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Plant the plot, avoid the bait

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – Hunters across Wisconsin are preparing for opening day of gun hunting this weekend.

Some hunters started preparation early by growing food plots to hunt over. A food plot is naturally grown vegetation that provides food for wildlife for much of the year. They are often used to attract deer to a specific location for hunting purposes.

Commonly grown food plots include alfalfa, clover and soybeans. They are typically planted earlier in the year so they are fully grown by Fall.

Owner of Bullzeye Custom Food Plots and Habitat Justin Jenson said, “It takes a lot of time and effort. You have to figure out where a food spot is to grow and then it’s all time. Prepping the ground, working the ground, time and money. It’s a lot of work.”

Hunting over deer plots and baiting for deer are not the same thing. According to the Wisconsin DNR growing food plots is legal in every county. Baiting for deer is illegal in 52 Wisconsin counties, including La Crosse county.

Most counties prohibit baiting because it can spread chronic wasting disease in deer. Conservation Warden Dale Hochhausen said, “CWD is passed through a protein basically and they found that it can actually be passed through saliva.” That means deer feeding in close proximity can spread CWD more rapidly and kill large numbers of the population.

To find out if your county is located in a No Baiting Zone visit the Wisconsin DNR’s website for a full map.

Hunters can also get their deer tested for CWD at several locations in La Crosse county including:

  • Emma’s Bait Shop, Onalaska
  • Ace Hardware, Holmen
  • Charlie’s Inn, La Crosse
  • Bubba’s Meats, La Crosse
  • Neshonoc Sports, West Salem

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