Bill would allow hunting over bait

Published 12:14 am Saturday, February 18, 2017

Three Alabama legislators have introduced bills that would legalize hunting deer and wild hogs over bait.

Sen. Tom Whatley (R- Auburn) and Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) are sponsors of Senate Bill 189 that would amend hunting laws in a manner that would allow the now illegal practice of placing food like shucked and shelled corn in area where it would attract deer and hogs close to waiting hunters. Rep. Jack W. Williams (R-Mobile) is the sponsor of the companion bill, House Bill 184.

The bill reads in part: “Under existing law, by regulation of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, as it relates to hunting deer on private lands, there is a rebuttable presumption that any bait or feed located beyond 100 yards from the hunter and not within the line of sight of the hunter is not a lure, attraction or enticement to, on, or over the areas where the hunter is attempting to kill or take the deer.

“This bill would allow the taking of whitetail deer or feral swine by means of bait.”

While illegal, the practice has been widespread and tough for conservation officers to enforce. One local deer processors estimated that 80 percent of the deer he saw this season, showed the animals had ingested some sort of feed prior to being harvested.

Currently any feed more than 100 yards away from the hunter is not considered a lure. If this bill were to become law, feed or bait could be placed closer to the hunter.

The bill would not change restrictions against baiting for other game such as birds.

The bill has had its first reading in each house, and remain in committee.