When I looked that quote up on the Internet to find out who first uttered it, a half-dozen sites listed the speaker/author as "unknown."
That's OK by me; maybe somebody first said this back in the 1800s, but it could just have easily been spoken by one of the many opponents to the bill that rode through the state legislature earlier this spring, allowing deer-baiting in much of the Upstate.
Count me in that number. I have deer hunted extensively in three different states, two of which prohibit baiting of whitetail deer. Whether it was a coincidence or not, the best hunting was in the two states where bags and bags of corn weren't strewn all over the landscape in hopes of attracting does and bucks.
The bill was the result of a snafu caused when the Legislature took over management of deer hunting in Districts 1 and 2, which cover about a third of South Carolina. Somebody rewriting some regulation left out a few words - on purpose or not, who knows - that made it illegal to put out bait for deer, but not illegal to hunt over it.
That little oops caused the Legislature to revisit the issue this spring, and a bill to fix the language essentially became one to allow the entire practice of baiting. It sailed through the Legislature, despite plenty of opposition, including some from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the S.C. Wildlife Federation and the Quality Deer Management Association, which lists as one of its founders a former SCDNR biologist.
Baiting of deer has been legal in the other wildlife districts across South Carolina for years. Perhaps Upstate hunters didn't know how good they had it. Just wait until the "arms race" begins in your neck of the woods. You're putting out a 50-pound bag of corn once a week; the guy on the lease across the creek is putting out two bags. You have to put out two bags. Then he goes to three bags. You go to three bags. He buys an feeder that he only has to load once a week. Do you ante up or give up?
Hunting is expensive enough with a rifle, ammo, hunting clothes, a couple of bottles of scent, a Thermacell - not to mention that lease fee I'm trying to scrape together this week.
Most of the opposition from a biological standpoint has to do with the role that concentrating deer around artificial food sources in the transmission of deer disease, the impact on how deer in a local herd move and changes in habitat baiting may cause (coyotes and hogs recognize corn piles, too).
Then, there's the matter of fair chase. An SCDNR survey said it's better when bait isn't involved.
So, a couple of years down the road, remember, somebody - maybe not you - asked for it.