By Montana Grant

Posted: December 25, 2022

Baiting has become a management tool to help reduce deer herd populations. Many eastern or urban areas use hunters or snipers to reduce populations. Too many deer mean too many insurance claims when critters get struck on the roadways. Throw in Lyme’s Disease and other health issues, and deer herds are at risk.

Hunters have become stand sitters that wait for deer to pattern to their baited feed piles. Shelled corn, wheat, apples, sugar beets, pumpkins, and commercial licks or media have become how hunters hunt. Mechanical feeders that use timers can allow hunters to predict when the deer will show up for dinner. The same is done for feral hogs, bears, and other unwelcome critters.

Many hunters that have become” Baity Sitters”, would never see a deer if left without baiting. Still hunting, calling, stalking, and really hunting a critter are learned skills that seem to be disappearing. Guides and outfitters simply put a hunter in a stand and tell them to sit still. Eventually a critter shows up and they shoot it.

Bait is not cheap. A 50 lb. sack of corn costs over $20. Birds, and other critters will also feast on the bait pile. Nose to nose contact happens when critters feed over a bait pile. This is how CWD, and other diseases are spread.

“A fed deer is a Dead Deer!” Once deer pattern to artificial bait piles, they drop their guard, ignore human scents, and focus on the buffet before them. Their eyesight, senses, and instincts are lost as they gobble up the free bait. What happens after the season and the baiting stops? Deer have become more reliant on free food and quickly lose natural feeding habits.

It takes a few weeks on consistent baiting to have critters pattern to the free meal. Corn is also harmful to deer. Deer can starve to death, in the Winter, with a full gut of corn.

Anyone can shoot a Trophy critter over bait. Stand placement and viable feeder sites does take some skill. Once that is done, the hunter is no longer hunting, they are simply deer shooters and Baity Sitters. Real hunters need to be in shape, outfitted, skilled, and experienced in how to hunt.

Hunting is defined as “chasing, seeking, pursuing, searching, for food or sport.” To be a successful “Hunter”, you need to manage scent, camo, shooting, scouting, calling, observation skills, stealth, know habits, identify sign, patterns, and adapt as conditions change.

Many states, like Montana, do not allow hunting over bait. Rarely do you see tree stands. Many Montana hunters still practice hunting skills. Others rely on wheelers, horses, trucks, or other transportation to spot and stalk. This is becoming harder as more private lands are posted. Rural areas do not have the insurance claims that are more common around big cities.

Humans are Hunters and Gatherers. This means that we have the evolution and anatomy to move and search for what we need. We do not sit in a tree stand near a mall and wait for our needs to come to us. We go into the mall and search/hunt them up, or do we? Amazon, Fed Ex, and UPS now bring our needs to the front door. No Hunting involved.

OH WELL! Hunt hard, hunt harder!

Montana Grant

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