Wildlife - Deer Information
Why do Baiting Laws differ between the Piedmont and Coastal Plain of South Carolina?
Deer harvest and hunter effort data from South Carolina
Although baiting may increase deer harvest rates under certain conditions, statewide deer harvest figures indicate that in the Piedmont, where baiting is prohibited, hunters harvest 28 percent more deer per square mile than hunters in the Coastal Plain where baiting is the norm.20 Also, coastal hunters expend 22 percent more time afield in harvesting this reduced number of deer. Harvesting female deer is the key to deer management and data indicates that in the Piedmont, where baiting is prohibited, hunters harvest equal numbers of does and bucks while in the Coastal Plain, where baiting is not prohibited, hunters take more bucks than does. Many proponents of baiting claim that the incidence of deer-vehicle collisions can be reduced if hunters bait. However, in spite of a 33 percent greater human population in the Piedmont, per capita deer-vehicle collision is 9 percent less than in the Coastal Plain.
In total, the evidence strongly suggests that baiting does not increase the harvest of deer over broad regions in South Carolina. In fact, deer harvest and hunter effort data voluntarily submitted as part of the Deer Hunter Survey which is sent randomly to 25,000 hunters annually indicate that baiting may be negatively impacting harvest rates and hunter effort in the Coastal Plain (Table 1).21
SCDNR Wildlife Section staff attributes these negative impacts of baiting in the Coastal Plain to hunter dependence on bait, increased nocturnal behavior by deer around bait and increased body condition which affects deer movements. Each of these factors erodes hunter effectiveness leading to decreased harvest rates.
Table 1. Parameters from South Carolina regions where baiting is prohibited (Piedmont) and not prohibited (Coastal Plain), 2000-2007. Data was voluntarily submitted by hunters as part of annual Deer Hunter Survey.
|Total deer harvest (mi2)||14.2||11.1||27.9|
|Doe harvest (mi2)||7.1||5.3||33.9|
|Buck harvest (mi2)||7.1||5.8||22.4|