MDC reminds hunters of baiting guidelines during deer, turkey season

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. –  The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds hunters to be aware of baiting regulations during the fall deer and turkey hunting seasons. The use of bait, including grain or other feed placed or scattered to attract deer or turkey, while hunting is illegal. The regulations are in place to help limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer and to ensure fair chase.

According to MDC’s Ozark Region Captain Gerald Smith, the placement of corn, or bait to hunt wildlife has “always been” a common Wildlife Code violation that conservation agents encounter during the fall. Additional rules apply if hunting in the 30-county CWD 2020-2021 deer season Management Zone.

Doe urine and other scents, such as apple, acorn, and persimmon, are allowed while hunting, if they are not used on or with grain and other food products. Mineral blocks, including salt, are not considered bait. However, mineral blocks that contain grain or other food additives are prohibited. MDC notes that mineral and salt blocks are not allowed on conservation areas and in a CWD zone. While it is legal to hunt over a harvested crop field, it is illegal to add grain or other crops, such as apples, to the field after it has been harvested.

“While the majority of hunters encountered by conservation agents are compliant with this regulation, we spend a lot time responding to reports and complaints of this type of violation,” Smith said. But whether on public land or private land, he said, “Anyone who is hunting in an area baited is in violation.”

One such report occurred when Smith said he recently received a call from a frustrated hunter who was scouting a familiar area of public land and discovered a large quantity of bait, a trail camera, and tree stand.

“The hunter knew that even if no one was hunting the tree stand, it would be a violation for him to hunt the area because of the bait,” Smith said.

Smith said the hunter provided a photo of his findings, along with the GPS coordinates. That information was then forwarded to local county conservation agents, according to Smith.

“These types of reports are common, and agents do investigate and follow up with each report,” Smith said.

He said the public pays attention to these types of violations. “When they see or hear about this activity, they are willing to report what they have seen,” Smith said. 

Due to COVID-19 concerns, MDC has transitioned its mandatory CWD sampling to voluntary sampling this year. Find more information on CWD and hunting regulations from MDC’s 2020 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations & Information Booklet, available where permits are sold and online at

Hunters are also encouraged to contact their local conservation agent or MDC regional office for additional questions or concerns. Find contact information at