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Ask a conservation officer: It’s OK to hunt near neighbor’s deer feed

Q: I know that my neighbor feeds deer, and I hunt not far from his property line. Is that legal?

A: The basic law that prohibits the hunting of deer over a baited area (MSS 97B.328) reads, “A person may not take deer with the aid or use of bait.” Deer can be enticed and affected for a great distance by an illegal pile of food before and during the season. However, for the landowner in your situation who still wishes to hunt, the law makes a specific exception: “A person otherwise in compliance with this section who is hunting on private or public property that is adjacent to property where bait or food is present is not in violation if the person has not participated in, been involved with, or agreed to baiting or feeding wildlife on the adjacent property.”

This means that as long as you have not had any role, participation, collusion or other involvement with the baiting activity, you may still hunt your own property. There are many items that can be considered bait, including grains, fruits, vegetables and any other food capable of enticing or attracting a deer that has been placed by a person. For a more thorough definition, see the 2014 Hunting Synopsis.

Matthew S. Miller is a Minnesota Conservation Officer with the Lake Superior Marine Unit. Sned your questions to to get them answered.