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Here in Germany (and I think I can even speak for the majority of the EU) it's indeed quite common to bait game. I've recognized that this technique generally encounters critic on US media (blogs, magazines, youtube etc.). A few hunters even tried to hide that they've baited in their youtube-videos.

What are the arguments against baiting game?

4

I grew up in Washington State (Western US) where baiting was not only unpopular it is illegal. Depending on the animal and the area baiting may or may not be illegal to some extent Example; Waterfowl Hunting and Baiting, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

I currently live in a part of the US where it is not unpopular and mostly legal. The following is my perception on why both cases are the right choice, with deer as the example.

In the Western US there are large tracks of land mostly un-populated by people. The majority of the deer population are in these underpopulated areas. Hunting is a sport, we go out and hunt (search for, kill and consume wild animals in their native habitat). Baiting, is considered in the same category as: Shooting Fish in a barrel, using enhancement drugs in sports, cheating on exams, non-consensual intercourse. Sure it brings results but if your going to go to that point there are many ways to get the same results without making immoral choices, like go to the store and buy beef.

In the Eastern US there are very few tracks of un-populated lands. Deer live in the suburbs, in some cases they are considered to problematic. You can't go into the woods and walk for miles looking for deer, without finding way more houses then you do deer, even with an average of 30 deer to the square mile. In many cases significant planning needs to go into finding a shooting (fire arms) position that is safe. Hunting deer is closer to chore that happens to fill the freezer than a sport. Many hunters will hunt with arrows out of necessity as the deer are in area where there is no safe fire arm discharge area.

In summary it depends; are you and the animal being baited interacting as a challenge in the animals native environment (forest), or if you are interacting in the peoples environment (suburb). Are you hunting a majestic beast, or exterminating a tasty vermin?

In the end: ultimately baiting increase the harvesting rates for the animal. If the population being harvested (hunted) is higher than the ecosystem will tolerate, than baiting is ultimately a good thing. If the population is low or at risk and there is high volume of hunters baiting is a bad thing. Humans are part of the ecosystem, they have powers of reason and can understand cause and effect. If humans want to maintain a stable or alter the ecosystem they make choices that influence the population, baiting is one of many tools that can be used to impact the population in an area.

6

Dependency

Feeding wild animals creates a system of dependency and socialization with humans. In general this is looked down on whether or not hunting is the end goal.

Sport

Baiting is considered less sporting since the tracking element of the hunt is significantly reduced or eliminated.

Source: I am not a hunter nor a policy maker. I am an American.

4

I live it South Africa and to be very honest, baiting game doesn't really fly here. It's all about being on a level playing field as the animal your hunting. I mean, your using a high powered rifle as well as a modern scope, what more do you need? Even shooting from a vehicle is considered to be unsportsman like. Over here we hunt on foot / walk and stalk.

I guess the same question can be asked with regards to canned lion hunting, which is a huge problem is South Africa. Where do you draw the line? When is the sport of hunting, turning into the sport of just shooting?

IMHO if you require bait to hunt, rather try your hand at fishing...

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Similar to what James Jenkins said in his answer, it is illegal in Ohio to hunt over bait unless it has been some period of time. I think it is something like a week or 10 days. That being said, I do know people who readily bait large tracts of their land in order to bring in game. I am talking like 10ft away from their tree stand with a clear shooting lane bait.

Most of these people are lifetime hunters and a fair amount of them are trying to stuff their freezers with game to last through the year. So in some respect, part of it is slightly survival, but I think the majority of it is to bring in more trophy game.

From my perspective, I would prefer the challenge of going without bait. Of course, hunting a turkey over corn vs hunting a turkey over a soy field aren't too different of a thing. About the latter, you have to first find said field, then find their entrance/exit routes into the field for feeding, and you need to hopefully not spook them while getting into position.

There is something more about learning where your game lives, moves about, feeds, and runs to for safety that adds a little bit of a challenge. It really comes down to what you want to do and what is legal in your area. I don't get many days to go in the woods so it would make sense for me to try to stay over the baited areas I know about. However, I would rather try my luck the other way.

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