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Taking the Bait: Hunting Deer over Bait Moves towards House Vote

A Column by the Editor
web posted February 1, 2013

COLUMN – A bill that sped through the SC Senate last week allowing hunting deer over bait, usually corn, is now about to head to the full House for a vote after a 3-1 vote of a wildlife subcommittee to move the bill forward. Rep. Bill Hixon, who represents a portion of the Merriwether area and North Augusta, voted to advance the ill-conceived bill. The legislature should be voting to remove baiting deer in other parts of the state rather than making it legal statewide.

First of all, I find the wording very peculiar; "hunting over bait" is not hunting, it is the regulated slaughter of our wildlife. And as slippery slopes go, once it is legal to bait deer what is there to stop baiting for other wildlife such as dove, turkey, quail, ducks, squirrels, bear, alligators, and on down the line?

Secondly, sitting over a pile of corn to kill a deer requires one skill, learning how to cut open a bag of corn feed.

The US Dept. of Interior has signs in every National Park stating that visitors are not to feed the wild life because it makes the wildlife less afraid of humans (a natural instinct for survival in the wild) and lessens their ability to find natural sources of food on their own. Something that is akin to the welfare state the federal government pushes, but that is another column in and of itself.     

In conversations with Sen. Massey during the bill streaking through the legislative body in about two weeks, he stated that there is "too much money" in the Low country to get a bill passed banning baiting deer there, so allowing baiting in the Upstate at least makes things fair statewide. 

Sen. Massey voted against the bill's passage as did most of the Upstate Senators in the 22-15 vote to approve.

I spoke briefly to Rep. Bill Clyburn on the matter Thursday and he was unclear about how he would vote. He stated that he wanted to hear from constituents in the area, most importantly hunters, not politicians.

Since the first report of the bill was published by Edgefield Daily, calls, emails, and personal encounters have been overwhelmingly against allowing baiting. Several notable people from Edgefield County testified against the bill in the House subcommittee on Wednesday, which passed the bill on to the full house following the hearings.

The bill appears to be on a fast track for passage in the House as it was in the Senate, however; now that the issue is in the public realm the passage may slow down a bit. But I fear it will be controlled by those in the lowstate who are protecting their right to hunt over bait outnumbering those who support the obvious, hunting over bait is not hunting and the practice should be outlawed across the state.

Contact you representatives and let them know your feelings on this bill. I encourage you to ask them to vote no.

Rep. Bill Clyburnd (D)
Bill Hixon (R)

I remember a joke I heard when I was a young boy growing up in Trenton that fits this rather well. A group of farmers got together and hired a bunch of prostitutes and took them to a field where they had placed large amounts of liquor and piles of cash as the "political season" got underway. As the politicians swarmed the field the farmers sprang from their blinds and started gunning down the politicians. They were all arrested, not for shooting the pols, but for hunting over a baited field.

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