Alabama state Sen. Myron Penn recently introduced a bill in that state’s legislature that would make it legal for hunters to bait deer.
Penn said the change is needed to keep Alabama hunters from going to other states to hunt,
In this part of the state, hunting is king where cotton used to be. So many government officials are spending all of their time today trying to bring new industries to their towns, but I think the first thing we have to do is make the most of what we’ve already got. We have great hunting opportunities here, and we can’t make the most of them with so many people traveling out of state to hunt in places where baiting is already legal.
According to the Ledger-Enquirer, 26 states currently allow baiting of deer, including Alabama neighbor Georgia.
Groups opposed to baiting, such as the Alabama Wildlife Foundation, argue that baiting increases the risk of spreading diseases such as chronic wasting disease. According to the Foundation,
Wildlife research has shown that baiting deer causes them to unnaturally concentrate around baited areas. This increases the likelihood of spreading diseases between animals by direct contact and through eating bait contaminated with disease causing agents shed in feces, saliva or other excretions.
Penn, however, points out that supplemental feeding of deer is legal when hunting season is out, and there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that such supplemental feeding has increased the spread of disease among deer.
The full text of the bill can be read here.
SB49/HB518 – It’s a Bad Bill Don’t Take The Bait!. Press Release, Alabama Wildlife Foundation, Undated.
Proposed idea up for de-bait. Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Alabama), January 25, 2004.