View Full Version : MN: Illegal deer baiting on rise despite crackdown

Bob S
01-18-2009, 05:14 PM
ARTICLE (http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/37745804.html?elr=KArks7PYDiaK7DUqEiaDUiD3aPc:_Yyc :aUU)

Baiting has spiked the past four years, prompting the DNR to increase aerial surveillance and to seize firearms used in baiting cases.

By DOUG SMITH, Star Tribune

January 18, 2009

Despite efforts last fall by the Department of Natural Resources to crack down on hunters who illegally bait deer -- including seizing guns of violators -- baiting remained widespread.

Conservation officers issued 142 citations and warnings last year, up significantly from 108 issued in 2007. It was the second-highest number of cases reported since 2006, when officers issued 152 citations and warnings.

"It's not declining," said Ken Soring, DNR acting enforcement director. Baiting cases have spiked the past four years, prompting clarifications to the law and a well-publicized crackdown by the DNR, which has used aerial surveillance to discover illegal baiting. Officers also started seizing firearms used in baiting cases. Soring said it's uncertain how many guns were seized last fall, and many baiting cases still have yet to be resolved in court.

As recently as 2003, DNR officers issued just 38 baiting citations and warnings.

A bill introduced in the Legislature this session aims to once again tweak the baiting law to eliminate a provision that now exempts bird feeders that are at least 6 feet above the ground. Some conservation officers said hunters used that provision to sidestep the law.

Deer should be OK

Minnesota's deer herd hasn't had to cope with a severe winter for years. But heavy snow and subzero temperatures this winter have meant a rough start to the winter season. Despite decent snowfalls up north, deer should be faring OK, said Mark Lenarz, DNR wildlife biologist in Grand Rapids.

"I think they're doing just fine," he said. "They accumulate fat during the summer and live off that during the winter, with a limited amount of browse. They certainly shouldn't be having a problem yet." DNR officials have received calls about feeding deer, and the agency is urging people not to. Feeding disrupts natural movements of deer and, because they congregate at food sites, it can help spread disease.