Big Game Baiting Now Off Limits in Cowboy State
Using bait to hunt deer, as often seen in outdoor catalogs and television programs, as well as all other big game animals is now against the law in Wyoming.

The law, which was passed by the 2001 Wyoming Legislature and took effect July 1, 2001, also applies to elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goats.

Game and Fish Department Assistant Chief Game Warden Terry Cleveland says it is now a violation to knowingly hunt big game over bait, as well as placing the bait for big game hunting purposes.

He emphasizes the law does not apply to hunters in grain fields, hay fields, haystacks or around other accepted agricultural practices.

The law prohibits "distributing or scattering salt, hay, grain, fruit, nuts or chemical, mineral or other feed as an attraction or enticement to big game animals regardless of the kind and quantity." Scents and fragrances masking human scents often used by archers are exempt and remain legal.

"Although big game baiting had not become widespread yet in Wyoming, the practice was growing and so was the outcry against it," Cleveland said. "The new law will help project a positive hunting image for Wyoming."

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Marlene Simons of Beulah.

The new law only applies to big game — elk, deer, antelope, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Black bear baiting is not affected by the law.

Anyone convicted of baiting big game faces a maximum fine of $750, up to six months in jail and forfeiting up to six years hunting privileges.

Anyone suspecting baiting is urged to call the "Stop Poaching" hotline at (800) 842-1934.

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