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Deer baiting has always been a controversial topic. Practiced by thousands of hunters across North America, deer baiting has been labeled as a lazy style of hunting by some. Needless to say, hunters are sharply divided on the use of deer bait. And with 50 states making up the US, each with its own laws, deer baiting is not a universally accepted practice.
Of the 50, 22 states have legalized the use of deer baits either in selected parts or in the entire state. On the other hand, the remaining 28 states do not allow deer baiting. 14 of the 22 states that allow deer baiting allow it state wide while the remaining 8 only allow the practice in specific parts.
Irrespective of your opinions on the subject, it is important that you know and understands your state’s deer baiting laws. Equally important it is important to know your state’s deer bating laws of 2018-2019 as some states may be planning to either legalize or prohibit the practice.
In this article, I will be exploring the legal stand of different states on deer baiting. As such, I will be answering some common questions such as What are the restrictions on Deer Baiting. Also, which are the states allow deer baiting partially but with some restriction? After reading this, you will know the deer baiting laws in every state.
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Deer Baiting Law Infographic - A Quick Glance Of All States Deer Baiting Law
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Alabama has the highest population density of deer in the US, with the all the state’s 67 counties having substantial deer presence. This being the case, the state is frequented by hunters from all over the country. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which side of the divide you fall, deer baiting is illegal in Alabama. Thus, contrary to what you might have heard, deer baiting is still illegal. However, it is worth pointing out that the Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill that will make hunting deer and hunting wild hogs over bait legal. This bill is yet to be made into law, meaning deer baiting is still not legal.
According to Alabama laws on deer baiting, hunters can hunt using bait on condition that the bait is 100 yards away from them and is not within their line of sight. As per the law, any feed or bait placed 100 yards away from a hunter is presumed not to be a lure. Therefore, to use bait, two conditions must be met. One the feed must be 100 yards from where you are or are hunting from and two the feed must not be within your line of sight due to natural vegetation
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Generally speaking, deer baiting in Arizona is illegal. Nevertheless, the law does make some exceptions. According to the law, it is illegal for anyone to use an edible or ingestible substance to aid them in the hunting of big game. Also, the use of lure or attractants whether it be scent based or containing cervide urine is unlawful.
Arkansas is another state where deer baiting is technically illegal. However, similar to both Alabama and Arizona you can use deer baits in certain circumstances. Under deer baiting laws in Arkansas placing salts, grain or any other feed to attract deer to an area of hunting is baiting. If you wish to use deer bait you have to wait until September. The law allows hunters to use deer baits on private land between September 1 and December 31. As of 2017, it is now illegal to use scent-based deer lures made from deer or elk urine. However, food plots are still permissible. Also, between the September 1 and December 31, you can use deer bait in CWD management zones. The latter are the special zones established by the state to control the spread of the Chronic Wasting Disease.
In Colorado is entirely illegal to use deer baits. In fact, the law does not care whether you are the one who placed the bait or not. Baiting in Colorado is defined as putting, scattering, distributing or exposing salt, mineral, food, grain, animal parts for attracting big game.
Laws on deer bating are a little bit more complicated in Connecticut. Deer baiting is prohibited in certain private and state hunting zones. Nevertheless, during the statewide deer hunting seasons, deer baiting is allowed with some conditions. During the archery seasons from September 15 to December 15, only deer decoys are allowed. Apart from deer decoys, the law does allow the use of scent attractants that are not edible during the statewide hunting season. Sound-based attractants are also allowed during this period. Hunting over planted fields are also allowed. Apart from these lures, edible chemical and mineral lures are allowed during the archery, shotgun/rifle, and muzzleloader seasons. The latter season is from September 15 to December 31. The lures can only be used on private lands.
In Delaware, you can use deer baits to hunt big game in private lands only. In other areas, it is prohibited to use deer baits.
Another state with somewhat complicated laws on baiting is Florida. According to the laws using bait including plant, fields is prohibited. The only exception to this law is hunting migratory animals over year-round feeding stations. For a station to be considered year-round, it must be maintained with feeds for at least six months before hunting game. The international feeding of bears is also prohibited.
The ga deer baiting law defines baiting as scattering, distributing, exposing and placing attractants or lure so as to entice big game. Baits can include corn, wheat, salts, other grains, apples, and other feeds. It is legal to hunt deer over bait in private lands in the following counties; Harris, Taylor, Peach, Talbot, Houston, Wilkinson, Twiggs, Washington, Jefferson, and Burke. It is also legal to hunt using bait on private lands in all counties South of the above-stated counties. It is; however, illegal to use deer baits in the following counties; Troup, Upson, Meriwether, Bibb, Crawford, Jones, Baldwin, Hancock, Warren, Glascock, McDuffie, and Richmond. Also, it is illegal to use deer baits in all counties North of these. In the latter counties, you can use deer bait if the lure is 200 yards away from you and out of your line of sight.
If you are thinking of using bait to hunt in Idaho, you better re-think that plan. This Northwestern state does not allow baiting. The deer baiting laws in Idaho prohibit the use of any attractants for hunting whether they be in a liquid or solid state. However, liquid scents can be used for hunting deer and elk
Similar to Idaho, Illinois has a pretty tough stand on deer baiting. In Illinois use of attractants or lure when hunting deer is illegal. However, there are exceptions to this law. Elevated bird or squirrel feeders located 100 feet from your home are not prohibited. Additionally, incidental feeding of wildlife within active livestock areas is not illegal. The same goes for the feeding of any other wild animal apart from deer by hand. And so are feeders designed for other animals apart from deer.
Another state that does not allow deer baiting is Indiana. The deer baiting laws Indiana make using of snares. Lures, baits and even dog when deer hunting illegal. Under the law, a bait is anything that is transported to a hunting area for deer consumption. Furthermore, an area is considered to be baited ten days after the removal of the bait and any affected soil.
Similar to Indiana, in Iowa, it is illegal to use baits, dogs or any other domesticated animal for deer hunting purposes. Bait is defined as salt, grain, mineral blocks, or any other natural food materials placed or transported to an area for purposes of attracting wildlife. It is important to note that livestock feed placed during natural agricultural activities are not considered bait.
Kansas is a state with a long hunting heritage. That being said, deer baiting laws in Kansas allow for the use of bait when hunting deer, turkey on private lands. When hunting in department lands or in Walk-in Hunting Access lands baiting is prohibited.
In Kentucky, baiting is prohibited in all Wildlife Management Areas and also in the Big South Fork National River. In addition to these areas, the use of bait is prohibited in the recreational area, Daniel Boone National Forest. Jefferson National Forest and land between the lakes. Also, you cannot use bait in state parks open for hunting. Deer baiting in all public lands and parks is illegal.
The deer baiting laws in Louisiana are pretty straightforward. It is illegal to use deer baits on all wildlife management areas.
To Maine now where the deer baiting laws in Maine are also straightforward. According to the laws, use of bait to hunt deer is illegal between June 1 and December 15. The exception is when you use an observation point or blind overlooking standing crops and foods left by natural occurrence or by agricultural operations.
Maryland is one of the states where deer baiting is legal. But as is with other such states there is an exception. While baiting is legal, as per the deer baiting laws Maryland deer baiting is legal except in state-owned lands and CDW lands and in Liberty, Loch Raven, and Pretty Boy reservoirs.
As per the 2018 deer hunting regulations, deer baiting is illegal. The regulations provide that it is illegal to use bait and electronic calls to hunt deer
In the Alcona, Alpena, Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Montmorency, Oscoda, and Shiawassee counties, deer baiting is illegal. In all the other counties of deer baiting, laws in Michigan allow baiting on certain conditions. First, baiting can only be done between September 15 and January 1. Second, the bait used should not exceed two gallons. Thirdly, the area baited should be over a minimum of 10 feet by 10 feet.
Since 1991 the Department of Natural Resources has made deer baiting in Minnesota illegal. As a way of controlling the spread of the Chronic Wasting Disease, baiting has been banned in most counties. In particular deer baiting and feeding is prohibited in all South East counties as well as in Central, and North Central counties.
Mississippi, on the other hand, has also outlawed the use of deer baits. The deer baiting laws in Mississippi prohibit the use of baits in the form of food in National Forests lands. It is also illegal to use bait when hunting any wild animal. As per the law, liquid scents are not classified as lures.
Deer baiting in Missouri is illegal. Nevertheless, there are certain things that are not considered to be bait. Doe urine and other scents can be used on condition that grains or other food materials are not added. Apart from doe urine mineral blocks and salt can also be used when hunting. It is also legal to hunt over a harvested field.
Montana is one of the states where deer baiting is illegal. According to the laws, it is illegal for you to try and use any kind of bait when hunting deer or any other animal. Bait includes grains, salt, trap, snare and even set gun.
It is illegal to establish baiting area ten days from the start of any big game season. During the season bait can only be used if you are 200 yards outside the baited area. This also applies to the game you are hunting.
Nevada, on the other hand, maintains zero tolerance to deer baiting. In this regard, it is illegal to use baits when hunting big mammals deer included. Baiting in Nevada means intentionally distributing, scattering, depositing or placing, salt, grains, corn, minerals to attract wildlife. Source: (http://www.eregulations.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/17NVHD_LR2.pdf)
If you want to hunt with the aid of bait in New-Hampshire you must apply for a permit before October 1. The permit is to allow you to use bait on a specific piece of property or land. This permit can be given to two other people to allow them to hunt. Once you get the permit, you must post a sign with your name and address in the hunting area. Irrespective of whether you have a permit, baiting is prohibited between April 15 and August 31. This is as per NH deer baiting laws.
Though baiting in New Jersey is legal, there are certain places where it is not. In National Wildlife Refuges and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, baiting is illegal. Hunting on National Wildlife Refuge Areas is prohibited on Sundays.
Hunting in New Mexico is done without the aid of baits and lures. This is because the practice is illegal in the state. The only exception to this law is the hunting of quail on private lands. It is worth noting that you are allowed to use scent-masking substances.
For New York hunters, use of bait is illegal. The prohibition of bait applies to hunters of deer, waterfowl, turkey and upland game birds. Therefore, deer baiting is illegal in the state.
Placement of minerals for attracting big game is legal in North Carolina. Nevertheless, the use of bait is prohibited in areas with established black bear hunting seasons and on game lands. Also, processed foods are not permitted as bait.
Hunting with the aid of bait in North Dakota is illegal in all department wildlife management areas. In addition to this, it is also not allowed to hunt over bait in all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges. This also applies to hunting in all North Dakota state forest service lands, and state park.
Is deer baiting Ohio legal? Well in private lands it is perfectly okay to use bait. The same cannot be said when it comes to public lands. The use of bait in public lands is outlawed. Moreover, the use of bait in the designated disease surveillance area is illegal.
Hunting laws in Oklahoma make it unlawful for anyone to hunt over bait in lands owned and managed by the department of wildlife conservation. It is; however, legal to use mineral blocks and artificial scents such as urine. What is not allowed is the use of mineral blocks containing grains, oats, corn or other grains.
Use of bait in Oregon is lawful. Thus, you can use both food based and scent-based attractants for hunting. What is not allowed is the use of bait in the North Bank Habitat Management Area.
All over Pennsylvania deer baiting is prohibited with the exception of one area, the Southeast Special Regulation Area. As a hunter, you can hunt using bait in this area on condition that you have a permit. This applies to private landowners as well. The pa deer baiting laws allow baiting in properties enrolled under the state’s deer depredation program.
Baiting and feeding of the big game for whatever reasons, hunting included, is unlawful in Rhode-island. This is as per the 2017-1018 Rhode Island hunting regulations that classify the use of electronic calls, and feeding and baiting of deer under prohibited hunting activities.
South Carolina allows the use of bait in private lands only. On all wildlife management areas, the use of bait for hunting big game is prohibited.
The use of baits and the use of blinds, scaffold or other devices near a bait is not allowed in South Dakota. In particular, the state prohibits the use and maintenance of a device near bait from August 15 to February 1. This applies to both hunters and animal watchers. It is also illegal to use a bait in lands owned by the GFP and in state parks and state recreation areas.
The deer baiting laws in Tennessee have always been somewhat vague. However, the Tennessee Wildlife Regulations Agency has made things clear. As per the TWRA no person is allowed to use bait for purposes of hunting wildlife.
Texas law defines bait as any vegetation, food material, mineral and other food substances used to lure wildlife. The practice is legal in private lands, except in certain East Texas counties. Also, migratory birds are out of bounds for bait hunters.
Unlike all the other state I have discussed above, Utah has never had regulations on deer baiting. In fact, Utah’s hunting regulations have remained mum on the subject since 1955. Nevertheless, there is a perception among hunters that baiting is legal in private lands. Others opine that the practice is illegal on public lands. Nonetheless, both the 2017 and 2018-2019 hunting guide books are silent on the practice
For Vermont hunters, use of bait during any hunting season is unlawful. Bait includes any animal, traps, snares, lures, salt licks, jacks or any other lights. Lures containing cervid urine or any other bodily fluids are also outlawed. Incidental feeding of wildlife within active livestock farming areas is not considered baiting. And so are food plots left standing for wildlife. In addition, grains or other foods scattered during normal agricultural activities are not considered bait.
The deer baiting laws in VA define bait as any food, salt, minerals or other consumable materials that can be used as a lure or attractant. The deer baiting laws in Virginia do not categorize food plots as bait. With this in mind, it is illegal to use bait in Virginia or occupy a blind with bait or any other baited place for purposes of hunting.
You cannot use bait to hunt deer or elk in Washington. Common agricultural practices, and food available from undisturbed wild or planted vegetation are not considered bait. Also, scent blockers and non-consumable scent based attractants are not considered bait. Naturally occurring mineral deposits are not also considered bait
Generally, it is illegal to hunt deer or any other big game using bait in West-Virginia. Deer baiting laws in WV go as far as to prohibit the use of ATV for baiting deer. As with many other states, it is unlawful to use bait in containment areas.
In Wisconsin, there are those counties where baiting is allowed, and there are those where the practice is not. In the following counties baiting is not allowed; Vilas, Oneida, Forest, Oconto, Menominee, Shawano, Marathon, Eau Claire, Wood, Portage, Waupaca, Juneau, Adams, Marquette, Vernon, Crawford, Grant, Richland, Sauk, Iowa, Columbia, Dane, Lafayette, Green, Rock, Jefferson, Waukesha, Walworth. In the other counties where it is allowed deer baiting laws, Wisconsin has put a two-gallon bait limit as of 2017.
No one is allowed to use bait in Wyoming. But as is with other state’s there is an exception to the law. Persons in wheelchairs, blind persons and persons hunting with a permit can use bait to lure big game.
Different states have different deer baiting laws, as is evident above. Additionally, some counties have their own deer baiting and hunting regulations. This means that before you go hunting make sure you understand the deer baiting regulations of your county and state.