June 22, 2017

Maine: Deer Baiting, Feeding, Crop Damage

If it is important enough that laws in the State of Maine be made tougher to extend and grow the penalties for hunting deer over “bait,” perhaps it would behoove the lawmakers to take the time first to define “bait.”

A proposed new law, LD 1083, would, “…makes the penalty for hunting over bait during an open season on deer a mandatory fine of $500. It also provides for the one-year suspension of a hunting license of a person convicted of doing so.”

The head of the Maine Warden Service supports this bill because, as he states, “the agency averages over 100 deer baiting cases per year.” 100 case per year, times $500, equals a nice little windfall, perhaps enough to pass out some raises. And, at a guaranteed $500 per case, doubling that to 200 is good profit.

The new proposal also states that, “A hunting license of a person convicted of placing or hunting over bait in violation of section 11452, subsection 1 must be revoked, and that person is ineligible to obtain a hunting license for a period of one year from the date of conviction.”

Taking a look at Title 12, 11452, subsection 1, we read,1. Prohibitions.  A person may not, during an open hunting season on deer: A. Place salt or any other bait or food in a place to entice deer to that place.”(emphasis added)

So, what is “bait?”
Part B of Subsection 1 describes the limits of hunting from a tree stand or an observation deck: It is prohibited to B. Hunt from an observation stand or blind overlooking salt, grain, fruit, nuts or other foods known to be attractive to deer.” (This is inconsistent with the above prohibition.)
What’s inconsistent in this regulation is that Part A prohibits anyone during deer season, to put out things that will “entice deer to that place.” In Part B, there are limitations as to what a hunter can observe from a tree stand, i.e. he can’t hunt over “salt, grain, fruit, nuts or other foods known to be attractive to deer.” This does not specify “bait.”
So, what is bait?
Can I climb my tree stand and hunt over “bait?”
So, what is “bait?”
It appears that the issue here, aside from the threat of the spread of disease, is that authorities don’t want hunters placing “bait” some place in the woods, which happens to be in front of their tree stand….or maybe not.
I know I sound like a fool, but, what is “bait?”
If the concern is over “baiting” a deer to the location in which a hunter awaits in ambush, then isn’t anything a hunter puts out, in, around his tree stand to “attract” deer, “bait?” The existing law states that you can’t use items that are known to be attractants for deer and lure them to a specific location. If so, then what is putting out scent attractants to draw deer to your stand?
Maine has to do a better job of making the work of law enforcement better but more importantly so that hunters fully understand what is legal and illegal and why. When we see exceptions to “baiting” it often times is a matter of a certain lobby fighting for their preferred methods of hunting at the expense of others. In case you aren’t keeping up, I might suggest that the manufacture of deer lures, scents, attractants and covers, is a giant money-making industry. Serious argument can be made as to whether those are “baits.”
It’s also very stupid that you can’t “bait” deer to a specific location, like a tree stand, but you can plant a “crop” and place your tree stand overlooking your “crop” – the result of a “standing crop” or “foods left as a result of normal agricultural operations…” (emphasis added)
So, what is “bait?” Your guess is as good as mine.
The other issue being discussed presently is what to do about deer and crop damage. I am a bit confused. Much of this debate takes place in Washington County, the eastern portion of the State of Maine, due to blueberry crops being destroyed by deer.
As anybody who has read much of my writings will know, I am as big a property rights supporter as there are. However, a scant few years ago, Washington County, along with many other parts of the state, had pretty much a non existent deer herd, much the result of too many coyotes and some tough winters. Efforts were put forth in the area to construct a systematic approach at reducing the coyote population in order to save the deer herd.
Killing coyotes helped the deer herd and now the blueberry farmers are complaining about crop damage. That’s understandable.
However, if one examines Maine’s history with blueberries and deer, both have existed since settlers first came here. I am willing to believe that at certain periods of time, deer were far more plentiful in blueberry country, and other areas of farmland where crops grow. What was done about that damage then?
I’m not opposed to doing what is reasonable to limit crop damage. I’m sure that same feeling has existed for decades. But, now the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) is suggesting a bill that would give the Commissioner authority to establish deer killing zones around crop lands, even the blueberry patches in Washington County, where deer numbers are only beginning to recover. Something tells me that either some people want too many deer, or some want crops that are never harmed and they don’t want the responsibility to deal with it. Or something. Is it just the tolerance level of people has dwindled so low that nothing is to be put up with? It seems we only bitch and complain and propose another law to stop somebody else from doing something somebody doesn’t like.
From testimony before the Committee, we are told that the Food Safety Modernization Act prohibits the harvesting of crops where animals have eaten or defecated. Obviously the Act is a Leftist nightmare creation, never intending to implement public health and safety but to destroy our food crops. But, that’s another book. How can we harvest any crops anywhere if any animal has excreted their waste there? What have we become?
Some want to kill deer to mitigate crop damage, complaining that deer defecate in the crops, while others want to protect the coyotes, to kill the deer, with no concern about the coyotes defecating in the fields. I’ll guarantee you that coyote scat is far more dangerous to our health than deer scat. This is a sure sign of animal perversion over human well being, including the protection of private property.
This morning I was listening to rubbish on television, when a news anchor asked a senator why they took so much time off. His answer was that some people would like it that Congress didn’t meet. I concur. We are so brainwashed to think that all legislation, at every level, must make laws and keep making laws. Why? The existing laws are incomprehensible, designed by lawyers for lawyers, and are either unenforceable or lacking the manpower to enforce them. And yet, we keep piling them on, as is the case here in Maine.
I believe that with increased levels of anger, hatred and intolerance, we can only expect that the number of totalitarian-type legislative proposals will inundate our politicians, who scramble to take care of only those that feed them money for reelection.
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