Don’t Take The Bait
Updated: Sep 10
“That’s wrong!” or “you shouldn’t be doing that!” If you’re a hunter and deer food plot producer, you’ve had both of those phrases screamed at you, possibly even splicing in some sort of profanity. While the state of Michigan outlawed baiting for wildlife in January of 2019, which at this point feels like decades ago, a misunderstood debate rages on about whether or not food plots are considered baiting. For starters, food plotting is not baiting. Secondly, those with qualms about the process and what truly goes on need to take a good long look at the language of the law and the overall health and safety of the deer in the herd. Fully equipped with walking trails and hunting blinds, yes, deer food plots are built and maintained to ensure all sorts of wildlife can have their chance at biting off a piece of the delicacy, but it’s also about providing that five-star restaurant experience to deer that otherwise wouldn’t have it. Hunters, particularly those that manage food plots, are of course interested in big ole deer with big ole antlers for the next big ole social media post during the season. But it goes deeper than that. This is about the health and well being of the deer leading up to the season. Growing a strong and nutritious food plot is incredibly beneficial for the environment, as well as the wildlife, ultimately leading to well put together deer in a more natural way. This is where the “debate” should end, but if not, let’s paint another picture, a nasty picture. There’s an old gas station off a two lane highway, 55 miles per hour is the speed limit. Behind that gas station, on a tiny little piece of old, cracked concrete is rotten carrots tied to a pole and any other disgusting, non-managed veggies you can think of. Corralling deer in to eat this unmaintained disaster has several negative effects on the health and well being of these deer. Deer food plots are fresh gardens, a place where these deer can get the nutrients necessary to grow big and healthy and ultimately turn into a healthier version of venison for humans. Eating at a nasty, sun baked baiting stop is like eating leftover and overdue food day after day after day, eventually it’ll catch up to you and your body will be in rough shape. Food plots provide the minerals, grain and greens deer crave, living their best lives from the privacy of a beautiful garden. “Fresh” is food plotting. As humans we gravitate for that freshly cooked meal with ingredients that are never frozen. Baiting is lazy, harmful and incredibly poor intended. If there is a debate between deer food plots and baiting, end the discussion with facts, and think long and hard about those deer frolicking on up to eat a dried out banana peel outback of an old coney island off Route 127. Give your herd the nutrients and vegetation they need, and deserve. Don’t take the bait.