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Michigan Deer Baiting Ban


whitetail buck standing in a field

Male, Buck, antler




The Michigan Deer Baiting ban has left Michigan whitetail deer hunters without many options. After years of hunters getting into the habit of hunting over bait piles they must learn to adapt to have a successful whitetail deer hunting season. Many hunters spend most of the year looking forward to fall. As summer winds down and the reality of changing colors on the trees sets in, hunters start to daydream about deer camp.

Getting away from the daily grind to enjoy a few days or weeks in their own version of heaven. As the days get shorter, most outdoorsmen and women get excited about target shooting, scouting for the best stand placement and spending time with old friends around deer camp. In most situations deer hunters have been spoiled with little “pregame work” to attracting deer. A majority of hunters know that a bucket of shelled corn, or bag of sugar beets, carrots or apples, whichever they prefer, will quickly attract deer into their sights. Baiting allowed deer hunters to simply show up for action. With busy work and family schedules this strategy simply worked well with the time that most deer hunters have available. With the efforts put forward by the Michigan DNR to slow the spread of disease in the Michigan whitetail deer herd, we as hunters must do our part and learn new strategies.

Old Ideas Into A New Generation

As a child I listened to stories from the “older generation” about the good ‘ol days at deer camp. My grandfather is wonderful at telling stories. He has the ability to make you feel as if you were actually there. He would tell stories about hunting in swamps, spending hours searching for heavily traveled deer runways, hours in the cold and quietly stalking a buck that he had seen from a distance. Out of all the stories that I have enjoyed over the years, none of them involved “bait piles”. They harvested absolute trophies, and never sat in a blind. Is it possible to bring back old traditions into a new generation of deer hunters?

Food plots vs feed piles

The goal of most whitetail deer hunters is to harvest the buck of their dreams. To go back to work after their getaway to deer camp with the best story. For a majority of deer hunters deer camp is a time to relax and forget about worry. Baiting has allowed hunters to enjoy deer camp without much work involved. Although it is easer to simply put out a bucket of your choice of deer feed, baiting isn’t all its cracked up to be.

Deer seem to be “skittish” when approaching a bait pile, and usually the older bucks will not even come near a bait pile, especially in daylight. Food plots allow deer to feed more naturally and comfortably. Although food plots require a few more hours of “pregame” work, the payoff could be well worth it. There is many different methods to planting a food plot and also a large variety of seeds to look at. Look at your resources and find out your best option. In many cases food plots are more cost effective over the long run and will bring better overall results to your whitetail deer season.

Public hunting land

Not every Michigan hunter has the privilege to access private land. This isn’t anything to worry about. Michigan has a tremendous amount of public land available to deer hunters. With baiting no longer in the picture, whitetail deer have no option but to find their own resources. This can be a good thing for deer hunters. Spending a few hours preseason learning were deer are feeding, finding the bedding areas and watering holes will give the advantage to the hunter. Learn the best trails in and out of your stand. Learn the times of day that a deer herd travels a specific trail. Spend time researching a specific area, take notes, and use them. Scouting and patience will pay off better than bait ever has.

Are You Ready For Deer Camp? Is Your Deer Camp Ready For You?

If you need some help checking off items on your to-do list, give Lucas a call.


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