We all know when it's cold season. Once that first co-worker gets the sniffles, sneezes and headaches, it doesn't take long for his cube-mates to start reaching for the tissues. Before you know it, all of finance is out sick, and HR's looking under the weather. It's tough to avoid catching an illness when it's all around you, and that's the idea behind bans on deer baiting.
When deer congregate together, often repeatedly at a bait pile, they come into close contact. They spread germs and diseases among each other as they lick, touch noses, sneeze, breath, urinate and defecate near the bait pile [source: Sperling]. Once these disease start to spread they can be hard -- and extremely expensive -- to contain.
Baiting can also have lasting impacts on the animal, causing changes in the feeding patterns, reproduction habits, overall behavior and migration [source: Sperling]. If they know there's a bait pile in your back yard, they stop hunting for it themselves and become dependant upon you. And often, the bait doesn't meet the nutritional value that deer need. If the bait is too high in carbohydrates or starches, as is often the case, it can cause damage to the digestion process, sometimes resulting in death.
The reasons behind deer bait bans don't have much to do with ethics, although ethics are important in the overall debate. States step in and ban baiting when they believe it's in the best interest of eliminating the spread of disease among deer. Bans are becoming a widespread trend as 27 states, including Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin (popular deer hunting states), already have partial or full bans in place [source: Alabama Wildlife].
Bans haven't shown substantial effect on hunting successes. Bow-hunting triumphs have decreased, but in balance, firearm hunters have found increased success in areas with bans imposed [source: Sharp].
But to every good debate, there are two strong sides. Read on to hear why baiting won't go down without a fight.