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Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

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HB 277: Deer Hunting Over Bait – Inhumane on So Many Levels, Part 2

by PV

The Georgia State Senate is set to take-up HB 277 when it reconvenes next week.

The following has been submitted to PV for publication. PV just accepts the research as provided, and if the “Pro-HB 277” side objects to anything the Rebuttal side says for reasons that can be backed-up by something other than “Hey, no fair!”, you can submit it to us where our crack team of Bait Researchers will take your comments under consideration.

Pro-HB 277 Claim: HB 277 only changes the restriction of 200 yds for hunting over feed.

Rebuttal: This is not true. HB 277 changes current law, which clarifies the distance from feed/bait that hunter must be to avoid violating the law. Presently, a hunter shall not hunt within 200 yard and line of sight of any feed/bait. HB 277 allows no separation of distance between the hunter (sic) and the feed/bait.

Additionally, HB 277 eliminates the prohibition on hunting feral hogs over bait; thereby allowing feed/bait to placed year round statewide for feral hogs. While many agree that feral hogs are a nuisance and problem, which needs to be addressed, effective control of feral hogs cannot be achieved through recreational hunting, including hunting over bait.

In fact, in the words of Texas USDA wildlife biologist Michael Bodenchuk, “simple control by hunting or trapping is not enough…we are not going to barbeque our way out of this problem (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTIxox-46Aw&feature=related).” Further, this allows any person to claim to be hunting feral hogs when in fact they are hunting turkeys and bear over bait. Finally, with so much feed/bait being placed for feral hogs or deer and hunting over feed being ineffective at controlling feral hogs, the hogs now have unfettered access to food resources thereby by facilitating their ability to breed and raise more feral hogs.

Pro-HB 277 Claim: Gives the DNR Commissioner the authority to stop supplemental feeding in counties and adjoining counties that have a communicable disease occurrence in deer.

Rebuttal: Yes, this is a positive of this bill. However, Georgia does not have an active disease surveillance program for deer. Any detection is passive and, at best, once a disease is detected it is very likely that it will have become well established. Thus, control and eradication will be unpopular, especially with the affected hunting public, very expensive and exhaustive. A review of what happened with Chronic Wasting Disease in Wisconsin and Tuberculosis in Michigan testifies to this fact.

In one year, Wisconsin spent more than $16 million managing and controlling Chronic Wasting Disease. Additionally, baiting and feeding are acknowledged as the mechanism that allowed bovine tuberculosis (TB) to become established in Michigan’s deer herd in the early 1990’s when baiting was rapidly becoming popular. TB spilled over from deer to cattle. Subsequently, TB has been documented in more than 40 cattle herds and Michigan as lost its TB-free status. This has cost Michigan’s cattle industry over $100 million and the State of Michigan has expended more than $86 million in state revenue trying to control and eradicate TB. It seems to make the most sense to avoid unnecessary and expensive risks to what is already a quality wildlife resource. Legalizing hunting over bait serves to make disease management efforts more difficult and expensive. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth $186 million in ineffective cure.

Pro-HB 277 Claim: There has not been any problem with disease in our surrounding states that allow hunting over feed nor has there been any in GA where we currently feed deer 200 yds from stands.

Rebuttal: This is not fact and is an unsubstantiated opinion. The fact is that, like Georgia, all other southeastern states do not have active disease surveillance programs for deer. Any such occurrences are detected from passive means, which means that a disease can be present and active for months or even years before it will be detected and, at that point, becomes difficult and expensive to manage. Such passive efforts have documented more than 22 diseases occurring in deer in Georgia, including but not limited to: Bacterial Meningitis, Myocardial Necrosis, Dystocia, Peridontal disease w/ secondary infection, Chronic Pneumonia*, Sepsis*, Cervical Abscess, Chronic Bacterial Dermatitis, Brain Abscess & Sepsis, Trauma, Bacterial Dermatitis, Osteochondroma, Demodectic Mange, Vertebral Abscess, E. Coli Sepsis*, Pulmonary Embolism, Liver Fluke Infestation, Epizootic Hemoragghic Disease, Pulmonary Thrombosis, Abomasal Impaction, Pneumonia* , Meningioma, Septicemia* , and Brain Abscess. Those diseases with an * are considered unfit for human consumption. Additionally, several of these are communicable. In a nutshell, for a layperson or a biologist to make the claim that there are no disease problems is ignorant, close-minded and irresponsible.

Pro-HB 277 Claim: There has not been any ill affects from perception of non-hunting public in the states surrounding GA that allow hunting over feed.

Rebuttal: Again, this statement is derived from lack of awareness. In fact, several states have lost opportunities, which were defeated by effective anti-hunting arguments. These include:

Hunting doves in Michigan; hound hunting of bears and bobcats in Washington; mountain lion hunting in California; bear baiting in Colorado; hound hunting of bears in Colorado; bear baiting in Oregon; hound hunting of bears in Oregon; and others. Since 1990, hunting and wildlife conservation-related issues have been decided with the outcome benefiting the anti-hunting position 57% of the time. These issues share a common theme – fair chase, and include baiting. Further, another theme relative to these issues is that voters can’t be placed in a box. In other words, they can’t be labeled liberal or conservative. They will transcend traditional party lines and vote their conscience – value judgments.

Pro-HB 277 Claim: 3 of the top 5 states in the US in economical impact from hunting are states that allow hunting over feed.

Rebuttal: This fact ignores the significance that the states in their top 5 have between 600,00 and 1.1 million resident hunters, while Georgia has near 400,000. Because such economic figures are based on a per hunter expenditure, the more resident hunters a state has the higher the estimated economic impact, yet the per hunter expenditure of Georgia hunters may be greater than the per hunter expenditure of those 5 states.

The fact offered for baiting proponents does not hold for non-resident hunters. In fact, 4 of the top 5 states in the US in economical impact from non-resident hunters prohibit hunting over bait/feed and non-resident hunters generally have a greater per hunter expenditure than do resident hunters. That is, non-resident hunters focus their hunting efforts in state’s that maintain the sportsmen’s tradition of fair chase and spend their expendable income in those states. This list includes Georgia.

Pro-HB 277 Claim: Recent polls shows from 78% to 95% of sportsmen in Georgia want this legislation passed.

Rebuttal: This is not a fact. This is based on about 1400 responses out of 40,000 possible responses from a Georgia Outdoor News vote card, which could only be obtained by buying a subscription or purchasing the magazine off the shelf – a for-profit POLL TAX – and is likely influenced by non-resident subscribers who should have no say in Georgia’s affairs. This information is not scientifically valid and is not representative of deer hunters or Georgia resident hunters. The only factual statement regarding polls or surveys can be derived from several scientific polls (see below).

SCIENTIFIC SURVEY RESULTS CONCERNING THE ISSUE OF HUNTING DEER OVER BAIT IN GEORGIA

“Opinions And Attitudes Of Georgia Residents, Hunters, And Landowners Toward Deer Management In Georgia (2004)”

Ø Conducted by Responsive Management, Inc.
Ø Surveyed 1,033 People
o General Population – 403 (North – 202; South – 201)
o Landowners – 212 (North – 104; South – 108)
o Resident Hunters – 418 (North – 209; South – 209)

Ø “Do you think it should be legal or illegal to hunt white-tailed deer by attracting them using bait like corn as an attractant?”

o Illegal:
§ 59% of General Population
§ 49% of Hunters
§ 54% of Landowners

o Legal:
§ 29% of General Population
§ 45% of Hunters
§ 38% of Landowners

Ø Asked of those who responded illegal: “What is the main reason for opposing hunting deer over bait?”

o Not Fair Chance for Deer:
§ 64% of General Population
§ 68% of Hunters
§ 74% of Landowners

o Unethical to Trick Deer:
§ 37% of General Population
§ 36% of Hunters
§ 37% of Landowners

“WRD Annual Harvest of Wildlife Survey (2003)”

Ø Conducted by the University of Georgia Survey Research Center
Ø Telephone survey of random sample of Georgia hunters
Ø Surveyed 2,508 Georgia Hunters

Ø “Do you think it should be legal or not legal to hunt deer and other large animals by attracting them using bait like corn as an attractant (we are not talking about a planted food plot)?”

o Legal – 39.9%
o Not Legal – 53.7%
o Don’t Know – 6.3%

“2001 Georgia Poll”

Ø Conducted by the University of Georgia Survey Research Center
Ø Statewide telephone survey of a random sample of adult residents of Georgia
Ø Surveyed 403 resident adult Georgians

Ø “Do you think it should be legal or illegal to hunt deer and other large animals by attracting them using bait like a salt block or corn as an attractant?”

o Legal – 19.1%
o Illegal – 72.7%
o Don’t Know – 5.5%

PV’s Conclusions

Tell us, is it really considered “hunting” to bait an animal with food not normally found in their natural habitat presented in such a way that the animal could not resist it? REALLY?

Hell, why waste time “baiting” the feral hogs and deer? Drop some napalm and burn them all to a crisp, and invite everyone over for a BIG ‘ole BBQ.

PV’s Note: Oh, yeah. PV KNOWS we’re gonna get some flack from the He-Man-Hunter types who consider going to fish farms where the fish are kept packed in pens and holding a shiny plastic worm on a hook above the surface, waiting for the fish to jump out of the water to snatch the work and hook itself, to be the “sport of fishing.” Hunting (sic) deer over bait is the same concept.

But, we got legislators who are unethical as hell for voting to enrich their own pockets, so why should ANYONE think they would be “ethical” in the treatment of sport animals?

3 Responses to “HB 277: Deer Hunting Over Bait – Inhumane on So Many Levels, Part 2”

  1. donald Says:

    You people are as dumb as can be I guess running a deer with dogs and trucks with radio’s is a ethical way too hunt.It a lazy way to hunt and very unfair for a deer so don’t talk about fair chase in your state because there is none.Baiting is a good way to managing a deer herd and is done in many states without any problems also many animals benefit from the feed.No true Turkey hunter would hunt turkey over bait so if it temps you maybe you should’nt hunt period.

  2. shelley Says:

    You like to refer to “credible” research for your answers. As a student whose classes regularly require research, ” materials older than 5 years are considered outdated and not valid for use in research papers.” But then again, some people still believe that “Global warming” research is real, even after the scientists admitted it was forged.

    Makes about as much sense as researchers asking Florida commercial fishermen about sea turtle sightings in December, then claiming that there are “NO” sea turtle in their area. Do not believe everything you read, your eyes can lie to you.

  3. scott Says:

    I am a land owner and avid hunter in south ga! have been for 37 years! I don’t know where this info came from, but it sounds like it was made up by one of those people who think a animals life is more valueble than a humans. If i could put those people in the pin with my favorite catch dog and tell him to gittem, i wonder if they would still think that way? anyway all the hunters I know, are all for hunting over bait!!!! Myself included!!!! Make Ga compatible with some of these other states where people go to kill a trophy!!!

Today's Deep Thought

If I was the head of a country that lost a war, and I had to sign a peace treaty, just as I was signing, I'd glance over the treaty and then suddenly act surprised. 'Wait a minute! I thought we won!'



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