During the early legislative session, the Utah Legislature passed HB 295. HB 295 was sponsored by Rep. Casey Snider. Originally this bill was looking to change a wide array of Utah wildlife laws. However, the two big parts of the bill were banning the use of trail cameras and to ban baiting. After many public comments and revamping of the bill, it settled on the following changes.
New Baiting Rules
- The use of bait to hunt or harvest game is strictly prohibited.
- People can still use bait in the summer months to draw game to their trail cameras. However, all bait must be removed from the area prior to the first hunts starting. In Utah, this means that most baits will need to be removed prior to the start of the bow hunt in August.
- These anti-baiting rules only apply to hunters. If you have no hunting permit you can still place bait to attract animals to an area for trail camera purposes.
- Hunters are not allowed to hunt over other bait piles unless they can prove the “bait” was left by livestock produces and that “bait” must not be moved by the hunter.
- An area will still be considered “baited” if it is manipulating the habits and patterns of big game. Even if the bait is removed, if the area still attracts animals to it, it will be considered “baited.”
- “Bait” is defined as any foreign item or substance that will draw big game to an area. This can be salt, artificial food sources, flavored liquids, etc.
“We will be enforcing this law during this fall’s big game hunting seasons. In a nutshell, baiting big game is illegal if your intentions are to lure an animal to an area to hunt or harvest it.” – DWR Law Enforcement Captain Wyatt Bubak
Violations under the new baiting law may result in criminal charges ranging from a class B misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, and may also lead to the suspension of one’s hunting privileges. It remains to be seen how difficult it will be to enforce this law. Wildlife officials have to cover a wide area of land. Finding a few select bad apples breaking this new law is going to be difficult.