One Mississippi wildlife leader has recently resigned following changes in the state’s deer baiting policy.
The former leader of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Deer Program, Lann Wilf, resigned on Sept. 16 just days before a big change to the state’s baiting laws.
Mississippi’s previous laws required that any baiting be at least 100 yards away from the hunter and that the feeder was hidden from view by naturally occurring landscape or vegetation. The new law, however, takes away the last stipulation and now allows the feeder and bait to be hunted directly as long as it is still 100 yards away from the hunter.
The change did pass, but was not supported by biologists, wildlife experts, and conservation groups in the state. These groups warned that supplemental feeding of deer increases the risk of transmitting diseases by bringing the deer much closer together than they would naturally be.
Experts also argued that one of the most popular foods used to bait deer, corn, is not actually very nutritious for the deer.
Biologist Brad Young put it this way, “From a biological perspective, it’s just that simple. It’s going to increase the number of people who do feed and decrease the health of the herd.”
Wilf has accepted a new position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services and said that the change was good for his family due to less travel requirements. When pressed about whether the commission approving the changes to the baiting law affected his decision to resign he replied with;
“I’m not going to comment on that publicly. Let’s just leave it at that.”
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