Survey of Wisconsin hunters shows growing opposition to unrestricted baitingRecent surveys of hunters in Wisconsin show a shift in public opinion about baiting and feeding deer during hunting seasons.
By: By Rich Kremer, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Recent surveys of hunters in Wisconsin show a shift in public opinion about baiting and feeding deer during hunting seasons.
This year, a survey of hunters showed that more than 60 percent were opposed to the unrestricted use of bait piles during hunting seasons. Department of Natural Resources wildlife supervisor Eric Lobner says that's a noticeable shift from previous surveys, which showed 50 percent in opposition.
In surveys conducted by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress in 2006 and 2007, a majority of hunters approved using things like apples, corn and pumpkins to attract deer. That was after the DNR temporarily banned the practice in an effort to stop the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).
But in 2003, lawmakers including state Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, brought baiting back in counties where no CWD was found. Grothman says the real issue is about keeping deer alive during winter. Despite the change in public opinion, he doesn't expect the law to change any time soon.
“I don’t see any reason to change the current law, but I would be particularly adamant that we should allow all the feeding we can during the winter months so that the deer don’t starve,” says Grothman.
This year, a citizen task force charged with implementing changes to Wisconsin's deer management recommended a statewide ban on baiting and feeding. Some hunters say it changes deer behavior and can lead to a privatization of the resource because more deer are attracted to areas where hunters use food piles.