The regulations pertaining to baiting and feeding are divided into two geographical categories: (Visit dnr.wi.gov and search ‘baiting and feeding” for additional information.)
• Those counties where baiting and feeding deer is prohibited.
• Those counties where baiting and feeding of deer is allowed with a two-gallon limit.
Counties Where Baiting and Feeding is Not Allowed
Placing bait for hunting purposes is prohibited in the shaded counties shown on the Baiting and Feeding map at dnr.wi.gov, search “baiting and feeding”. In these counties, no person may place, use or hunt over bait or feed material for the purpose of hunting deer or place feed for non-hunting purposes.
Counties Where Baiting and Feeding is Allowed
In the remainder of the state (except for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands), baiting for deer hunting purposes is allowed only under the following conditions:
- Scents which are used only to attract deer by odor may be used for hunting deer statewide, but the scent may not be placed or deposited in a manner that makes it accessible for consumption by deer. Scents shall be removed daily at the end of shooting hours, except two ounces or less of scent do not need to be removed daily and may be placed, used or deposited in any manner for hunting deer.
- Natural Vegetation and Plantings: Hunting with the aid of material deposited by natural vegetation, material found solely as a result of normal agricultural or gardening practices, or with the aid of crops planted and left standing as wildlife food plots is legal. It is illegal to establish or maintain food plots/plantings on DNR-managed lands.
- Amount: Each hunter may place up to two gallons of bait for each property under the same ownership, regardless of the size of the property. If the property is larger than 40 acres, then each hunter may place an additional two gallons of bait for each additional full 40 acres of contiguous land under the same ownership (parcels of land that do not touch but are separated only by a town, county or state highway are considered contiguous). Bait may be spread out or divided into more than one pile as long as the total amount of bait or feed material is not more than two gallons per 40 acres or less.
- Placement: It is illegal to:
- place a baiting site within 100 yards of another baiting site;
- hunt within 100 yards of more than two gallons of bait on the same parcel of land;
- place a baiting site within 50 yards of any trail, road or campsite used by the public, or within 100 yards of a roadway having a posted speed limit of 45 mph or more. Note: removal of unlawfully placed bait or feed material does not preclude the issuance of a citation for the original placement of unlawful baiting or feeding material.
- Timing: It is illegal to:
- place, use or hunt over bait or feed for hunting purposes during the closed deer season, except bait may be placed starting the day prior to the archery deer season opener. In 2018, bait may be placed for deer hunting starting at 12 a.m. on September 14. Baiting must stop at the close of all deer seasons;
- hunt over bait or a feeding site that is in violation of these regulations unless the area is completely free of bait or feed material for at least 10 consecutive days prior to hunting, pursuing animals or dog training.
- Content: It is illegal to:
- place, use or hunt over any bait or feed material that:
- contains any animal part or animal byproduct. Animal parts and byproducts include honey, bones, fish, meat, solid animal fat, animal carcasses and parts of animal carcasses, but do not include liquid scents;
- is contained in or deposited by a feeder that is designed to deposit or replenish feed automatically, mechanically or by gravity; and
- contains or is contained within metal, paper, plastic, glass, wood or other similar processed materials. This does not apply to scent materials.
- License: No person may use or hunt over bait or feed material placed for deer unless in possession of or hunting with someone in possession of a valid archer, crossbow or gun deer license and an unused deer harvest authorization.
Feeding of Deer
In counties where it is legal to bait deer for hunting, it is also legal to feed deer for recreational viewing or other non-hunting purposes. The following regulations apply to feeding for nonhunting purposes:
• Each owner-occupied residence or business open to the public may place no more than two gallons of feed.
• The feed must be located within 50 yards of an owner-occupied residence or a business open to the public.
• The feed may not be located within 100 yards of a roadway with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or more.
• All baiting of deer for hunting purposes must stop when all the deer seasons have closed for that area. Feeding for non-hunting purposes, where allowed, can occur year-round.
It is illegal to:
- use a feeder that replenishes or distributes food automatically, mechanically or by means of gravity (i.e., automated feeders); and
- place feed at a deer feeding site that is known to be used by bear or elk. The owner of the residence or business must discontinue feeding for no less than 30 consecutive days if they become aware that bear or elk have been using a deer feeding site.
- Owner-occupied residence means a dwelling devoted to human occupancy that is used as a residence by the owner, members of the owner’s immediate family or as a residence by individuals as a rental property. It is not legal to feed deer at a residence when it is not being used as a residence.
- Business open to the public means a business building that allows the general public to enter and access the building.
There are many more regulations that you should read in the 2018 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations Handbook or on the WI DNR website. Regulations may change at any time.