Illegal baiting for deer carries stiff penalties in Minnesota.
Conservation officers in Minnesota still see illegal baiting of deer despite their ongoing enforcement efforts this deer season. As the deer firearms season opened on November 7, DNR officers spread out to conduct enforcement activities with inspections of hunters and stand locations.
With nearly 500,000 hunters heading out for the annual tradition, approximately 170 conservation officers were also active on the Saturday opener. One officer, Brent Grewe, headed to a stand for a snap inspection and found signs of baiting.
"Corn, apples and pumpkins right below the deer stand," Grewe said, but the hunter was not in his stand, "I thought for sure they'd be out here. I think they'll be back." He announced that he would be back, too, to have another look.
The DNR has not seen a decline in baiting violations over the years, even with increased penalties, but they are also quick to point out that it not the majority of hunters. "It's a fraction of the hunters that cause problems," Grewe said,"We rely on tips from ethical hunters."
Baiting is a risky prospect for those hunters who choose to break the rules, with stiff penalties attached. Baiting and getting caught will likely carry a loss of hunting rights for a year, confiscation of the gun or archery equipment, and a substantial fine of $300, not including court costs.
Grewe commented that most encounters with hunters are a positive experience overall, "I have more positive experiences than negative ones," he said. "I try to approach everyone with a smile."
The last hunting season conservation officers handed out 15o tickets and 48 warnings due to illegal baiting, approximately the same number as 2013 and slightly lower than 2012.