DNR charges 52 deer hunters with baitingFifty-two deer hunters in Northeastern Minnesota were charged with hunting over bait on opening weekend, according to Capt. Ken Soring, regional enforcement supervisor at Grand Rapids with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Fifty-two deer hunters in Northeastern Minnesota were charged with hunting over bait on opening weekend, according to Capt. Ken Soring, regional enforcement supervisor at Grand Rapids with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Baiting is “very active, a lot of complaints,” Soring said Thursday.
In addition to the 52 charges made, about 30 of the hunters’ firearms were seized, Soring said. If the hunters are convicted, they will lose their firearms. Another 14 warnings were issued for hunting over bait, Soring said.
In all cases, the hunters charged knew that baiting was illegal, Soring said.
Corn is the most commonly used bait, but some hunters also use sunflower seeds, apples and pumpkins, Soring said.
“We’re still having baiting issues,” Kipp Duncan, a Duluth-area conservation officer, said. “I would say maybe we’ve put a little bit of a damper on it over the past handful of years. Yet, it’s still happening.
“The legislature has addressed it by fine-tuning a few things — eliminating the bird-feeding exemption, and we’re in year two of the higher fines [now $300 plus court fees]. And the possibility of people’s heirlooms [rifles] being seized and confiscated upon conviction might be curbing some behavior.”
In addition, legal hunters are more willingly coming forward to provide tips on hunters who bait, Soring said.
“They’re against it, so they’re giving us information, which is helping us make cases,” he said. “What gets tough is if one officer, say, has 10 or 15 baited stands, it’s tough to get to all of them while the hunters are on them.”