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Alabama House OKs letting hunters take deer through baiting

April 11, 2019

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow hunters to take deer or feral swine through baiting, if they get a license to do so.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports the House approved the measure Thursday, 85-10. It now goes to the Senate, where senators have rejected it in the past. State law currently prevents the use of bait to hunt animals.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Danny Crawford, a Republican from Athens, says the measure might help manage the deer population, particularly should a condition known as chronic wasting disease, which affects the brains of deer and other wild animals, infiltrate Alabama. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said through March, there had been no reported CWD cases in Alabama, though counties in Mississippi and Tennessee have reported it.

“They’re more concerned about the opportunity to best manage our deer herd, which is a more than $2 billion industry,” Crawford said.

The bait license would cost a total of $15 for residents of the state, and $51 for nonresidents.

Critics through the years have said baiting is not hunting, and those criticisms surfaced again during House debate on Thursday. Rep. A.J. McCampbell, D-Livingston, said he believed in “fair chase” and said baiting would teach people to become “ambushers.”

“You are just making people lazy,” he said. “All they’re doing is figuring out ‘Alright, we’ll put corn out here,’ and we’ll just wait for a deer to come and eat the corn, as opposed to learning the migration of the deer.”

Crawford and other supporters cited the problem of feral swine as a reason for the bill, an issue raised by Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee.

“The deer have no limits,” she said. “They’re coming from everywhere . if you ever get touched by a wild hog, you will never forget it, because they plow up your yard like a tractor.”

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Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

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