The Tennessee Conservative [By Adelia Kirchner] –
With January right around the corner Tennessee lawmakers are preparing for the 2024 legislative session, including Rep. Bryan Richey (R-Maryville-District 20) who has already filed a bill to allow individuals to hunt over bait on private land.
Currently, it is illegal to hunt in a “baited area” according to Tennessee Code § 70-4-113. A “baited area” is defined as the 250-yard radius of bait placement.
The “use of any pitfall, deadfall, cage, snare, trap, net, baited hooks, poison, chemicals, explosives, set guns, spotlights, electric lights or torches, bait, which includes any grain, or mixture of any ingredients, used as or for food purposes, or other devices for the purpose of killing, injuring, or capturing any birds or animals protected by the wildlife laws of this state” is prohibited.
In a 2011 press release, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) further clarified that “no person may hunt wildlife while using bait or may hunt any baited area where he or she knows or reasonably should have known that the area is or has been baited. Shooting into or entering into ‘a baited area’ for the purpose of hunting is prohibited.”
If an individual wants to hunt in a location that has been baited with deer corn for example, they must wait 10 days after the bait has been removed from the area.
“The law that this is in was first passed in 1951,” Lt. Col Cape Taylor stated before retiring from the TWRA. “If it’s food then you can’t put it out there […] and hunt over it.”
Written consent and other previously established requirements regarding catching or killing wild animals on someone else’s land, such as those outlined by Tennessee Code § 70-4-120, would still apply.
Rep. Todd Warner (R-Chapel Hill-District 92) is a prime co-sponsor of HB1618 and if passed by the Tennessee General Assembly the law would go into effect on July 1st, 2024.
About the Author: Adelia Kirchner is a Tennessee resident and reporter for the Tennessee Conservative. Currently the host of Subtle Rampage Podcast, she has also worked for the South Dakota State Legislature and interned for Senator Bill Hagerty’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee. You can reach Adelia at firstname.lastname@example.org.