Hunting without bait

Discussion in 'Michigan Whitetail Deer Hunting' started by Tilden Hunter, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. Martin Looker

    Martin Looker

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    This all sounds like the way we hunted years ago. We watched them come north from the fields in the morning and go south in the evening. Baiting changed all of that. Now I just watch them wander from the baited areas on either side of my place.
    FullQuiver likes this.
  2. Flight of the arrow

    Flight of the arrow Premium Member

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    Carleton, michigan
    I hunt Northern and southern Michigan, On my place up north they feed heavy on the alfalfa fields and acorns when they are there. It’s private on both pieces of ground, up north I hunt between the food and there bedding, once you locate it you just have to bid your time and be ready. Southern Michigan the food is everywhere so I hunt pinch points and the funnels, I mostly bow hunt and don’t firearm hunt much. Every deer is walking and you learn to draw on a walking deer then stop them and punch a hole.

  3. FullQuiver


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    Around me no one has stopped baiting.. It's a joke that there are so few around me who obey the law. Even yesterday midday I was going to go cut some firewood on a permit and in the wind I drove up on a guy unloading a bag of carrots from the rear of his truck.. DNR mean does not respond around here so no sense in calling..

    How to hunt without bait is easy. Find sign figure out what it means and position yourself accordingly.. But hunt sign not trees or water or even food because food without deer will be an excercise in futility..
  4. skipper34


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    Swartz Creek
    On the public land we hunt in NLP we rely on our trail cams to locate deer because it is difficult to make trips up north to scout on a somewhat regular basis. And we hunt a low deer/low hunter area which is what we prefer without bait. When we take deer up there they are well earned.
  5. fishx65


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    Not being able to bait seems like it would affect bow hunters way more than gun hunters just because of the range difference. I would think most decent rifle hunters can figure out a way to get within 150 yds of a deer without using a bait pile. Or, I don't know what the heck I'm talking about since I don't rifle hunt.:):)
  6. Shawnxbow


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    The only time I baited if you call it that was bowing hunting. I use to spread some corn around so the deer would stop and give me good shot. When I was young I use to use carrots. But I have not used bait in years nor will I go back. I do miss a bait pile in the back yard to see the deer but I can live with out that

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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
  7. Jimbo 09

    Jimbo 09

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    No baiting makes you a better hunter. You will learn to find the natural food sources, bedding, funnels etc and set stand accordingly. Even easier when the rut comes. Find the does and the bucks will come.
  8. CDN1


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    Sarnia Ontario
    Morning hunts should be as close to bedding as possible. Evening hunts should be close to or on food.
    Rut hunts should be in funnels, saddles, pinch points...hunt the does. Blinds are for rainy days on ag fields. Early season food will be green ag, soft mast and Hard mast. Late season food will be ag grains or browse.
    If you want more time to observe deer hunt ag fields or food plots.
    I have never baited deer never will.
    Something about shooting a deer over pile of apples, corn or carrots seems unfair to me. I kinda get it in places like the UP or Northern Alberta where without it you may never see a deer just due the the shear size of the landscape. Even there you can still use topography to take advantage of likely buck travel routes, bucks will bed high, look for tell tail rub lines for travel corridors. Hunt the edges, swamps, conifers edges, water ways.

    This is the way I approach hunting deer minuns bait piles Good luck this season !
    Wild Thing likes this.
  9. Martian


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    Davison Mi
    for me decoy hunting has replaced bait
    Spartan88 likes this.
  10. Wild Thing

    Wild Thing

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    Iron Mountain
    We killed three 3 1/2 year old bucks on my property last year with zero bait. It was the first year of the baiting ban in the CWD area of the U.P. but it didn't stop 90+ percent of the hunters from continuing to bait. I am almost certain that every camp around us continued to bait so we were very likely the only parcel in a very large area that did not use bait.

    In the past we have kept several automatic spin-cast feeders going on our property to keep some deer around during the firearms season as we know that our neighbors rely heavily on bait. We rarely ever saw a shooter buck at these bait sites so we seldom hunted near them, but not having them last year definitely cut back on our deer sightings which were down nearly 80% from our previous 15 year average. Ironically enough though - our sightings of mature bucks was pretty much unchanged.

    All 3 of the bucks we tagged were shot from permanent box blinds. One of them was shot in a large (3.5 acre) food plot when my son grunted him in from the far end of the plot to within 100 yards for a shot. The other 2 were killed near scrapes on the edge of thick cover (see my signature below). One of them was shot at a distance of 100 yards and the other at 80 yards. These 2 bucks were killed by my wife and myself. Neither of us hunted at any of our food plots the entire season. We plant a lot of food here but we consider food plots to be a source of deer (and other wildlife) nutrition and to keep some deer in the area. They are nice to hunt for our doe management, usually during muzzle loader season, but not so good for hunting mature bucks.

    Of course, this hunting took place on our private property which we are very familiar with. We know where the deer travel corridors are located and we create a lot of mock scrapes to supplement natural scrapes. They become community hubs which are used by all deer year round, but especially by more mature bucks during the rut, and yes during the pre-rut and post-rut.