Wisconsin Reminds Hunters to Review Baiting Rules

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Deer hunters who hunt over bait should review Wisconsin's deer baiting and feeding rules prior to deer hunting, according to state wildlife managers and conservation wardens.

"Currently, 26 Wisconsin counties do not allow baiting or feeding of deer at any time of year due to wildlife disease concerns," said Keith Warnke, big game ecologist for the state Department of Natural Resources. "In the remaining counties baiting and feeding of deer is allowed with a 2 gallon limit."

"The way in which hunters place their 2 gallons of legal bait, what is legal bait, and timing are all important," said DNR Conservation Warden Thomas Van Haren. "The rules in the hunting regulations apply to both public and private lands."

All baiting and feeding of deer is prohibited in: Adams, Calumet, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marquette, Milwaukee, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Vernon, Walworth, Waukesha and Waushara counties.

But there are other options for attracting deer in counties closed to baiting and feeding, say wildlife officials. Hunters may use scent to attract deer as long as it is placed in a way that it is not accessible to deer, although up to 2 ounces of scent may be placed in any manner, even if accessible to deer. It is also allowable to hunt over naturally deposited materials such as acorns, crops planted and left standing as wildlife food plots, and food made available as a result of normal agricultural planting and harvesting operations in those counties. Details on amounts of scent and how it may be placed are available in the 2007 Deer Hunting Regulations.

In counties where it is legal to bait deer for hunting, it is also legal to feed deer for recreational viewing near residences and places of business say wildlife officials. Each owner occupied residence or a business may place up to 2 gallons of feed within 50 yards of the residence or business. Also, no bait or feed may be placed within 100 yards of a roadway with a posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour or more to reduce the chance of car-deer collisions. If any bear or elk begin using a deer feeding site, the owner must remove the feed for a period of at least 30 days, before they may resume feeding deer.

"There is nothing that can take the place of preseason scouting for a successful opening weekend hunt," says Warnke. "Deer change their patterns over time and what was once a good deer stand may not be so good anymore due to changes in the forest cover or changes on neighboring lands. Putting in the early legwork can be fun and enjoyable and extends the hunting experience. It can also be a time to renew landowner permissions or locate new hunting lands."

Details on amounts of scent, bait or feed and how it may be placed for hunting or recreational viewing purposes are available in the 2007 Deer Hunting Regulations or in a special Wisconsin Deer Baiting and Wildlife Feeding Regulations publication.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke, big game biologist, (608) 264-6023 or Thomas Van Haren, conservation warden, (608) 266-3244