In North Carolina, there seems to be a lot of confusion with wildlife violations that involve baiting. The confusion can be not only in the field but also at the courthouse. A large percentage of wildlife violations involve baiting.
What is Baiting in North Carolina?
The definition of baiting differs depending on the type of game being hunted.
For instance, the “corn pile” that is used to harvest deer would clearly be illegal for harvesting a bear. Those feeders that are used during deer season could also cause problems during turkey season. For many years now, using bait for deer hunting has been legal in North Carolina and, in fact, has become a common practice among most hunters.
While there is proposed legislation to allow baiting for bears, at this time, it is not legal. Likewise, it is unlawful to use bait in the taking of wild turkeys.
When You Can Be Charged With Baiting
A North Carolina hunter can be charged with baiting not only if he knew but if he SHOULD HAVE KNOWN that he was hunting either over or near where bait had been placed. Obviously, hunters should be cautious when hunting bear or turkeys in areas where deer hunting takes place. An area is considered baited for 10 days after all bait has been consumed or removed.
A good rule of thumb is to scout the area you are hunting to make sure it is free from any type of baiting activity. Additionally, the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission does a good job on their website discussing issues regarding baiting and is a good reference source.
How Do Federal Laws Apply to Baiting?
Adding to the baiting confusion are the federal laws regarding migratory birds. Dove and waterfowl hunters need to be aware of the federal regulations under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which can be more restrictive than state regulations.
For example, bush-hogging a field may be perfectly legal for dove hunting, however, it is unlawful if done in waterfowl impoundments. The state and federal regulations make it incumbent upon every hunter of migratory birds to understand both the state and federal laws as they pertain to baiting. Again, another good resource for answers is the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement website.
Have You Been Charged with a Wildlife Violation?
As many hunters know, there is no better time to get checked by a law enforcement officer than on opening day of dove season and during the waterfowl season. Don’t let the urge for a good day in the field turn into a bad day at court. If you need help with North Carolina hunting violations call 919-615-2473 or contact a Raleigh attorney today.
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