Editorial-Opinion, April 2018

Steve Burch | April 12, 2018

There are several things that are on my mind today that may have a practical impact on us sportsmen this fall, and beyond.

The first item is hunting deer over feed with no distance restriction statewide.

Currently, half the state allows it, while the other half does not. Many of you will recall that I opposed making this practice legal, and you will recall that we made room in the magazine for the voices of those who agreed and disagreed with me. That was easily the most contentious fight among sportsmen I have ever witnessed. The outcome was a divided state.

During this session of the legislature, there has been a renewed effort to make all of the state the same. The push came from the Senate side. They passed a bill and sent it to the House. The Chairman of the House committee did not support baiting, but he allowed the legislators pass a bill out of committee, albeit altered with some changes those in the south won’t support.

Now, for a short detour into the legislative deep weeds: Regardless of that bill, there are still a number of ways for baiting deer to become legal, only one path being the Senate bill. Frequently, language from one bill can be added to another bill in the waning days of the legislature.

Think copy and paste.

I do not know what will happen in the legislative maelstrom of the final days under the Gold Dome, but I think there’s a chance a bill will be passed that allows deer baiting statewide. The bill would then go the Governor for signature. He is from north Georgia, and he is in his last legislature before his term ends early next year. If it is passed, and if it is signed by the governor, I think bowhunters will be hunting over bait statewide this fall.

And that brings me to the second thing on my mind—the weather.

The February thaw I mentioned a while back was unusually warm and unusually persistent. It was so warm and persistent that tree flowering and leafing out was ahead of schedule by as much as four weeks in some areas around the state. The weather was great in February, but as is often the case, March can be icy. If buds were nipped by Jack Frost, we may have lost some of our hard and soft mast in some places.

I think the areas most likely affected by cold temps will likely be in the upper Piedmont region.

So… if all this ruminating about the weather turns out to be an actual fact on the ground, it suggests less food on the ground in September to November this fall. And that means hunting over bait could likely be more effective this fall than during an average year of hard and soft mast availability.

Coincidentally, that leads into a new service we are going to begin providing to both our advertisers and to you, our very valuable readers.

Long before I ever thought a Northern Zone baiting bill would pass, and long before anyone could predict the weather in February and March, we decided that GON would begin having online auctions.

Beginning next month, GON will begin to auction off items at


Each auction starts at $1 and will run from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. And again, by sheer dumb luck, the item that will be our first-ever item for the new GON Absolute Auctions will be a deer feeder.

What are the odds?

And this is not just any feeder, it is a feeder developed and designed in a working wild hog lot, better known as Florida. More specifically, it was designed to feed deer and, equally as important, designed not to feed hogs and raccoons.

The feeder we are auctioning is better known as the Double D feeder made of 16 gauge galvanized steel, with stainless steel fasterners. It holds 150 pounds of feed, and the feed platform is high enough off the ground that hogs and ‘coons don’t benefit from your feed dollars. See

This rascal retails for $449. We are going to sell it May 3 with a starting price of $1.

If you want to bid on it and maybe get it at a deep discount, you have to be a registered user for our website. Registration is free, and if you already are registered, you will be good to bid.

By June, we hope the auctions will be daily—and a lot of fun.

Become a GON subscriber and enjoy full access to ALL of our content.

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