Barbour Expected to Veto Deer-Baiting Bill - - Jackson, MS

Jackson 04/02/08

Barbour Expected to Veto Deer-Baiting Bill

By Jon Kalahar

House bill 1089, the so-called "Deer Baiting Bill," has passed both the house and the senate. But word from the governor's office is that Haley Barbour plans to veto the bill, keeping it from becoming law.

But it may not matter whether it's law or not, because deer baiting is already a common practice here in Mississippi.

"When you go outside and you're in the woods, I just love being outdoors myself," said hunter, Bill McKee.

Many hunters like Bill McKee enjoy the thrill of the hunt, whether they bag the big buck or not, just hunting deer is enough for them. Still, McKee also keeps a feeder on his property.

"We have a lot of people that do it, matter of fact, I've got a feeder I keep out year round just to supplement the food for the deer," said McKee.

And McKee's not alone, I spoke with many hunter's who didn't want to talk on camera who say they may not hunt over corn feed or bait but they'll keep it on their property to keep the deer on their property. House wildlife committee chair, Bo Eaton says hunters want an even playing field.

"In Louisiana, it's legal, in Arkansas,it's legal and Texas and these hunters in the state want to have the same opportunity as those hunters in the other states that adjoin Mississippi," said Eaton.

For some it comes down to a matter of ethics, they say there's no fair chase no sportsmanship in killing a deer over bait.

But Eaton believes the decision to bait or not, should be left up to the hunter.

"What's best for the hunting public and this is an ethical issue that's before us and the hunters, in my opinion, if you feel like it's unethical then don't do it," said Eaton.

Last year, the wildlife commission was given authority to allow deer baiting. At this point, they are doing field tests to study how it affects the deer population.

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