Waterfowl Alliance Objects to Change in Baiting Rules – Offers Alternative
Legislation is working its way through the US Congress that would make it legal to hunt waterfowl over what has, until now, been considered a baited field (i.e., a ripe crop field that has been manipulated causing seed to scatter on the ground). Evidently, the purpose of the proposal is to avoid a situation where folks anticipate being able to hunt waterfowl but, due to the application of farming practices or Federal Crop Insurance Program requirements that create a baiting situation, they are not able to legally harvest waterfowl on the area. In most cases, the opportunity to hunt on such areas has already been paid for by hunt or lease fees. Such circumstances occurred a few years ago in Arkansas with second crop rice and in fields on Louisiana Delta Plantation that were manipulated prior to or during the waterfowl season. The legislation provides an exception to the definition of a baited area for fields treated with normal agricultural practices or crop destruction required by the Federal Crop Insurance Program as a way to resolve such situations in favor of hunters.
The LWA has objected to the legislation in letters to Senators Vitter and Cassidy and US Fish & Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. The letters are accompanied by a detailed discussion of the issue and recommendations for avoiding the creation of baiting situations in the future without upending the baiting rules that are necessary to conserve waterfowl resources and promote ethical hunting and the equitable enjoyment and utilization of our waterfowl resources. Follow this issue at www.louisianawaterfowl.org.