You're on a brief, hastily planned out-of-state hunt and devote the first
day to finding a spot to hunt. After a long afternoon of rejection, you
receive permission to hunt from a farmer who says he has a big flock of
birds working the brushy draw along his fields. He even points to a clump of
trees along a huge field of picked corn.
"They roost in several spots on the property," the kindly man says. "But
they always wind up right by that little cottonwood grove. That's where I'd
be sitting tomorrow morning."
Heeding the farmer's advice, you scurry to the tree patch the next morning
and set up your portable ground blind in the dark. As dawn breaks, the
nearby woods erupt with gobbling, and you call eagerly to coax the toms
toward your blind. Several birds reply, and to your delight, a lone strutter
appears at the field edge and starts toward you just as the sun rises. The
farmer's scouting report was dead on.
Then you see it -- a large pile of shelled corn 30 steps from your blind. No
wonder the turkeys like the spot. A grain truck or combine obviously had a
spill the previous fall. Your mental tug-of-war begins. In your quick scan
of the hunting regs, you didn't note that baiting is illegal in the state,
but you could have missed that. If baiting is a no-no, a conservation
officer could make a case that the corn pile lured you as readily as the
incoming tom. Incidentally, the bird has broken strut and is on his way. You
have seconds to decide your course of action, which is:
A) Stay put, and prepare for the shot. You didn't place the corn, and the
warden could never prove you intended to hunt by it. Plus, you're not even
certain the practice is illegal.
B) Stay in the blind, and watch the gobbler's actions. If he's coming to the
call and not the corn, you'll do nothing wrong by shooting him.
C) Bail out. Shooting any bird coming to an unnatural food source is not
right in your book, whether the practice is legal or not.
D) Bail out. Not reading the regs is your fault. Until you know the exact
definitions of baiting in the state, you cannot risk a ticket.