Baiting; still on hunters minds

Published 10:17 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2006

With archery deer season in full swing, I still hear comments about the “baiting” bill that failed earlier this year. There are a lot of people that really do not like the thought of pouring out bait from a bag and then sitting on it and calling it hunting. On the other side, some avid deer hunters would like the ability to use the supplemental feeding to increase herd and deer growth and at the same time increase the odds of taking a good buck or easily culling a management buck from the herd. Both sides of the argument have great intentions behind them, but you really have to look behind the scenes and see what is better in the log run for deer management and our hunting future.
I have always said that if your main intention for hunting is to kill every time you hit the woods, you are in the wrong program and it would be better for the rest of us if you took up golf. The overwhelming need to “score” or take a deer every time you hit the woods is fine for a young hunter for the first few years of his or her hunting career. After several years, the allure of the woods and forest should be all that he or she needs to fulfill the need to hunt.
I take my son and daughters hunting and fishing like my father did me. Many times we have been sitting in a stand, dove field or a plot of hardwoods waiting on a squirrel when the question cones from them, “where is the animal we are hunting“? This is the time when I can give the most intelligent answer to any question, I say, “That is why they call it hunting and not shooting, or why they call it fishing and not catching”.
No matter how you feel on the matter it will come up again and probably will become an accepted practice. If you have an opinion about hunting over supplemental feed, or “baiting” as it is better known, go to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks website and take the opinion poll. The poll is simple and will not take more than a minute of your time, and the results may surprise you.
The poll is labeled as the “Supplemental Feeding Poll” and consists of only six questions on the poll. The first question is, “do you approve of planting food plots for deer?” With 4345 poll takers to this point, 99% of them approve of planting food plots. Like wise, question number two is “do you approve of providing protein feeders for deer?” This question was answered by 4333 pollsters and 90% of them agreed with the practice of feeding supplemental protein to our Mississippi deer herd.
Now the question get a little more personal with the third question being, “do you approve of hunting deer over food plots?” this question was answered by 4331 pollsters and the support was overwhelming at 90% of the folks approving of the practice of hunting over planted food plots.
The fourth question separated the hunting community a little but not as much as I would have thought. The question is, “do you approve of hunting deer within sight of a protein feeder?” here is where he rubber hit’s the road. Only 77% of the 4348 pollsters approved of hunting deer within sight of feeders. This leaves 23% of the pollsters with the belief that it is not a good practice to hunt over bait.
I will have to tell you that I am in the 23% pollsters and was a little surprised the numbers were not higher. I am just like any other hunter, and like to see game when I hit the woods, but remember, it is called hunting and not shooting. On the other hand, I was in the high percentile with all the other questions and have no problem with planting corn fields that will add nutrients to the soil, food and cover for many small animals and a chance to hopefully see a deer when hunting on it, it is hard to put a timer on a corn field.
The follow up questions are asked as a matter of qualifying the pollster that is answering the question, since anyone can get online and answer them. Questions five and six are, “are you resident or non-resident hunter”, “are you a landowner in Mississippi?” Of the 4330 folks that answered the questions, 3810 of them are actual landowners and the remaining 11% are not. Only 81% actually own land in Mississippi and this should be taken into account when looking at the hard numbers. Take a little time out of your day and let your voice be known.
Daddy’s Girl
It is more commonly thought of that a son follows their father in the field and learns the ways of the great outdoors, but the days are a changing and Drew Howard and Tatum Davis are changing with them.
Drew and her hunting buddy Tatum took their fathers, Jim Howard and Lance Davis, on a dove hunt and hopefully imparted some wisdom to the two fellers. It is great to see the girls interested in hunting and fishing and by the amount of birds that the team bagged; my guess is that Drew and Tatum will have the boys educated on cleaning in short time. Great photo and way to go dad.
If you have any photos of your young folks in the field, be sure to get them to me so I can share the story and fun times. I also would like to have some great trail camera photos from around Pearl River County, so be sure to e-mail them to me at picayuneitem@bellsouth.net or drop them off at the Picayune Item. Enjoy this cool weather and as always, get outdoors and enjoy what god has given us.