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Is bait hunting fair chase?

November 2002 BGH Poll:
Is bait hunting fair chase?

Several states ban the use of bait when hunting big game particularly in regards to bear hunting, the usual reason being that bait hunting is not fair chase.

Recently Wisconsin also joined the no baiting states as well and have had problems with hunters ignoring the ban.

Wisconsin Baiting Ban Ignored

Is baiting an efficient way to bag game or is it breaking the rules of fair chase?

[ This Message was edited by: moderator on 2002-11-04 17:27 ]

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Is bait hunting fair chase?

Incendiary issue, to be sure...I'm sure there'll be a lot of posts on this one.

The one time in my life I agreed with an animal rights activist centered on this issue. I was working in Glacier Park, MT, and had a friend that was somewhat left of center (i.e. Defenders of Wildlife member). There was a strip of land on the South edge of the park at the bottom of a valley between the park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Burlington Northern had tracks through there, and a year or two before a carload of corn had derailed, spilling corn everywhere. Most had been cleaned up, but there were still huge piles of fermenting corn left over.

The site was accessible by car, and only required about a 100 yd walk down the tracks. We went there one night and spotted 5 black bears within stone-throwing distance, half drunk on the corn. The subject of upcoming bear season arose, and I agreed to help my friend circulate a successful petition to shut down that year's bear hunting in that portion of that particular valley.

He thought it odd that a hunter would help him with this. Those of you who've read my other posts on the issue would no doubt have a tough time believing it, too. But Montana is a no-baiting state and it seemed pretty thin for a hunter to claim this wasn't using bait. As conservative as I am, I didn't want my anti-hunting friend to have a cause to champion in the media, nor did I want a fellow hunter to wind up on the wrong side of a fuzzy legal definition after the fact.

But that's the stalk hunter with a Montana perspective in me talking. I realize this is an intensely personal choice among hunters, and in large part can be a reflection of local culture and hunting conditions. In heavily hunted areas where I've lived, there's something to be said for stationary hunters watching bait piles versus hot tempers, accidents, and lost game associated with hundreds of stalk hunters running into each other.

[ This Message was edited by: expatriate on 2002-11-04 18:44 ]

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Is bait hunting fair chase?

Well this is definitely going to be an interesting topic, as I write this the votes are pretty much split 50-50.

I understand what you are saying Expatriate. There is little that will get an animal rights activist (or even the general public) more wound up than "canned hunting" or even something that may resemble canned hunting. (Although as a side note, is there anything more canned than a slaughter house? But yet the vast majority have no problem patronizing McDonalds. Irony? Probably.) The cliche "shooting fish in a barrel" seems to get everybody wound up.

But back to the main line. Is bait hunting fair chase? I look at putting out a bait pile as similar to hunting an active water hole within an arid climate. The bait pile and the water hole will both attract your quarry. Both make the hunt easier and both increase your chase of filling your tag.

So from this perspective, hunting a bait pile is no different than hunting a water hole. Therefore I'd have to say it is fair chase, although not as much of a "chase" as I would like. Personally I've never hunted with bait, not because I have something against, but because it wasn't how I was taught to hunt. I grew up with a bunch of "spot and stalk" types.

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2002-11-04 22:26 ]

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Is bait hunting fair chase?

in all honestly, how can a person with a gun put out a pail of food to a hungry deer and then shoot it while it is eating, and then call themselves a hunter?.
my idea of hunting is just what it says, "HUNTING" Scout the land, get out before daylight and stay out til dark, They still have all the odds in their favor, but I have the weapon and i owe them a fair chance.
Grizzly and boar are a different subject, I've never hunted them but from what i've read, i want all the odds in my favor. hand grenades or what ever it takes

[ This Message was edited by: 12ga. mag. on 2002-11-05 13:40 ]

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Is bait hunting fair chase?

12ga:
In some of the places I've lived, bait hunting for deer is like ice fishing. Of all the bait piles in the woods, I hope he comes to mine.

I personally tend to agree with you that bait hunting isn't hunting. But obviously the results of the survey, although not scientific, suggest my assumptions about the sport aren't as universal as I thought.

Everybody has their own ethical line in the sand that they won't cross. The problem is that hunters are a diverse group and there's no standardized "ethics" of the sport. When you get right down to it, this debate could include other topics, like:

Scopes/binoculars
Dogs
Cow calls, doe scent, bugles, etc
Antler rattling
Camouflage

All these things either give you an unnatural advantage or use the animal's behavior against itself -- same as baiting.

Bit points out the other gray area. Is it ethical to hunt over naturally-occurring water, salt licks, or food sources like apple orchards? If the apple orchard is alongside a road, is it ethical for me to pick up apples from the orchard and place them in a pile a quarter mile away where I can take a shot?

The difference is where you draw your ethical line. Different state laws reflect the range of ethical boundaries in our sport. For example, in Montana you can't hunt with bait, recorded game calls, radios, or cel phones. That's not the case in other states.

But as I said, I think baiting's over my personal line, and I didn't hunt when I lived in areas where everyone baited.

[ This Message was edited by: expatriate on 2002-11-05 14:52 ]

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Is bait hunting fair chase?

Here in Louisiana many of us bait, but some of us feed deer. What I mean is we put out feed almost year round. I have feeders in the woods but don't hunt over them. I feed from early summer to late winter but stay out of the woods during the spring.

One other thing, baiting only works if you bait a spot where the deer live.

cob
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Is bait hunting fair chase?

I don't like the idea of baiting. It's kinda like the discussion about using a guide, it just takes the sport out of it. I had a roomate in college that showed me pictures of huge mulies on the ranch he grew up on. Some of the pictures were great closeups. I asked him if he had and expensive camera, he said "no we had a feeder not far from the house and as long as there was food on the ground you could get real close to them and they wouldn't spook, they were more like pets than wild animals" fortunately they didn't hunt those deer. Thats just the image i've got of hunting over a bait pile. Sneak up to the feeder and pick out your deer. I know it sounds easier than it is most of the time but it still takes some of the challenge and fun out of it.

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Is bait hunting fair chase?

Hunt4fud, welcome!

The problem with this issue is what does "fair chase" mean. Fair chase is a moving target (pardon the pun) with respect to time.

Consider that relative to pre-rifle, pre-compound bow days, everything today is "unfair" (Expatriate was hitting on this). I got a kick out of one of Expatriates other posts about spear hunting in AL! Can you imagine? That would be a challenge!

This is a bit off topic, but I draw the line when a hunting practice causes torture to the animal. In the end death is equal, but the path to death is not. For instance capital punishment is generally considered "OK" by lethal injection, but less support death by slow drowning or "eye-for-an-eye" methods.

So for me, baiting does not cause torture in and of itself, therefore I'm for it even if it does make the chase easier.

cob
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Is bait hunting fair chase?

I saw this gizmo in walmart yesterday that i don't know what to think about. it a little pocket-sized speaker that when you push the button it sounds like a deer feeder. you're supposed to set up a feeder on a timer all year and train the deer to think there is going to be food there when they hear it. then when the season starts go sit on your stand and push your little button and wait for them to show up. That doesn't sound fair or fun.

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Is bait hunting fair chase?

How's this for fair chase? The following is no kidding, an actual excerpt from Alabama's 2002-2003 hunting regulations:

"Spear: DEER and FERAL SWINE may be taken by hand thrown spear during the open Bow and Arrow season on these species. The hand thrown spear shall have a sharpened blade a minimum of two inches in width. The spear shall only be hand thrown."

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Is bait hunting fair chase?

Cob, your kidding right? I'd say if a person is getting to the point where they are buying game calls that sounds like their deer feeder, they are taking this food plot stuff a little to seriously. If any of you out there are seriously considering buying this product, please: rattle some antlers, buy a deer decoy, squirt some doe piss on yourself, but for God's sake don't go buy a game call that sounds like a deer feeder! Yikes!

Expatriate, that spear hunting sounds SWEET! I think I'm going to pick up some javelin lessons and head down to AL's archery season some time. That has to be damn tough, I can't imagine stalking a buck, then jumping out of the bushes armed with a SPEAR! Might as well be a large butterfly net!

Are harpoons legal too? Think about it, harpoon your game, run the rope back to your vehicle then drag it out!

Spear hunting is definitely fair chase, harpoons are too as long as they are not atv or vehicle mounted.

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