition at Boone and Crocket.

I'd love to link to B+C but this website allows no links.

Where they say fair chase is both ethical and lawful. They further define ethical.

So again, No, baiting is absolutely not Fair Chase where I live as it could land you in jail, and that other line where it says local traditions, no, folks around here don't bait.

OK for you midwesterners, but in the Rockies mostly no.

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from David Hansen wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

The difference about a food plot or corn field and a corn pile is that corn piles you put like 20 yards from your stand and in the clear open! And a corn field is big so there not always gonna come within bow distance.

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Mike Orton, a bait pile is absolutely not necessary to keep an animal population at a healthy and sustainable level. Dry corn is actually very bad for deer, as they do not have the stomachs to digest it, such as cattle would. It can actually tear their stomachs. Also, the small area a bait pile uses brings deer in much closer contact than normal, which allows for a greater probability of ingesting others' feces and allowing for the spread of CWD and other diseases. Food plots and ag fields, however, provide deer with nutrition they can use and digest, and spreads the animals out over a greater area and greatly reduces the chance of disease transmissionl

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from Terry Hall wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

if you plant a field it is not natural or typical in some regions so to say you hunt over a natural food plot is crazy. but those who put out corn or other means of attractant are not fair is crazy. not everyone has the access or means to hunt large properties or have the acreage to plant so we make do with baiting. it is not what or where but why we hunt is it meat or horns. who cares as long as it is legal and ethical where you hunt.

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from James Jim Gonzales wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

No, No, No When do we as hunters change hunting into shooting. Baiting deer makes me question a hunters or should I say shooters ethics. 1 hunter works hard and after a few failed hunts finally gets his 170 class buck. Hunter #2 sets up a blind and puts his bait at 15 yards and SHOOTS the 170 class buck.
I for one have no respect for SHOOTER number 2. Hunter #1 gets my respect because he did not cheat. 2 170 class bucks on the wall at a show who do you respect more? I think all deer baits should be outlawed. But if you choose to use it look in the mirror and ask yourself did I earn it? I hope you question your ethics or lack of ethics. Any way you look at it you cheated and dishonored the deer and hunting.
Its illegal in my state and will fight to make sure its never legal here.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I've found smccdell's comments strange. What if the farmer's soybeans are more attractive then my food plot? (Which I don't have). Coachsjike said it best when one is looking at heavy hunted areas. In New York, if baiting was legal the deer would figure it out real quick. I'm guessing baiting works best on regulated private land. I can't believe that Mr. Hurteau thought this debate would change any minds either way. Jack O'Conner thought that hunting mule deer during the rut would be un-sporting. Some hunters who leave their clothes outside, bathe in streams and rub mud all over themselves think using a firearm,a crossbow or running hounds is a sporting no-no. Fair chase? I couldn't catch 'em when I was a teen let alone now.

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from Mark Carver wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Yes, I think it is fair chase simply because in this wonderful game of chess that we enjoy with hunting wild game, they usually win the match! How many times have we spent countless hours braving harsh conditions, and went home empty handed? I've harvested game by baiting & non-baiting, and I gotta say, "my heart pounded just as hard with both methods!" And to tell the truth, my biggest trophies have come from non-baiting conditions! Either way, I think is fair chase.

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from northernminneso... wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I said no. There are a few problems that I have with baiting but the major one is that since we are not sure how CWD is spread we should not be doing things that may aid to it spreading. Granted that the exact cause of it spreading is not fully known but the transition of saliva is thought to be one of them. The saliva exchange is much more likely when you have a pile of food that dozens of animals will visit. Also baiting is illegal here in MN so I might be a little biased.

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

no it is not. the absolute only reason i understand why someone would bait and tolerate it is that bait gives the shooter an opportunity at a non-moving, broadside animal. it takes the sport out of it though.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

scratchgolf, I have a family member that is a 100% disabled veteran. He likes to hunt and really enjoyed doing so for many years. Now he isn't able to tromp around like most of us. In fact about the only way he can hunt is to just sit in one spot. I guess he could always go sit at the edge of an empty field and hope something walks out, but lets be realistic here.
However for those of us that are able to get around we should be ashamed of baiting. I have never baited an animal and don't plan on doing it at any time in the future. But then again there is a saying' Different strokes for different folks...

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from jvf wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Not unless baiting a hook is wrong???

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from Nate05 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

To me fair chase means taking an animal under the most NATURAL conditions. This does not include taking an animal on a pile of corn, on a food plot planted for wild animals, or behind a fence. Do I disagree with any of these methods? No. If a hunter wants to put a pile of corn on the ground where it is legal to help improve his odds of harvesting a game animal it is his choice.

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Hunting over a farmers soy bean field is not baiting. It's hunting deer where the deer are. But if you went out and plated that food plot you are baiting, even if it is leagal where mechanical feeders are not.
I also Think the arguments that the deer swamp to your feeder and stay away from everywhere else is redicules I have seen my feeder go off and be swarmed within a minute but I have also watched it go off and sling corn everywhere and the deer in the feilds and under the oak trees listen to it it, see it, and some times even smell it and then go back to what they were doing.

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from Whackdaddy wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Yes. It's fair chase and fun.

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from 784512 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

it depends

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from DJ Hansen wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I say you might as well be chumming the water with corn or some other tastee treet and then throw the same tastee treet only with a hook in it. It is the same thing as hunting over a bait pile. I'm glad it's illegal here in Arizona. We actually have to "Hunt" for the animals not lure them in. And I don't care what the rest of you think. You are in the same category as someone who thinks fishing on a 20 X 20 foot COY Pond is fishing.

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from jhjimbo wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Hunting over bait where legal is a personal thing. I
prefer to still hunt / stalk. Gives me a chance to see
a lot more of the woods and hopefully some game.
My vote for me is No, but that is just me.

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from brithebold wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Are all the scents used baiting? Mock scrapes? Hunting in farmers fields, beans, corn, alfalfa fields, anything?

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Baiting can never be considered fair chase hunting but if it turns a shooter into a hunter we have moved forward. Our deer herd and we should be proud, is the BLOB every year even if it wanes in one area it will blow up in another. People being allowed to hunt in city folks back yards while their at work(with permission)is one word, WOW!
We have rewarded ourselves into thinking, now I just need to shoot my record deer and its all back slapping time...far from it, our does need thinning every year and if we wait for the other guy to do it, it may just be a govmt sharpshooter being paid with our tax dollars to do what we should have done all along. It is not an overnight cure but if you can take a doe...do it, the herd still depends on us...if not us it will be them...the govmt. If Uncle Sam says its sick(chronic wasteing, mad deer,(he ain't above makeing sh1t up to take stuff away)(think privilege) ect. BAITING should be used as a tool and it wouldn't draw the negativity. All users of the baiting site could give a sample(brain stem) or what ever site sample the Govmt needs to inspect the deer quality. Just an observation

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from GrantHarland wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

I do think that hunting over bait for whitetail deer is "Fair Chase," however, I also believe that it has a negative effect on deer herd health.

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from Don Mitchell wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Ray Cummings, the 10x10 feet spread is the minimum space,with a two gallon feed limit at any one spot per hunter.

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from redpenmaster wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

There's no question the difference between hunting over bait and simply taking advantages of natural food sources or hunting near a heavily traveled deer path is huge. I spent years learning every inch of the available hunting spots in my suburban area of PA, and it took a long time to get a deer, let alone enjoy the consistent success I've had for a few years. A couple years back I hunted over corn piles at a friend's farm. The difference was night and day. There was no question that deer would show up, it was only a matter of which deers would be targeted on a given day.

It's just not fair chase, as I understand it, to hunt over a corn pile. And that's from someone who has done it and sees no ethical problems with it. If you want a real thrill, figure out on your own where to intercept a deer in the woods. It may take longer, but it's the difference between a hunt and a harvest.

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from wischneider wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

the way I look at it... you can hunt (well I only gun hunt) for 1 week and 2 weekends out of the year. If you come home empty-handed, you failed. If you come home with a deer, any deer, your hunting trip was a success. Anything that [legally] can be done to improve your chances of having a successful hunt is a plus. IMO, a monster buck is preferable to a small doe... however, a monster buck doesn't always walk out in front of my tree stand, so a small doe is better than nothing. And no, I don't hunt on 200 acres of private land either, so I don't always have the luxury of "managing the herd."

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

i know hunting is not supposed to be about killing a deer but i hate to tell you that with the rising costs of hunting in terms of licenses, permits, ammo, and limited public land to hunt on, it is about killing a deer. if baiting helps me to see more deer (not necessarily shooting one) then there is nothing wrong with baiting. if i want to sit my ass out in the woods and stare at trees all day well then i could save a ton of money by not buying all the things i need to legally hunt. using a tree stand or a scope or gps to mark waypoints or scent free detergent or camo is no different.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

If someone baits but kills the deer with a long bow, or even better, a spear, can the bait-bashers (not just non-bait users) love that someone?

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from Tony Berg wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Dukkillr - C'mon man. Self righteous, Ego, you don't even know me. If people want to hunt deer over legally baited areas that is their decision. I have no problem with it. But, you are altering the environment and the deers patterns. ethical, OK. But fair chase, absolutely not. And its not ego, its having a sense of pride in putting the effort and time into scouting a large buck, learning his patterns and setting up in the best place possible for just a chance at the perfect bow shot. If you want to bait deer and fill the freezer with does to feed the family, great. I don't think that shooting a large buck over bait should allow you to gain Pope and Young credentials per the use of electronic devices to attract game. Just something to think about.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

You can't bait in Tennessee so I have always thought of corn as cheating. I voted no. Now that I have read all the opinions it does seem kind of silly to draw a distinction between hunting over a pile of corn or acorns or Tink's 69 or whatever legal method you use.

But it is the law and if they can distinguish between those things I can too. I guess it is what you get used to. I wouldn't hunt deer with dogs either, but for some reason it seems fine to hunt birds with them.

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

It kind of worries me that some folks are saying that not harvesting an animal is failing, and that its all about killing. Great fuel for the anti's.

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from Daniel Allison wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

The question is not is it fair chase, but is it hunting or harvesting, in my opinion. Using bait or feeders is not hunting, but it is harvesting. You have cultivated the crop and then you harvest it. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact it is a necessary tool to manage the herd. I prefer to hunt and I don't get as many deer as harverters do, but they don't get the thrill of the chase that I get and they certainly never get as intimate with their prey as I do. I also admit that I do a poor job of managing the herd that way. I hunt on the ground and play by the deer's rules. Many times the deer win. On the other hand I know where the deer eat, sleep and drink. I get to know them well. I only want one deer a year as there are just two of us to eat it. I don't miss many years of getting a deer. If every one hunted it would be very bad for the deer herds as they would over populate and be sickly and might even be less of them due to disease and starvation. I raised my children and grand children with my beliefs on hunting and harvesting. I don't look down on them or any others that harvest, but I have taken them hunting also.
What is great is that we can agree to disagree in an agreeable manner. Good topic.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I love it when people write "hunting over a farmers corn, soybean, oats, winter wheat field is not baiting" How did you figure that one Zeek? If deer weren't attracted to those crop fields would you still build shanties on stilts all around them? C'mon Zeek, if you're gonna lie at least do it quick!

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from Tony Berg wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Walt Smith- I don't know how big the fields are in your area but where I live they are 40 to 200 acres. The deer normally have several entrance and egress places and use the size of the field to their advantage. I have never seen "shanties/Stilts" anywhere ever. Secondly, those fields are available to the deer 24 hours a day unlike your timed feeder that trains deer to be in a small area at a certain time for an easy meal. I come from a farming family and i actually try to hunt away from standing corn. The deer in there will win every time when you have a bow. In addition, those fields have been there for years and will be there for years. More or less they have become the habitat. Your automated feeders alter the environment not to mention the deers natural instincts. seriously. The saddest thing is that most people who "push" deer, use automated feeders, run dogs, shoot from vehicles never learn these things about deer. They don't get to see them up close and see how they act. Missing out on watching rubs get made, bucks fight, yearlings play tag, a grunt, a bleet, even a snort. I love being in the woods and hunting, not just the killing. I would spend all season in the woods just to see a large buck make a rub and plot a strategy to get close enough for a bow shot. Pope and Young fair chase rules specify no electronic attractant.

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from Ncarl wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I voted no mostly because deer dont naturally come to bait piles. But besides that I dont understand why people want to hunt deer over bait it takes the chase aspect out of it. Also bait piles can spread CWD with all the deer feeding is a small area. Now, if you hunt over a bait pile I have no problem with the way you hunt because any type of hunter is better than an Anti hunter.

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from JCSoutdoorsman wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I am kind of 50/50 when it comes to this topic.

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

How many of you that are whineing about my feeder not being fairchase use sent blocker HD clothes and tinks and/or the other 4 million sent LURES and decoys ect.? I really don't see why you all (the one throwingg personal atacks) are getting so angry at everyone who disagrees with you. And the Antis are going to cry no matter what. The hunting of deer usualy means killing at least one, that is why we carry skinning knifes and things like that. Do I have feeders? yes. But to tell the truth I don't think I have ever killed a deer at a feeder. So wait does that make it unethical?

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

So I asked my girlfriend the difference, in her opinion, between a foodplot a farmers field and corn or apples dumped on the ground. She thought that a food plot and a pile of feed were the same thing, but the farmers field, was different in her eyes. I don't disagree. To hunt a fence line or a funnle is strategic. The same said about a bedding, staging, or feeding areas. Completely fair chase. But to create a feeding area to bring the deer to you seems like an attempt to not have to find these strategic vantage points in the woods.
That said there are different levels of every sport, different competitors bring their own strategies, and their own level of skill to each game. Are they game basics the same between rec league and major league baseball? Yes, and I don't discredit anyone who enjoys spending their free time deer hunting, but I do say that the skill levels are not the same between patterning a whitetails natural route, and baiting it to you by offering it up it's daily bread. And I swallow my pride to say I have tried it both ways.

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from Calsdadhunting wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I feel like the fact that it's questioned is all the answer I need. No one will question if still hunting or stalking are fair chase or ethical. Yet baiting and food plots (which I view as being very similar) are definitely questioned on both accounts. Don't get me wrong about food plots, I do believe they are good for providing vital nutrients for deer, I just don't agree with hunting off of them (or around them). I guess its one thing to hunt near fields that are growing food for human consumption (such as soybeans or corn) as opposed to those grown to simply draw in deer (such as chicory or clover). I know this can be debatable, but honestly I don't do either, so I leave it up to you to debate. To me it is just unfair and unethical to hunt deer that are conditioned to go to feed at a particular place, and time. The fact that we are even able to debate the ethics of this style of hunting - says a lot.

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from wildartstech wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I'd say no way! I'm not so apposed to give someone a hard time about it but if you ask I'll tell you, Lame! Hunting over a bait pile is lame! Get up and at least try to act like you want to predate something. I'm under the opinion that shooting them over a bait pile isn't much different than shooting a free range cow over a trough. Would you consider that hunting? If you need food, fine! Emphasis on NEED. If you're like the majority, like I said... if you do it, you're still OK in my book but I think it takes all the fun out of hunting.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Let me preface my remarks with the fact that I don't do either. I don't have the desire to turn my property into a food plot and I am too lazy/cheap to bait deer, which is legal in my area.

I could care less either way, but some of the comments on this thread defy all logic!

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Correction. I ment to say in my last post Supposedly can't smell you instead of "can't smell you".

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from Hank111 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Great comment JOHNR, I can't think of a thing to add to that.

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from joejv4 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I'll say no. It's illegal here (so are salt-licks), so I don't do it. I don't use scent block or estrus scent, I wear blaze orange hat and vest, I sometimes sit in a tree stand, sometimes still hunt and sometimes stalk. On the years I am successful (not every year), it is because I had some time ahead of the season to do some scouting and plan my hunts. Years I'm unsuccessful, are the years where time didn't permit for me to scout and I just had to "wing-it". Oh yeah, I'm too cheap to buy trail cams too, so I'm not letting a gadget do my scouting for me. I've made a point to walk and learn every foot of the few properties I have permission to hunt (all 50 acres or less) so that I know where the trails to/from bedding/feeding areas are, so that I can hopefully catch them on the move.

Food plots are too much hassle for me, and like I said, baiting is illegal here, so I have to rely on learning where travel routes are and being along one when they are moving. I think what I do is fair chase and ethical. I think that hunting over bait is ethical as well, but to me, does not qualify as "fair-chase"

I see a distinct, fundamental difference between a meat-hunter and a trophy hunter.

Someone simply looking for meat in the freezer and doesn't care about a huge rack - if bait is legal, then by all means, use it to help feed your family. Ethical, but still not fair-chase to me.

A guy looking to put a monster buck that can brag about on the wall... I'd have a tough time impressing my buddies when I tell them "y'all should have been there when i dropped him over my pile of corn 15 yards from my stand. He just stood there broadside to me for 5 minutes eating that corn. Easiest shot I've ever taken". I know if someone told me that story, I'd be less than impressed. Certainly not fair-chase, and borderline on the ethical side of things. I say that because if you would find yourself less than proud and maybe even a little embarrassed in bragging about your monster without omitting parts of the story (like the pile of corn you've been refreshing every day for 2 months), or embellishing other parts (make it seem like it was a difficult shot), then you're kidding yourself along with whomever you are telling your modified story to... less than ethical.

I guess the closest thing I can compare trophy hunting over bait to, would be the MLB players with home-run records, who also have an asterisk next to their names because they did it while on steroids. They still had to hit all those pitches, but their records are tainted by steroids. I could shoot a world record buck someday, but if I did it over bait, I'd feel like my name should have an asterisk next to it.

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from 007 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

If food plots and feeders are such a big advantage, why is it that the buck I was watching for in my food plots never arrived until well after shooting light and I never got an archery shot when hunting near the feeder I had hung out? There's more to it than just shooting. I don't go to lunch at the same time every day, do you? I voted yes, of course.

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from Dalton Stephenson wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I do not consider them fair chase. But I like to keep it more natural and old school. Someone made the comment about hunting not being worth it if you only get the kill every 3 or 4 years, but to me thats all right. Hunting isnt about the killing, its about HUNTING. Being in nature and putting of my knowledge of the wild to the test. If I used bait, a trail cam, or things the like, I feel like I used the answer key. But for me, hunting is a spiritual endeavor.

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Maine is a state that is illegal to bait in. Would it be fair to say that Maine inland fisheries and wildlife doesn't consider baiting deer fair chase? Or possibly they view it as a method that harvests too many deer, making it a "more productive" easier way to hunt. I'm not sure what their reasons are, but either way, to each his own, I'll stick to my other methods. And good luck to everyone, no matter your hunting practices come this hunting season!

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from Gary Devine wrote 27 weeks 4 days ago

If you’re State or Province Fish and Game Law states baiting deer is legal then it is fair chase.

It is perfectly legal to bait deer in Saskatchewan, Canada and I hunted there five times. Every guided deer camp baits in Saskatchewan.

I will not hunt Saskatchewan hoping that a buck will walk by while the entire Saskatchewan hunting fraternity is hunting over peas, oaks and corn placed there by their deer guide.

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from icantdrive55 wrote 27 weeks 4 days ago

The question can't be answered as asked because it's not a binary, that is, not a yes or no answer. It's more like a continuum with illegal on one side and fair chase on the other with legal and ethical in the middle and no defined points in between them.

So depending on your culture, your capabilities as a hunter, your local available resource to hunt, the answer may fall for each individual somewhere along the range between illegal and fair chase.

Hopefully we as hunters are always looking to push ourselves to the fair chase side of the continuum scale because it's more sporting and more challenging to do so. But if you are just putting food on the table, and or don't have the capabilities to still hunt through a swamp, as an example, then ethical or fair chase will mean something different to you than to me or someone else. And that's ok.

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from mexhunter wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

i have never acctually hunted deer from bait piles so I really dont know how much the crowd to the bait and how easy it is to lure them in, yet spraying corn near a blind or stand the nights before has brought deer to me pretty well. still those deer are ussually young, careless deer since corn is thrown by hand.

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Sorry wa-mtnhunter I had to do it.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

So which 50% do the dipsticks who gave me all the minus-1's belong to? LMAO!

"Ah say, ah, it's a joke there, boy!" - Foghorn Leghorn

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

The poll results show that about 50% of deer hunters are dipsticks.

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