The Missouri Department of Conservation reminds hunters to be aware of baiting regulations during the fall deer and turkey hunting seasons. The use of bait, including grain or other feed placed or scattered to attract deer or turkey, while hunting is illegal. The regulations are in place to help limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and to ensure fair chase.
"That's something that the department really wants to emphasize," said Perry County conservation officer Chris Doran. "With CWD zones and non-CWD zones, there's a little bit of confusion as far as what hunters can use and what they can't. With Perry County being in the CWD zone, you can't have any attractant at all — including salt – whereas in a non-CWD zone, like Cape Girardeau County, they can use salt. So we need to coordinate to keep folks informed about those changes and how they affect them.
According to MDC’s Protection Branch Captain Russell Duckworth, the placement of corn, or bait to hunt wildlife is a common Wildlife Code violation that conservation agents encounter during the fall. Additional rules apply if hunting in the 30-county CWD 2020-2021 deer season Management Zone, like Perry, Ste. Genevieve and St. Francois Counties.
Doe urine and other scents, such as apple, acorn, and persimmon, are allowed while hunting, if they are not used on or with grain and other food products. Mineral blocks, including salt, are not considered bait. However, mineral blocks that contain grain or other food additives are prohibited. MDC notes that mineral and salt blocks are not allowed on conservation areas and not to be used in a CWD zone. While it is legal to hunt over a harvested crop field, it is illegal to add grain or other crops, such as apples, to the field after it has been harvested.
“The majority of hunters encountered by conservation agents are compliant with this regulation, and we spend a lot time responding to reports and complaints of this type of violation,” Duckworth said. “Anyone who is hunting in an area baited is in violation. These types of reports are common, and agents do investigate and follow up with each report.”
Due to COVID-19 concerns, MDC has transitioned its mandatory CWD sampling to voluntary sampling this year. Find more information on CWD and hunting regulations from MDC’s 2020 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations & Information Booklet, available where permits are sold and online at mdc.mo.gov.
Hunters are also encouraged to contact their local conservation agent or MDC regional office for additional questions or concerns. Find contact information at https://mdc.mo.gov/contact-engage.