Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Number of illegal baiting, feeding cases increases from 2008

DNR Report

According to a report compiled by DNR Chief Warden Randy Stark
following the 2009 gun deer season, illegal baiting and feeding and
the illegal shooting of timber wolves continue to be problems.

Baiting and feeding

Illegal baiting and feeding were the most common violation
encountered by conservation wardens, accounting for 27 percent of
deer-season cases, Stark said.

“The number of illegal baiting violations was 334, which is an
all-time record number of baiting violations for any deer gun
season. Baiting and feeding complaints called into the hotline were
up 77 percent,” he said.

Baiting observations

€ Wardens continue to encounter a high incidence of baiting and
feeding violations in the northern two-thirds of the state.

€ While there are significantly fewer baiting and feeding
violations in the southern counties where baiting and feeding has
been illegal now for several years, owing to the detection of CWD,
there was a slight increase in the number of baiting and feeding
cases in these regions this year.

€ Increased efforts to conceal illegal baiting activity have
been observed in some areas.

€ In nearly all cases made, the violators knew that what they
are doing was illegal. One hunter was cited for the third time for
illegal baiting in the past six seasons.

€ Wardens continue to report that with the smaller land parcels
being bought by hunters and non-hunters, an increasing number of
hunters are relying on bait to draw and hold deer on small
parcels.

€ Positive progress continues to be made regarding the size of
the illegal bait piles. While wardens still encounter some bait
sites of several hundred gallons, most illegal bait piles are now
smaller – generally in the 5- to 25-gallon range.

€ Conservation wardens in the north continue to report that
significant overbaiting takes place the weekend before the season
by people from out of the area. They place a large amount of bait
out the prior weekend to hold the deer on their property for the
week.

€ Again this year, most cases were made on the opening day, with
the vast majority of those made opening morning. This is when
wardens have the highest probability of finding someone on an
illegally baited stand. The odds of finding someone hunting an
illegally baited stand go down quickly after opening morning. In
many cases, the wardens were not able to apprehend the suspects
because they never showed up to hunt the illegal baits when the
wardens were in the area.

€ Working baiting and feeding complaints is a priority from a
disease prevention and hunter “equality of opportunity”
standpoint.

“However, it is also a mileage-intensive endeavor during
extremely difficult budgetary times. Consequently, wardens did less
pre-season scouting to prioritize and save mileage for patrols and
complaint response during the season,” Stark said.

Hunter sentiment

Similar to the past few years, wardens heard the following
general themes from hunters during conversations with hunters in
the field:

€ While many hunters are strong advocates of baiting, there are
many hunters who believe baiting and feeding for deer should be
eliminated.

€ The general perception of those opposed to baiting and feeding
is that these practices alter deer movement patterns during the
season and reduce equal opportunity.

€ Wardens continue to hear some hunters, both those on private
property and those who hunt on public lands, who, while they would
not otherwise bait, believe they must place bait to compete and
have an equal opportunity at harvesting deer.

Wolf shootings

There were 61 radio-collared wolves on the air during the 2009
regular firearms season. A total of seven wolves, four of the
collared wolves and three non-collared wolves, were found dead
during the gun deer hunt.

The locations where these wolves were recovered included:

€ Crex Meadows, Burnett County, Nov. 22;

€ Fort McCoy, Monroe County, Nov. 24 (but may have been killed
prior to season);

€ Lincoln Township, Bayfield County, Nov. 29;

€ Black River State Forest, Jackson County, Nov. 30;

€ Colburn Wildlife Area, Adams County, Nov. 30;

€ St. Croix River, Douglas County, Nov. 30/09;

€ Gordon Lake area, Ashland County, Nov. 30.

In addition, two wolves were reported shot on the Lac du
Flambeau and Stockbridge Indian reservations.

A mortality signal was detected on a wolf in Vilas County that
previously had moved into Michigan, but no signals were detected in
the field.

“There is a growing resentment toward wolves, as evidence by a
flyer found posted at Clark County Forest campgrounds and parking
areas. The flyer that has a picture of a wolf in the crosshairs of
scope, suggests wolves are the reason for hunters not seeing deer,
and encourages hunters to ‘solve the problem,’ ” Stark said.

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