Hunters Flock To Perry And Speak For And Against Hunting Over Bait/Feed
The last House meeting is Sept. 7, 2005 at the Gwinnett Justice Center in Lawrenceville.
The first of three House Wildlife Management Study Committee meetings took place Aug. 19, 2005 in Perry. There were 102 people at the meeting, and they listened to speakers state their cases for and against the issue of hunting over bait/feed.
This House Wildlife Management Study Committee was created because the subject of hunting over bait/feed has been a thorn in the legislature’s side for several years. Five House members have been assigned the task of gathering hunter and landowner information on the issue of baiting. Three meetings to allow hunters to speak out are part of the process.
After the 2 1/2 hour meeting in Perry, 25 individuals had spoken — 15 anti-baiters and 10 who wanted to be able to hunt over bait/feed.
From the anti-baiting camp, speakers represented a wide variety of groups — retired DNR, the National Wildlife Society, the Heritage Wildlife Conservation Council and the Georgia Wildlife Federation. Concerns about legalizing baiting ranged from disease, ethics and public perception.
“If we go to baiting we’re going to be faced with a bad situation in the media,” said Jeff Young of Monroe. “Neil Boortz is one of the top-ranked national talk-show hosts. He’s one of the most vocal anti-hunters in the world. He hates hunting, and when he hears Georgia has legalized hunting over bait, he’s going to get on the air waves, and we’re all going to be a bunch of Billy Bobs hunting over corn.”
Several speakers who spoke in favor of hunting over bait/feed argued that hunting over it was no different than hunting over food plots or using deer lure to attract deer to your stand. Several small landowners wanted to see hunting over bait/feed legalized.
“We feed year-round, and I have trouble not being able to harvest over what I spend money over all year,” said Glenn West of Marshallville. “I have 102 acres, and approximately 11 acres are in food plots. I put nine tons a year out of high-protein pellets. We have to be very careful where we hunt because of being too close to the supplemental places. We spend a lot of money a year on that, and I think it should be legalized.”
People at the meeting could fill out a survey about hunting over bait/feed. For those who completed the forms, the results were 51 for hunting over bait/feed and 33 against.
The committee members were appointed by Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) and was chaired by Rep. Jay Roberts (R-Ocilla). Other members include: Allen Freeman (R-Macon), Rep. Bob Lane (R-Statesboro), Rep. Gene Maddox (R-Cairo), Rep. Jay Shaw (D-Lakeland).
The second meeting was held in Tifton, but the results were not available by presstime. The last meeting will be September 7 at the Gwinnett Justice Center in Lawrenceville from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.
Any proposed legislation that would come from the committee with plans to go before the General Assembly in January would have to be reported to the House by December 1, 2005.
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