The Department of Conservation reminds hunters to be aware of baiting regulations during the fall deer and turkey hunting seasons. The use of bait, including grain or other feed placed or scattered to attract deer or turkey, while hunting is illegal.
The regulations are in place to help limit the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer and to ensure fair chase. An area is considered baited for 10 days after complete removal of the bait, according to Protection Division Chief Randy Doman.
“It’s important to note a hunter can be in violation if they take or attempt to take a deer or turkey by the aid of bait where the hunter knows or should know the area is or has been baited,” Doman explained. “It’s also illegal to place bait in such a way that it causes other hunters to be in violation of the baiting rule.”
Additional rules apply if hunting in a CWD Management Zone. There are 30 counties in the management zone for the 2020-2021 deer seasons. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Department of Conservation has transitioned its mandatory CWD sampling to voluntary sampling this year.
Doe urine and other scents, such as apple, acorn and persimmon, are allowed to attract deer while hunting, as long as they are not used on or with grain and other food products.
Mineral blocks, including salt, are not considered bait. However, mineral blocks that contain grain or other food additives are prohibited. MDC notes that mineral and salt blocks are not allowed on conservation areas.
While it is legal to hunt over a harvested crop field, it is illegal to add grain or other crops, such as apples, to the field after it has been harvested.
Manipulating crops, such as mowing or knocking them down, is not considered baiting for deer and turkey.
“Having these regulations in place keep deer from concentrating in one small area, thus limiting the potential of CWD transmission,” Doman said.
Find more information on CWD and hunting regulations from MDC’s 2020 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations & Information Booklet, available where permits are sold and online.
Hunters are also encouraged to contact their local conservation agent or MDC regional office for additional questions or concerns.