New Area Definition Regulation: Hunting Over Bait Is Still Illegal
Alabama law states it is illegal to take or attempt to take any animal by aid of any bait which has been placed to lure the animal within range of the hunter.
Some landowners or hunting clubs desire to provide supplemental feed in an effort to improve the physical condition of wildlife, especially deer. A supplemental feeding program is one of many tools found in a land manager’s toolbox. It is not a substitute for proper land management. In an effort to continue to provide supplemental feed during the hunting season, a common question of what area may supplemental feeding occur and still be legal to hunt led to a new regulation.
The new regulation states that “… as it applies to the hunting of deer and feral swine, there shall be 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 area which the hunter is attempting to kill or take the deer or feral swine.” This regulation does not apply to public land. Out of line of sight means obscured from view by natural vegetation or naturally occurring terrain features.
If a hunter knowingly hunts less than 100 yards from or within sight of feed or feeder they are subject to a citation for baiting. However, if available evidence supports the case that the individual is hunting by the aid of bait (baiting), there is no specific distance or “hidden from sight” structure that will exempt them from arrest.
Remember, hunting by the use of bait is illegal!
SUPPLEMENTAL FEEDING OF WILD ANIMALS
- Supplemental feeding is not a substitute for proper land and wildlife management. Habitat management is still the backbone of a quality wildlife management program. Proper timber thinning, native vegetation management, prescribed burning, and a year-round food plot program are all integral components of habitat management. Combine habitat management, herd management, predator control, supplemental feeding, and hunter education and you have the ingredients of a sound wildlife management plan.
- For optimum herd health, deer need to consume a diet that contains a minimum of 16% protein. In Alabama, the majority of native vegetation contains approximately 10% protein. By applying 100 pounds of a balanced fertilizer (13-13-13) per acre to native habitat, a land manager can increase the protein content to levels that exceeds the minimum requirements.
- If you choose to provide a supplemental feed, keep in mind the nutritional requirements. While there are many choices of feeds that contain the appropriate balanced nutritional components, (complete pelletized ration, soy beans, etc.), most people think of corn.
- Corn averages 8-10% crude protein and therefore does not meet the minimum amount for optimum herd health. However, what corn lacks in protein content, it makes up for in fat and carbohydrates. Therefore, if you choose to feed corn, it is more useful to the deer herd in late fall through early spring.
- It is recommended that feed should not be poured, piled or placed directly on the ground. Gravity style or bunk type feeders should be designed to keep feed dry and away from non-target animals e.g., feral pigs or raccoons. Stationary spin cast feeders can also be used when they dispense specific amounts of feed per day. By rationing out small amounts of feed at periodic times per day, the risk of the feed becoming spoiled is reduced.
- Feeding sites may not be hunted for 10 days following complete removal of all feed.
- Feeding of migratory birds is regulated pursuant to Federal Code 50CFR.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.