BISMARCK – The presence of chronic wasting disease prompted the North Dakota Game and Fish Department to invoke a ban on hunter’s using bait piles to attract deer. CWD is a neurological disease known to be fatal for deer.
Game and Fish contends the practice of baiting increases the spread of the disease. Hunters throughout the state have objected to what they say is an unnecessary restriction that does little to stop the spread of CWD.
The opposition to the Game and Fish baiting ban in several deer gun hunting units led to the introduction of House Bill 1151 which states, “The department may not issue rules or adopt a policy or practice prohibiting the baiting of deer for lawful hunting.”
The bill has generated a considerable amount of interest with many people offering written or oral testimony. The House Energy and Natural Resources Committee, after a hearing at the State Capitol, directed a sub-committee to study the bill, naming Dick Anderson, R-Dis. 6, Willow City, and vice-chairman of the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee to head up the sub-committee.
Anderson’s sub-committee work led to proposed amendments to HB1151. Among them is replacing “deer for lawful hunting” to “big game animals” which would include elk and moose, and the banning of baiting statewide from January 1 to August 24. Baiting would be legal from August 25 to December 31, which covers existing hunting seasons.
Another amendment limits the total amount of “supplemental feed attractants” to not exceed 50 gallons of “grain, seed, minerals, salt, fruit, vegetables, nuts, hay, and any naturally derived scent or lure including urine, or natural or manufactured food.” Additionally, no baiting would be allowed within 150 feet of any property line.
A further amendment reads, “The department shall establish a chronic wasting disease task force to address chronic wasting disease. The membership of the task force must include the state veterinarian and members of the Senate and House of Representatives from standing committees addressing Energy and Natural Resources. The task force shall provide the director and governor recommendations for rules and regulations based on the best available information to minimize the impact of chronic wasting disease on North Dakota’s deer, elk, and moose.”
The sub-committee work will be presented to the full Energy and Natural Resources Committee for their consideration as early as this week. The committee will forward their approved version of HB1151 to the full House with a do or do not pass recommendation.