Baiting In West Virginia

John C. from West Virginia writes to ask about baiting. “It seems that everyone is baiting now in West Virginia. I hear from the Midwest that baiting helps spread chronic wasting disease. Also, I believe that big bucks just don’t come to bait all that much. Finally, I feel that kids just don’t learn many hunting skills when they hunt over bait for deer. My state is now considering a baiting ban during the hunting season. What do you think about baiting?”

Dr. Dave Samuel
Dr. Dave Samuel

First, the bottom line is that more and more folks are baiting, and yes, it definitely helps spread chronic wasting disease. We now know that contact with urine and feces of infected deer, leads to spread of that disease. So, the wildlife agency in West Virginia is doing the right thing. Some day, when CWD does get to West Virginia, they will then have to stop baiting. Doing it now is a step in the right direction, but hunters will not like it.

A new study out of South Carolina shows that in that state, the part of the state with baiting has lower harvest rates than the part of the state without baiting. I find that very interesting. And, I concur. Big bucks are less likely to come to bait sites where there is fair hunting pressure, except during the night.

In short, I am not a fan of baiting deer. The negatives far outweigh the positives.

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.

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5 Responses to “Baiting In West Virginia”

  1. Avatar


    CWD, has been in WV since back in 2005,
    On August 25, 2005, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) received
    notification from the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study located at the University
    of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine that a lymph node sample from a 2½-year-old male
    road-kill deer collected as a part of routine Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance in
    Hampshire County, West Virginia had an abnormal test result suggesting the animal could be
    positive for the CWD agent. According to protocol,the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife
    Disease Study sent samples to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary
    Services Laboratories, which reported positive CWD
    test results on September 2, 2005

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    Hunting over bait has always been illegal in WV

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      before you put info out in your comments make sure that it is accurate, as some people believe everything that they read. Baiting in the state of WV is not illegal, except that it is illegal to bait or feed any wildlife on public land between Sept. 1 and December 31, and during the spring gobbler season. copies of WV’s game laws can be found at, or hard copies can be obtained from most sporting goods stores.

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        Baiting is also illegal in the CWD containment area counties in WV. If you ask WV DNR biologists there are many more negative results from having a healthy deer herd then there are positive. The biggest one being the spread of disease such as CWD plus many other diseases because of over concentrating deer in one area

  3. Avatar


    I thank baited places for deer also gives the coyotes a better chance on thinning the deer population they hunt the baited areas for easy prey