Walter R. from West Virginia writes to ask about baiting with corn. “Baiting is legal in West Virginia and I use corn at bait sites and put it out all year-round. Is there any data that shows whether putting corn out “ad lib” is better or worse than rationing corn? And is it better to spread the corn or put it in a pile?”
Walter, deer that come in to a bait site spend more time on areas where the corn is spread out than they do if it is in a pile. Also, there is higher deer use if you ration the corn rather than put out all that they want (ad lib). But, the same study that gave me this data also talks a lot about the use of bait sites to spread chronic wasting disease.
In your state of West Virginia, around 30 deer have tested positive, and all from one county in the Eastern panhandle of that state. Baiting isn’t legal there, but it still is legal in the rest of the state. If you bait, data shows that chronic wasting disease (and other diseases) is more easily spread from one deer to another.
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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. 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.