Bait and shoot hunting is controversial due to the perception that it is unsportsmanlike. In some states and countries, the method is illegal for some or all species. However, bait and shoot programs are used in some areas to control the population of certain animals.
Bait and Shoot Method
In the bait and shoot method, hunters lay out bait to attract a specific animal and then lie in wait near the bait. If going after a carnivorous animal, natural meat baits can work well, such as cuts from deer, moose or beaver, but butcher scraps or livestock carcasses may also work. Since some other creatures may try to spread the bait, such as ravens, hunters often secure the bait by tying or freezing it. The hunter must wait hidden from sight in one place near the bait.
Differences from Capture and Kill Method
Though similar in nature, the bait and shoot tactic differs from the capture and kill method. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's 2007 "A Citizen's Guide to the Management of White-Tailed Deer in Urban and Suburban New York," hunters looking to capture and kill an animal will set up a trap with nets, clover or box traps, and will then will either shoot the animal, inject it with lethal drugs or use a captive bolt. This method is not allowed in many areas, and if chemicals are used in the process, there are concerns about chemical residue in any meat procured from the animal. With bait and shoot, contamination is not an issue.
Reasons to Use Bait and Shoot
The bait and shoot method is popular for species population control. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's document reports that bait and shoot tactics have been used successfully in several small areas of New York to reduce deer populations. Coyotes are also the target of this method for population control. Some bear hunters also use bait and shoot as a way to evaluate whether a bear has the high quality fur they desire for a mount.
Reasons Not to Use Bait and Shoot
Although bait and shoot can be an effective tactic, it is not a popular among the non-hunting public. Pro-sport hunting group Camo Coalition opposed Georgia legislation that would allow bait and shoot hunting, stating in its Action Alert to members that it will further erode the non-hunting population's image of sport hunting. Some consider the method unsportsmanlike, as it lures the animal into your area and takes the "find and chase" element out of the hunt. Baiting has also caused the spread of disease among an animal population, such as chronic wasting disease, according to "Michigan Out of Doors." The method can also be expensive and is illegal for many animal populations, in or out of season.
- Michigan Out of Doors: Michigan Natural Resources Commission Lifts Baiting Ban
- NYS Department of Environmental Conservation; A Citizen's Guide to the Management of White-tailed Deer
- Camo Coalition Action Alert: Shooting Over Bait Will Degrade Hunters' Image
- Sportsmans Alliance of Maine: Tips and Tactics for Successful Coyote Hunting
- Canadian Wilderness Outfitters: Manitoba Bear Hunt
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