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Increased Baiting Fines Proposed

September 29th, 2011

When the Natural Resources Commission reinstated deer baiting in the Lower Peninsula, one thing they and the DNR committed to working on was legislation to increase the penalties for any illegal baiting—whether it was out of season, over the amount, or in areas that it wasn’t allowed.

Many hunters and business owners had testified during the “great bait debate” this spring that the fines were not enough to encourage people to follow the law, the minimal fines were just a “cost of doing business” for hunters choosing to take the risk. Currently, the fine for illegal baiting is anywhere from $50 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail, as determined by the court.

 HB 4927, just introduced by Representative Rick Olson (R-Saline) has already had two hearings in the House Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation. This bill would add the following penalties for baiting violations:

  •  Violations regarding baiting would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine ranging from $250 – $500, and the costs of prosecution.
  • A person convicted of a second violation would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine ranging from $500 – $1,000, and the costs of prosecution. Additionally, a person convicted of a second violation would have all hunting licenses revoked for the remainder of the year and would be ineligible to receive a hunting license of any kind for the next two succeeding calendar years.
  • A person convicted of a third or subsequent violation would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine ranging from $1,000 – $2,000, and the cost of prosecution. Additionally, a person convicted of three or more violations would have all hunting licenses revoked for the remainder of the year and would be ineligible to receive a hunting license of any kind for the next three succeeding calendar years.

For those of you that think increasing these baiting penalties sounds like a “get rich quick” scheme for the Department–the DNR receives only a $10 “judgment fee” for every baiting ticket successfully prosecuted; the civil fines explained above actually go to the libraries and/or municipality where the case was heard. The concept of raising the fines and adding in license revocation has proven to be a successful method of curbing illegal snagging.

  • Davewashington2

    Baiting shouldn’t be allowed anyway. It gives our sport a bad image. I still believe our state has the largest percentage of “slob” hunters anywhere. Sad. When baiting was “banned” in the lower, bait was still sold by the tons at every corner….I am sure they were all heading to the U.P. It is all about the dollar not sound scientific mgt of our resources. The DNR and MUCC have failed the sportsmen of this state on this one.

  • Davewashington2

    Baiting shouldn’t be allowed anyway. It gives our sport a bad image. I still believe our state has the largest percentage of “slob” hunters anywhere. Sad. When baiting was “banned” in the lower, bait was still sold by the tons at every corner….I am sure they were all heading to the U.P. It is all about the dollar not sound scientific mgt of our resources. The DNR and MUCC have failed the sportsmen of this state on this one.

  • Amy Trotter

    It was the NRC that gave in, not MUCC. MUCC continued to oppose lifting the baiting ban throughout the discussion, but the public comments indicated pretty strong support for baiting that was apparent through all the NRC meetings. DNR Law concluded that compliance decreased because they lacked the proper tools to enforce the ban.

  • Jinglesusn

    Sorry people, I am for baiting. My adjacent landowners (and use of adjacent Federal Land) baited before the ban, and when I hunted on private property, I saw fewer deer while they baited. I’m talking to seeing one-two deer a day. When I did bait with a couple bags of cobbed corn/carrots near my blind, I drew some of the deer away from their property down to my area. When we went to the no bait format, I did not bait. They either kept up their baiting, and/or they planted corn in huge plots for them on their property, direct result, I still saw lower deer numbers. Yes, this year I will bait early to get the deer to my area again.

  • Saulgoode2

    1st of all,i resent being refered to as a slob hunter because i choose to use bait! Not all of us have the opportunity to hunt large tracks of farmland or have 4-5 weeks of vacation to scout out a good spot! If i hunt by an apple tree larger than 10 feet,is that baiting? Some hunters need to realize that if we dont get together and make this right,our sport may be in jeopardy! Make it right and do whats right!!!

  • Tonyacourt

    Just another way for the government to raise money. I think the fines should be lowered or removed entirely. The only situation where baiting has been any issue was on a fenced game ranch. Statistically, issues associated to it are totally insignificant. Know one has proven otherwise.

  • 30yr hunter

    Maybe they should sell baiting permits. Permits could have baiting rules attached. Most hunters don’t see deer if there is no reason for the deer to be it there area. Deerless hunt mean discouraged hunters discouraged hunters don’t go hunt or spend money on hunting

  • K. Gould

    This legislation is overdue. It’s time we start managing our resource as hunters, not harvesters and keep the health and future of our deer herd and natural resource as our first priority. Baiting is legat again with restrictions. Laws need enforcement and this will certainly help.
    I’m hopeful MUCC and affilite sportsman groups get onboard!

  • Ellis125_012

    The fines for baiting are already too stiff. My brother got a $180 fine fore having 5 gallons out a few years back when you could bait. Come on, I understand fining the people who unload a truck load of carrots on there private property and you can see it with the fly overs. But thats the direct problem. If your on state land which we hunt you have to stick adherently to the 2 gallons. On Private land you can easily put out more or multiple piles at one hunting site and unless its big enough to be seen in a fly over they will get away with it all season. And just like another comment said the privates will hold all the deer on their property during season. Then the other 9 months the DNR will say we see the herd on state and private land. One last thing I wish was possible was to be able to get a permit to plant a food plot on public land. If they encourage this (which would spread TB just as well as a spread out bait pile) then they should have a program to cooperate with you to do such things.

  • Fatindian

    If it is legal to bait, you are not a “slob hunter” when you bait. You also aren’t much of a hunter, more of just a “shooter.” Make the fines as high as possible to deter those doing the baiting illegally.

  • Cmorgan03

    Still need to define what is bait…If I hunt on the edge of 100 acreas of a planted crop or near an apple orchard or near a planted food plot or around an area of white oak dropping acorns or any other growing source of food deer naturally eat…What is Bait? How much is 2 gallons of sugarbeets?

  • Jerrywing

    To be added to the baiting bill should be language that would make it illegal to bait in residential communities. Those that due cause neighbors to lose flowers, shrubs and damage to trees. A real problem and very expensive all because a neighbor wants to draw deer into their yard.

  • Bugsmasher

    I agree. Just another way for government to raise money. The DNR will be under pressure from other government agencies (particularly municipalities) to issue tickets.

  • Anonymous

    To all of you that talk about how unfair the laws seem, I’m going to tell you simply follow the law at the 2 gal. bait site and you will not have to worry about the new so called increase in fines .Why is it that there is always those that can’t follow the law and then bitch about it ?It wouldn’t matter if it were 5gals. of bait or 2gals. there is always someone to break the law and then cry about how “unfair” they are treated.Stop the crying and follow the laws !Baiting is a choice to be used or not,if you don’t like the amounts or fines ?then Don’t Bait !! or go by the rules everyone of the rest of us have to follow.

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