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Free Range vs. High Fence

Old 08-24-2018, 09:04 PM
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High Fence operations exist because there are people willing to pay to shoot animals there.. Why? I can't answer that as I'm the last one who will ever figure out human nature and what drives people to do what they do. I read something somewhere or another that talked about why people save antlers. I can't recall if it was an anthropologist or just someone theorizing about it, but humans have been doing it for thousands of years. One theory is that the hunter who killed the biggest, baddest animal was the most desirable to the women...they were seen as the best provider. Don't know if that is true or not, but I guess it kind of makes sense (I'm not sure how women would feel about that theory. . If it's true, maybe it's in our DNA to seek out the biggest critters and thus, the need/desire for some folks to hunt high fence areas. Shoot, I don't know but I know folks are obsessed with antlers. I used to like hunting shed antlers with my dogs, but it's gotten to the point here where it's more difficult to get permission to hunt for sheds than it is to hunt in the fall.. I kid you not! There is something about antlers that makes some people go to unbelievable extremes to put them on the wall. I''m sure everyone knows poachers who have paid thousands of dollars in fines, lost their hunting licenses for life, etc. just for the sake of a set of antlers.

So, I guess someone paying thousands of dollars to kill something behind a high fence isn't all that bizarre. Of course there are those who will shoot a whopper critter behind a high fence and then pass it off as being free range. I know a fellow who went up to Saskatchewan and killed a whopper bull elk. He showed me the antlers and was bragging it up.............until I happened to ask him how he could go there and hunt elk as elk hunting in Saskatchewan is for residents only....he kind of stammered around a bit and then fessed up that he'd gone to a hunting preserve there. I really didn't care one way or the other, but it was interesting to see his reaction when I called him on it. Kind of ruined his day (and probably his trip). But hey, if you are going to hunt a high fence area and you enjoy doing it, I have no problem with it......just don't make it out as something it wasn't.. Just say, "Ya, I shot this on a preserve"...No problem for me if that's how someone wants to spend their money.

I hunted caribou with a fellow a few years back who had been all over the world hunting. He's in his 80's now and is still hunting. I got to know him pretty well and asked what he thought about high fence hunts. We had a good conversation about them. He said he'd hunted several over the years and that some are a joke and some you wouldn't know you were hunting a high fence area if you didn't know beforehand. I asked him if he'd hunted any whitetails behind a high fence and he said he did one time.. Can't recall where it was, but he said it was several thousand acres and the bucks were released in the winter right they'd shed their antlers.....several months before they were hunted. From what he said, they revert back to their wild state very quickly. Or at least they did where he hunted. He said they had trail cam photos of several bucks that no one ever saw during daylight hours. At any rate, it was interesting... He's the only one I've ever known who hunted a high fence operation for anything...
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Old 08-25-2018, 01:54 AM
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I'm glad to see this thread has stayed civil so far. Nice job!

as far as high fence hunting..... It's not for me. But I have no problem with it. If it's legal, and you want to do it..... Then I think you should do it.

Reminds me of a conversation I had recently. A young (surprisingly) Harley rider made a comment along the lines of "you can't be a real biker unless you're on a Harley".... Now, things like this don't bother me. But sometimes you feel like picking up the rope and playing tug of war.

So we began to discuss what would make a "real biker." Apparently someone like me.... Who has had 30,000 mile years in the past. Who has had years where ive ridden every single day from Easter until Thanksgiving ( I live up north, I swear there was snow flying some of those mornings!) Who took a 7,000 mile road trip at the age of 16 on a 600 Honda Shadow and saw things like Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain national Park, Rushmore and the black hills, etc for the first time. None of those things make me a "real biker"

​​​​​​To be a real biker I need to own a Harley, join a club and go to poker runs.

I guess my point is..... To each their own. I'm not going to look down on someone who chooses to hunt a high fence operation. Heck, if I had a bunch of money I'd love to hunt some of those huge ranches in Texas.

My only issue is when someone lies about it and tries to pass it off as free range.
​​​​​​Other than that.... Enjoy yourself . That's what hunting is about

-Jake
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Old 08-25-2018, 05:58 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Bocajnala
I'm glad to see this thread has stayed civil so far. Nice job!

as far as high fence hunting..... It's not for me. But I have no problem with it. If it's legal, and you want to do it..... Then I think you should do it.

Reminds me of a conversation I had recently. A young (surprisingly) Harley rider made a comment along the lines of "you can't be a real biker unless you're on a Harley".... Now, things like this don't bother me. But sometimes you feel like picking up the rope and playing tug of war.

So we began to discuss what would make a "real biker." Apparently someone like me.... Who has had 30,000 mile years in the past. Who has had years where ive ridden every single day from Easter until Thanksgiving ( I live up north, I swear there was snow flying some of those mornings!) Who took a 7,000 mile road trip at the age of 16 on a 600 Honda Shadow and saw things like Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain national Park, Rushmore and the black hills, etc for the first time. None of those things make me a "real biker"

​​​​​​To be a real biker I need to own a Harley, join a club and go to poker runs.

I guess my point is..... To each their own. I'm not going to look down on someone who chooses to hunt a high fence operation. Heck, if I had a bunch of money I'd love to hunt some of those huge ranches in Texas.

My only issue is when someone lies about it and tries to pass it off as free range.
​​​​​​Other than that.... Enjoy yourself . That's what hunting is about

-Jake
You make some good points... Few things are more controversial than the different aspects of hunting. Start talking to most any hunter (or non-hunter) and your going to get opinions on what constitutes hunting and what doesn't.. You'll have those who have their opinions on what equipment should be used and what shouldn't. There will be opinions on baiting, use of dogs, and on and on. High fence vs. free range is just one issue.

I can remember when slow pitch softball first became popular. Prior to that most towns had a town baseball team where I grew up. The men played every Sunday afternoon in the summer. Then fast pitch softball became popular. A few years later slow pitch became extremely popular, but the "Old School" guys thought it was a joke. Many refused to play. The town baseball teams died out, but a few guys got a small league up and going and revived it. I don't know if it's still going or not. I played a lot of baseball in my younger years.... hight school baseball, legion ball, fast pitch in the service, and eventually slow pitch. Slow pitch was pretty easy and pretty much anyone could play and have fun. Slow pitch was a lot of fun but It's about as close to baseball as free range is to hunting a high fence area... So, for some maybe it's not so much about the challenge and difficulty as it is to relax and have fun.

I think high fence operations maybe have their place. Maybe for the elderly who just can't get out and hunt like they did in their younger day or maybe for the disabled? I don't know. Most of us will never do it so all we can do is guess about what it is like. Like the old saying goes, "If you haven't tried it, don't knock it". I personally like roughing it and doing things "Old School" to a certain degree. Maybe when I'm old and feeble (I'm not that far away!!), I'll reconsider a high fence hunt.. I doubt it, but you never know... my checkbook says that won't happen!
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Old 08-25-2018, 06:02 AM
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So, what is it about whitetails that people see differently? I suppose (for me anyway) a lot would depend on the size of the area fenced in. Is a deer in a 5,000 acre preserve (just throwing out a number there) less of a challenge than a deer on a 200 acre lease where food plots are used to keep the deer home, no one else can hunt, etc.? Just tossing out some food for thought.

YES !
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Old 08-25-2018, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Timbrhuntr
So, what is it about whitetails that people see differently? I suppose (for me anyway) a lot would depend on the size of the area fenced in. Is a deer in a 5,000 acre preserve (just throwing out a number there) less of a challenge than a deer on a 200 acre lease where food plots are used to keep the deer home, no one else can hunt, etc.? Just tossing out some food for thought.

YES !
I agree... I think the preserve deer would be less of a challenge but I've never done a preserve hunt so I'm just guessing.

Thinking about these high fence operations, deer farms, etc. I've often wondered if releasing some of those big bucks in the wild would help improve the genetics in some states. I say that because of what I see in Vermont where I grew up. Very, very few big bucks come out of Vermont but that hasn't always been the case. My Dad had some old photos of some giant bucks killed in the early 1900's. My Dad bought an old 1937 Chevy one time to restore. I went with him to load it up and noticed a basket of shed antlers in the barn (this was back in the 1960's). The old fellow said he had picked them up from his apple orchard over the years and had thrown them in the basket. I was flabbergasted...there were some huge sheds in that basket. He sold me the whole basket of antlers for a dollar. I gave most of those away over the years, but one 5 point antler scored 78 points if I remember right. I gave it to a good friend of mine. Double that and add in a 20" spread and you're talking a 176" buck. I still have 3 that I kept and they are bigger than 99% of the bucks you'll see come out of Vermont these days. Years and years and years of bucks only hunting decimated the deer herd in Vermont. At any rate, would releasing a bunch of deer farm deer in a state like that be beneficial? I have no idea....a biologist I'm not, but it would be interesting to see.
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Old 08-25-2018, 06:37 AM
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I think for whitetail isit just because that's the number 1 hunted and available big game in the states. So many people are passionate about deer hunting, we hear allot about it.

For high fence ... Again, deer are available to hunt almost anywhere. So there really no "reason" to go the high fence route . If people are doing that they're usually looking for a "trophy" and that rubs some the wrong way.

As opposed to some of the exotics that are available. That aren't generally available anywhere else. I can't walk out my door and hunt some of these exotics. If I wanted to do that the cheapest option is a ranch.

-Jake
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Old 08-25-2018, 06:43 AM
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An apology if I overlooked this when scanning the above posts: A high fence hems in native game that belong to the public, effectively making the animals private property.

This is one reason I have little esteem for high fence operations. Some of my other reasons are that they seem to compromise fair chase principles, can be associated with transmitting CWD and other diseases, and they are associated with species that would be considered invasive in the wild.
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Old 08-25-2018, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Father Forkhorn
A high fence hems in native game that belong to the public, effectively making the animals private property.
.
I read some states have to drive out all native game first, or pay a fine or such. Government is not giving up anything.

I am not sure if the fence is big enough, how this is much different than hunting large private land. At some point having so many acres and keeping people out is the same.

I don't see a huge difference. Not sure why it would easier for handicap. Can drive a wheeler or truck to blind here. Can hunt out of truck if handicap with right paperwork. And I don't care. Guy sitting in a stopped truck is no different that a plan. I think blind would have better luck actually. To many laws. You can't hunt out of blind it still attached to vehicle. But take it off and you can hunt out of it. To many laws.


How much they bait and keep them around would be the factor. If they become pets. But you can feed deer in winter here, and a period before season. If you got the time you can feed them every day on public land.

Laugh at the guys who hate bait, but see a difference between that and a food plot. How much different is sitting and waiting by an apple tree, or farm field?
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Old 08-25-2018, 09:04 PM
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I have a different mind set on the whole thing, basically all game animals are natures bounty. Whether they are full wild, partially cultivated or fully cultivated is largely irrelevant. My only real ethical point is that it be as quick and clean a kill as possible.

IMO a lot of life is substitution for many natural instincts, many thousands of years of mankinds heredity tendencies. Sports are a competition, wasn't too long ago the competition was who got to the food source first. People race, what are they racing for, what are they racing to? First to the kill?

Many people have these natural drives and few ways to scratch the itch. I opt to retrograde my itch scratching and go back to the source, whether that source is full wild, or partially wild, is just a matter of degrees.

What gets me is people with a lower prey drive or little prey drive or no prey drive make moral judgments on people with a strong prey drive. The judgmental ones have little to no empathy IMO and may be the true sociopaths.

Have you ever seen a happier dog than one chasing a Rabbit? Fulfills some sort of basic need or imperative.

People forget we are really a very few generations removed from our hunter gatherer roots. You can either choose to substitute those drives into an approximation of the true imperative or try to fulfill the imperative (as much as possible) and as close to your roots as possible.

A side note, history tells us societies have many ups and downs, they are just as likely to retrograde as improve. IMO some skills sets, while not really relevant at the moment, may just be to important to lose. Hunting comes naturally to me, working with dogs comes naturally, I may be the worlds worst fisherman but I still learned how, spotting and knowing which plants are edible was also learned, just in case. Mechanical things come to me naturally, I can make a bow, I can make arrows, a crossbow, a spear point, a knife. People that live insulated lives are unlikely to be successful if the fit hits the shan.

Last edited by MudderChuck; 08-25-2018 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 08-26-2018, 06:21 AM
  #20  
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Famous Country song from long ago----Don,t fence me in !!!
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