As hunters fan out across Minnesota for the opening of the firearm deer season, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has a warning: Don't bait the deer.
Last year the DNR issued a record 166 citations for deer baiting, in addition to 49 warnings.
Baiting is the practice of placing food like grains, nuts or hay near deer stands or clearings to lure the animal into close shooting range.
"I think there's still this perception that it's giving someone the upper hand or an edge for taking a deer, and that no one will check me in my hunting spot, if I hide my bait, or if I'm secretive, I won't get caught," said Ken Soring, the DNR's enforcement director.
Soring says it's hard to tell if baiting is on the rise, or if the DNR is just doing a better job catching it. Last year the DNR increased penalties for deer baiting. In addition to a fine and having their weapons confiscated, hunters convicted of baiting will now not be able to buy a license for another year.
The firearms deer hunting season starts got underway Saturday.