Wildlife - Deer Information

A Retrospective on Hunting Deer Over Bait in South Carolina - Can Baiting Negatively Affect Hunter Success and Deer Harvest Rates?

Fair Chase Issues

Baiting is controversial among hunters, and research has shown that Piedmont and Coastal Plain hunters differ in their opinion about baiting, likely a result of differences in traditional regulations and customs.16In fact, baiting was one of the topics discussed at 5 public meetings that where held in the Piedmont in 2003. Once the issues and potential effects of baiting were discussed, only 4 percent of meeting attendees indicated support for legalizing baiting in the upstate. Furthermore, non-hunting and anti-hunting constituent groups do not support baiting. This controversy and lack of public support for baiting involves perceptions of fair chase. Many believe that killing deer (or other wildlife) over bait demonstrates that hunting is all about killing and has nothing to do with fair chase, conservation, or wildlife management. This fair chase challenge weakens public support not only for public hunting programs, but also for wildlife conservation and management programs that have historically been accepted.17 Hunting wildlife over bait does not improve or heighten the skills of the hunter.18 Hunting is a tradition and an important tool with respect to deer management; however issues such as hunting deer over bait jeopardize the continued acceptance of hunting by an increasingly skeptical public at large.19