Action Alert:  Oppose Allowing Hunting Over Bait in Tennessee (HB 1618)

February 20, 2024 By: NDA Staff

Tennessee House Bill 1618 would legalize hunting over bait on private land. Currently, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) prohibits the use of bait as an aid for taking wildlife. The regulation reads:   No person shall make use of bait to hunt (TCA 70-1-101) wildlife unless the bait has been removed and any electronic feeder disabled at least 10 days prior to hunting. Salt and mineral are allowed if the salt/mineral contains at least 51% salt by weight of salt minerals or it does not contain whole grain or other non-refined food stuffs.

The National Deer Association (NDA) opposes the expansion of baiting where not currently legal, and that is exactly what this misguided legislation intends to do. NDA does not work to repeal baiting where currently legal, except where chronic wasting disease (CWD) or other known diseases are present. CWD was first found in Tennessee in 2018 and has continued to spread, although TWRA has been working hard to slow progress of the disease by implementing it’s CWD Response Management Plan.

The science is clear that baited sites are hotbeds for the accumulation of prions and other infectious materials, and these areas facilitate the spread of CWD and other diseases. Bait sites also unnaturally congregate deer and other animals, which makes it easier for wildlife to spread diseases directly to each other.


Please consider joining the National Deer Association (NDA) in opposing this legislation. There is no need for Tennessee to allow baiting for the taking of wildlife, especially considering the spread of CWD in the state. Furthermore, NDA firmly believes that wildlife management issues in the state are best left to the trained and experienced professionals at TWRA, not politicians.

CLICK HERE to ask your lawmakers to oppose HB 1618.