Prep Hunters Weigh in on Baiting Controversy

On October 1st, the beginning of deer season will be upon us, but the implementation of a new policy on the baiting of deer leaves many Prep hunters divided.

The Mississippi department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) voted on August 19 to make the hunting and harvesting of deer over a feeder in the line of sight legal as long as the feeder is 100 yards or more away. This has caused mixed opinions in the state as some believe it takes away from the sport and gives anti hunters more ammunition towards their argument to outlaw hunting, while others believe it is just a change in policy.

“Supplemental feeding,” as it is officially known by the MDWFP, has had policy changes that have relaxed the rules over the years. The policy previous to the change was the feeder could not be in the line of sight and had to be 100 yards or more away . The Mississippi Wildlife Federation (MWF) ran a survey in June of 2015 that asked the opinions of hunters around the state if the feeder should be required to be out of view or if it could be in sight. 62 percent voted feeders to be allowed in sight. The issue was brought up unexpectedly at the meeting. The vote was not listed on the meeting agenda that is available for public viewing. One commissioner said “supplemental feeding” and the vote was taken.

Prep sophomore Nelson Ramsey said, “I personally think that baiting deer should not be legal in Mississippi. I think it takes the sportsmanship aspect out of hunting. Traditionally the state has never baited deer so I think it should stay the same way.” He later went on to say Mississippi has a very high population of deer and he thinks this change could seriously hurt the population’s numbers.

Illustration by Tripp Perkins
Illustration by Tripp Perkins

Senior Biggs Henry, on the other hand, said, “I think I’m for this law because we need to kill a lot more deer. I kinda hate deer actually. We need all the meat we can get..”

This law has angered some non-hunters, including 9th grader Adam Malone. When asked if he thought if the law was unfair towards deer he said, “In a way, but I think that they (hunters) should be able to hunt but not be able to kill so many of them (deer).”

Sophomore Jack Turnage, who is happy about the rule change says “This rule change will give hunters to come back this year with a bang, if you know what I mean.”

Avid hunter Will Osborne, a sophomore, says, “I do not support the baiting of deer. I believe it is like hunting in a high fenced area. I believe in fair chase, and it does not give the deer a fair chance.”

Sophomore Robert Tyson believes the baiting of deer will help hunters have a look at the deer that are on their property. And hunters will be able to figure out what they can and cannot shoot.

The issue of baiting deer has caused a divided opinion amongst Prep hunters, while some believe it is unfair, others think it will help hunters regulate deer herds and keep populations in check.