Animal Attractants

Animal Attractants

elk bait

Who doesn't love a great trail camera picture of a nice bull coming into the spot you plan to hunt?  I know I love it.  The question is, how do you get those animals to come in and pose for that perfect picture?  There are a few ways to do this.  Place your camera on a trail where the animals tend to stop and feed for a minute.  The next thing to do is place your camera over a watering pond.  Or, you can put out an attractant that will lure the animal into the exact spot that you want them to stand for your picture.

Is it legal to bait animals?

The answer is not as simple as a yes or no.  It depends on which state you live in, it depends on the time of year, and in some cases, it depends on the reason that you're baiting.

Let me help you get started by sharing with you the regulations in several of the western states.  If it is legal to bait in your state, and you know the times and dates that you can bait, then you are on your way to that perfect picture!



Colorado Regulation 2 CCR 406-0-XI-021


A. Except as provided in subsections (A)(1-4) of this regulation no person shall place, deposit, distribute or scatter grain, hay, minerals, salt, or other foods so as to intentionally constitute a lure, attraction or enticement for big game not lawfully held in captivity.

1. Crops and crop aftermath, including hay, alfalfa and grains, produced, harvested, stored or fed to domestic livestock in accordance with normal agricultural practices shall not be subject to this regulation.

2. When the Director determines it necessary to authorize feeding to prevent damage to private property.

3. When the Director determines it necessary to authorize feeding to mitigate the population loss anticipated by a predicted winter mortality that will exceed 30 percent of the adult female segment of a big game ungulate population in any one Game Management Unit.

4. When the Director determines it appropriate to feed big game as a part of a research or management program.

B. It shall be unlawful to place or deposit minerals or salt in an area so as to constitute a lure or attractant for wildlife. Nothing in this regulation shall restrict the use of salt or mineral blocks in normal agricultural practices.


Idaho hunting rules prohibit the use of bait, including salt in any form (liquid or solid) in the hunting/taking of deer/elk. Idaho does not have a regulation that allows people to use bait to attract deer and elk to an area and then "pick it up" a certain number of days before hunting in the same area. If there is still residue at the site of bait that was placed to attract deer/elk, Idaho rules prohibit you from hunting over the baited site. If the site is free of the bait, you can hunt over the site.
Some other states have rules that allows hunting over sites if bait is removed at least 30 days earlier, but Idaho is NOT one of them.



Regulation (MCA 87-6-401, CR)

  • It is unlawful for anyone to hunt or attempt to hunt by the aid of or with the use of any bait, salt lick, trap, snare or set gun.
  • Baiting shall mean the placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of food sources or salt so as to constitute a lure or attraction. (pg 14)


NAC 503.149  Baiting big game mammals.

1.  A person shall not:

     (a) Bait big game mammals for the purpose of hunting; or

     (b) Knowingly hunt big game mammals that were baited by another person.

     2.  For the purposes of this section, “bait” means the intentional placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of salt, minerals, grain or any other food material, whether natural or manufactured, that could attract, entice or lure wildlife to an area for the purpose of hunting. The term does not include:

     (a) Any incidental attracting or feeding of wildlife associated with any accepted agricultural or livestock practice; or

     (b) Planting crops and leaving those crops standing as food plots for wildlife.

     (Added to NAC by Bd. of Wildlife Comm’rs by R002-11, eff. 10-26-2011)

New Mexico

Reference (2019-20 NM Hunting Rules & Info pg. 22-24)

It is unlawful to... Take or attempt to take game species by the aid of baiting or scenting. Knowingly take or attempt to take game species in a baited or scented area, except quail on private land. Hunters should be aware a baited area is considered to be baited for 10 days after the removal of the bait. Individuals may use scent-masking agents on their person, but these agents may not be used to attract game species.


Utah is the best state of them all as it relates to animal attractants for your trail cameras.  They allow us to use pretty much anything and everything we need.  We talked with a DWR officer regarding this regulation recently, and he said that most anything is legal when it comes to baiting a big game animal for your trail camera.


W.S. §23-1-302 and W.S. §23-3-304.

Section 5: Placement, Duration and Limitation on Baits

  1. No bait shall be placed without first obtaining a baiting permit.
  2. No bait shall be placed within fifty (50) yards of an occupied dwelling without the consent of the owner, leasee or agent of the owner.
  3. No person shall place bait within a permitted baited area other than during the dates specified on the baiting permit for the big game species for which the baiting permit was issued.
  4. Baiting areas shall be considered baited for ten (10) days following complete removal of all bait.

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