SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utah legislatures met and passed HB295 ahead of Utah’s fall big game hunts, which will cause many Utah hunters to change the way they hunt big game.

According to the new law “bait” is defined as intentionally placing food or nutrient substances – including salt and mineral blocks – to lure in wildlife for the purpose of hunting or harvesting big game.

“In a nutshell, baiting game is illegal if your intentions are to lure an animal to an area to hunt or harvest it,” Department of Wildlife Resources Law Enforcement Captain Wyatt Bubak says. “Baiting wildlife can artificially distribute animals on the landscape.”

Bubak states there are also concerns to ‘fair chase’ of big game and the conservation officers will be enforcing the new law during the big game hunting seasons.

DWR notes hunters who are out scouting for big game during the summer months can bait. However, all bait must be removed in enough time that the animal is not being lured into the area.

“An area is no longer considered to be baited when the big game animal’s behavior is no longer influenced by the bait,” Bubak says.

Hunters who are caught baiting could face criminal charges ranging from a class B misdemeanor to a third degree felony. Charges also could include suspension of hunting license and privileges.

DWR explains if someone is not planning to hunt and does not have a hunting permit they are still allowed to bait for wildlife photography and viewing.