As a rule, deer biologists tend to hate baiting. But in a likely unprecedented move by a state game agency, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department is asking the state legislature to help them legalize baiting in the state. According to this AP story, biologists are struggling so mightily to control whitetail populations that they’re looking to add another strategy to their toolbox.
It’s important to note that in this case, officials intend to limit the use of bait to urban areas or other deer-control hotspots. Their hope is to be able to lure deer to spots where the animals would be more vulnerable to harvest, and to areas where shooting is safer. No plans seem to be in the works to legalize baiting on a broad basis at this time.
This is an interesting move, and one I’ll keep an eye on. I’ve talked to urban deer control specialists that recognize the effectiveness of baiting and rely on it as a valued tool. Still, I can’t help but wonder if, given a taste of baiting, the state’s deer hunters will ask for an expansion of the practice down the road.