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Deer Baiting to be Debated at Legislature 

Kim Fundingsland
 January 13, 2023
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Hearing Set, Large Turnout Expected 

Several bills pertaining to the outdoors and outdoor activities are presented at each session of the North Dakota legislature. Perhaps the most watched bill by the state’s sportsmen in the current legislative session is HB 1151, a bill to take the ability to ban baiting for deer away from the Game and Fish Department. 

The bill is scheduled to be heard by the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee at 9 a.m. on Friday, January 20. It is expected that a high number of people will testify, for and against the bill, at the hearing. 

Here is the wording of the bill in its entirety: 

A BILL for an Act to create and enact a new section to chapter 20.1-05 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to baiting deer for hunting. 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF NORTH DAKOTA: 

 SECTION 1. A new section to chapter 20.1-05 of the North Dakota Century Code is created and enacted as follows:  

Baiting deer for hunting not prohibited. 

The department may not issue rules or adopt a policy or. practice prohibiting the baiting of deer for lawful hunting. 

Game and Fish has restricted baiting in a growing number of deer gun hunting units as a precaution against the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. CWD causes irreversible damage to the nervous system of deer, resulting in death. A primary factor in the spread of the disease is direct contact between infected animals. Game and Fish maintains “the practice of baiting exposes more deer to higher levels of CWD compared to what occurs naturally.” 

Those opposed to baiting restrictions maintain that scientific data regarding CWD is incomplete and that other factors, such as when deer herd up during the winter, can’t be controlled. Therefore, why should baiting restrictions be imposed on deer hunters? 

“That’s going to be the big one. That’s the one that has a high likelihood of getting contentious,” said Scott Peterson, NDGF deputy director, when asked about proposed bills involving Game and Fish issues. 

Rep. Todd Porter, R-Dis. 34, Mandan, is the chairman of the House Energy and Natural Resources committee. Vice-chairman is Rep. Dick Anderson, R-Dis. 6, Willow City. Minot is represented on the committee by Rep. Matthew Ruby, R-Dis. 40. 

Although more bills concerning Game and Fish can still be introduced, as of Friday the number totaled only 11, eight in the House and three in the Senate. 

“Right now, our load on Game and Fish related bills, is lighter than it normally would be,” said Peterson. 

Among the bills is one that would allow 11–13-year-olds to hunt during the regular deer gun season. Another seeks to allow .22 and .50 caliber firearms for big game hunting on private land. 

The deadline for Representatives to introduce bills is Monday, Jan. 16. The Senator’s deadline is Monday, Jan. 23. 

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