New deer bait law contradicts some local ordinances

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MANITOWOC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- After our report last week that Governor Scott Walker changed deer baiting laws for the state, some hunters in Manitowoc County reached out to Action 2 News to clarify what happens when state law contradicts city and county ordinances.

Andrea Hay spoke to hunters and officials at a bow hunt information session today and found the answer to be complicated.

"I'm confused a little bit on the baiting,” admitted Manitowoc County bow hunter David Hassemer.
County and city laws state that hunters in Manitowoc cannot bait deer, and until last week, and Wisconsin state law agreed. Now in places where chronic wasting disease was confirmed, a baiting ban is limited to three years. That means the Manitowoc County ordinance has been canceled—or, trumped—by the state law—which has more authority.

Lt. Mark Schroeder, Manitowoc Police Department explains the complex rules. “As far as the private parcels in the city of Manitowoc, if they want to bait, which is DNR regulated, go ahead. As far as the city owned property, we have the three properties that we allow citizens to hunt on, but we are going to deny baiting on that."

Lt. Schroeder says hunting on public land became legal ten years ago with the purpose of thinning the herd. The city is allowed to go beyond the reach of the state law, because, according to Schroeder, they are technically the land owners.

"The city has control over that land and that's just the decision that we made at this time is that we will not allow baiting on those three lands. By allowing baiting in that area, all we would be doing is drawing more deer into that area, which would probably defeat the purpose of the hunt in those specific areas,” said Lt.Schroeder.

He tells us if you have any questions about baiting and hunting deer in the city of Manitowoc, you can call him directly, or visit the DNR website.

So, here’s a recap:

You cannot use bait on public land in the city of Manitowoc.

You can use bait on private land in the city and county of Manitowoc.