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Deer baiting debate rises again

Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, sees a contradiction between illegal baiting of deer in Minnesota and legal hunting over food plots planted to attract deer.

Dill said he plans to ask Department of Natural Resources officials and hunting advocacy groups to testify on that topic before the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee, of which he is chairman.

"We've got hunters out there getting fined for baiting [while hunting], and we also have hunters hunting over food plots planted particularly to attract deer," Dill said. "I just see some conflict there in how that's perceived."

Dill said he doesn't plan to introduce legislation during this session that would allow deer baiting .

"My leaning would be to allow baiting," Dill said. "But I'm not in a position -- I wouldn't put in a bill unless there was enough support that it would pass."

DNR wildlife officials have always held a position against baiting for deer hunting, and the state has never permitted it.

"From a biological standpoint, we oppose baiting," said Dennis Simon, chief of the DNR's wildlife section. "It concentrates deer in sites where disease transmission can easily happen. ... In addition to that, I think there are questions about fair chase that many hunters have and many wildlife biologists have."