Alabama has a penchant for strange and confusing game laws, like the current deer-baiting regulation, which allows you to use bait as long as the feed is placed at least 100 yards away from your stand and not in your direct line of sight.
Who knows exactly what that means? How could a game warden enforce it?
Well, that law might change, possibly to be replaced by another unusual statute.
The Alabama Times Daily reports that the state’s House of Representatives has voted to allow people to flat-out use bait—for a fee!
House Bill 197 allows for baiting of deer and feral pigs on private and leased lands for a $14 annual “bait privilege license fee” and a $1 issuance fee. Out-of-state hunters would pay $50.
“We have concerns about Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and we also have concerns about the current (baiting) law and there is an opportunity with this bill to be used as a tool for (the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources),” bill sponsor Rep. Danny Crawford, R-Athens, said.
But wait… I thought one of the biggest potential problems with baiting, according to some scientists and wildlife organizations like the Alabama Wildlife Federation, is that corn or other feed unnaturally congregates deer in a relatively small area, thus possibly increasing the threat and spread of CWD and other disease?
Hey, it’s Alabama!
Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham, who abstained from the vote, said: “I voted that way because I was confused, because when they approached us about the bill, their main thing was about the disease part, the (CWD).But what confused me was that they said that if you do the feeding, that could control the disease from spreading…
“I don’t see any control of the disease in this bill, there has got to be something more for how they will treat the disease in my opinion.”
Hey, it’s Alabama!
Included in the bill is this provision: The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has the power to end baiting in case diseases are found in the state’s deer population. The bill says the state conservation commissioner may, without refund, suspend the use of a baiting privilege license on a county, regional, or statewide basis to prevent the spread of diseases.
So you might pay your baiting fee, start out the new season hunting over bait, then one day be forced to stop using bait without getting your money back…
Hey. it’s Alabama!
House Bill 197 was approved 85-10 and now goes to the Senate, where a similar version of the bill passed last week. The two chambers could form a conference committee to work out differences between the two versions before sending it to the governor’s desk possibly in time for the 2019-20 deer season.