May 30, 2020

Illegal deer baiting on the rise in parts of Maine, wardens say

LEWISTON – Products with names such as “Deer Cocaine,” Deer GoInsane” and “Stump Likker” are used to bait deer. They’re OK to sell in Maine, but are against the law to use and could be one reason for an increase in illegal baiting that game wardens are seeing.

“Anything that a deer can ingest is illegal in Maine,” said spokesman Mark Latti of the state Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department.

Wardens say they’re seeing an increase in other forms of poaching, such as illegal use of tree stands, in parts of the state. To be legal, tree stands must be marked with the owner’s name and address. The ladders and platforms can be placed only on the owner’s land unless another landowner gives advance permission.

In the Lewiston-Auburn area, wardens are seeing increased use of deer stands, both portable and permanent.

Local laws restrict the use of guns to hunt deer in that area. But some archery hunters are crossing the legal line by putting out bait to draw their prey into bow range. In Lisbon, a man was fined $500 last year for using an illegal stand as well as baiting.

Warden Sgt. Doug Tibbetts said deer baiting is nothing new in the Bangor area, but it’s on the increase. Tibbetts said that as more land becomes posted, baiting is becoming more common. Another factor may be an increase in bait products that are available in stores as well as on the Internet.

Warden Rick Stone acknowledged it’s not easy to catch hunters using illegal bait. “But we’re seeing it a lot,” he said.

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