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Free Range vs. High Fence

Old 08-23-2018, 07:48 PM
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Yup, a very controversial issue but I've been thinking about it lately (thinking about the difference between the two). For what it's worth, I've never hunted anything behind a high fence and probably never well. I don't have that much money! Having said that, I'm not against it....to each their own. Mention "High Fence" to a whitetail deer hunter and most of the time you are going to be looked down at like you're lower than whale poo... But wait a minute, those same guys who frown on hunting a deer behind a high fence have no problem fishing in a pond stocked with fish. Ditto for hunting birds that are released (many states release pheasants) and many guys hunt shooting preserves for pheasants and other birds. Pretty much all of the hunting you see on tv in New Zealand is behind a high fence and many of the "Safari's" in Africa are on game farms. But mention a high fence hunt for a whitetail deer and suddenly everyone has an opinion. I just watched a show where Jim Shockey was hunting elk in New Zealand... Behind a high fence. I think he made a good point on this show...he said sometimes you hunt for the challenge and sometimes you hunt just because it's fun and this hunt was a lot of fun.

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.

If I had an extra $15,000 burning a hole in my pocket (or whatever it is one of these hunts cost), I'm probably going to go chase a moose or a caribou somewhere! But that's just me....
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Old 08-23-2018, 07:56 PM
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Fish are not deer. Just fish. Also the game clubs with birds, are just an easter egg hunt to work the dogs. I have done it. I had fun. But I know what it is. It was not one of these that tie them up. It was still a challenge,

Funny thing, lots of SD pheasants come from WI. Its a big tourist draw they need birds.

Texans hunt game ranches a bit I think. I suppose if big enough. I don't know if you brag quite as much about it, atleast I probably wouldn't.

As far as 200 acre lease verus ranch. The lease isn't fenced in. Are the ranches using bait too? Not quite same I am thinking. Cause someone else can shoot from the neighbors. Not saying I wouldn't do it. But I am not making an effort to do it. I can hunt deer, so why bother? Not trophys. But I am not going to bother going ranch for trophy. I would rather go Canada or farm country.
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Old 08-23-2018, 07:58 PM
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But I do realize there is still aspect of hunting. Got get deer to come in, without knowing you are there, and such. Just not making an effort to do it. If buddy called and said hey want to go next weekend we got an opening, and wasn't to expensive. I probably would.
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Old 08-24-2018, 09:12 AM
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Yup...there are a lot of factors and opinions on issues like this. Yes, deer can leave a 200 acre lease (or land you might own), but except for the rut why would they if they have good cover, food plots, and zilch for pressure? In my mind I don't see a high fence hunt a whole lot different than a piece of leased ground where the deer are not pressured and are allowed to grow old. I think we've all seen the hunting shows where multiple large bucks come into a food plot on a lease. Most of us who hunt public land or have to knock on doors never will experience hunting like that. I'm not knocking those who have the money and put in the work to get a lease, put in the food plots, etc.. I know it's a lot of work. I'm just saying that in my mind it's not a whole lot different than hunting a high fence operation. Now, I'm sure those who have a lease, put in food plots, etc. are going to rake me over the coal but that's just my humble opinion. Like they say, that in a buck might get you a cup of coffee.

Of course baiting is a whole other topic... Some people get irate when they watch a tv show with a pile of corn sitting in front of blind, but then grab their coat and go and sit over their food plot.... Isn't a food plot just a really big bait pile? Again, I really have no problem with baiting... Can't do it here in Montana, but might if it were legal.

I think the bottom line is if people enjoy something and have fun and it's legal, go for it. If someone enjoys their lease, putting in the food plots, baiting (where legal), hunting a high fence operation, etc. who am I (or anyone else) to judge them? Same goes for using technology (another debate).. If someone enjoys all the bells and whistles and someone else prefers going "Old school", who are we to judge either of them? It's all about having fun and getting outside (and away from the video games, cell phones, etc.)....
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Old 08-24-2018, 10:55 AM
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I can understand someone wanting to KILL a "X" animal or??
but when your in a HIGH fence its NOT hunting to me, as the cards are stacked in your favor,
you KNOW what is there, how many, and odds are if its a long time running operation, you have them patterned to a science!
all factors minus weather are pretty much in control of the operation and those that run it
YES very large fenced in places are more wild LIKE< but there still fenced in, push things towards a fence and 2ell, sooner or later they have NO where to go
try that on wild animals that have NO fence to stop them!

so, if you want to SHOOT things in a fenced in area, I would never call it HUNTING
but to also be honest, I think a lot of modern ways, folks CLAIM they are hunting, is far from what HUNTING really is
folks (and NOT bashing, just saying)
that have there own land, plant food that draws animals, and then hunt out of almost HOUSE like enclosures, playing video games or surfing the web while they wait to SHOOT something, in the comforts of home)
or honestly folks shooting animals are super far distances
the skills to HUNT, have been lost by far too many IMO
I seldom watch hunting shows as I find them piss poor examples of hunting
I see them over joyed about killing, lie thru there teeth as almost anything they shoot is a MATURE""" what ever
they shoot things in poor angles and poorly decisions to MAKE a kill happen on a hunt on film
they many time whine about hunting 4 days or so and STILL DIDN"T kill anything? as if they entitled to kill something every time they enter the woods!
pretty much ONLY hunt prime private lands catered to killing animals
they are driven next to the tree or blind they will hunt out out??
they WAY too often show terrible gun and archery safety, constantly showing video of them pointing guns and drawn bows at the camera?
what ever happen to never point a gun or bow at something your NOT planning to shoot? all the more so if a camera man is behind that camera??

I see NO skills as far as HUNTING goes anymore
no one seems to FIND there own lands and track deer, they all rely on modern equipment way more than pure hunting skills(game camera's google earth, drones, or others to to the leg work!)
yet they all CLAIM to be TRUE Hunter
yet all they do is push products and well, SHOOT things on camera?
like used car salesmen more than hunters IMO
but I am old I guess and grew up in a different time when hunting just meant something else than what it is today!
SO< high fence? IMO< is NOT hunting period
you might be chasing animals, but HUNTING, I call it that at all!
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Old 08-24-2018, 11:48 AM
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I would never pollute either my game pole or my wall with a deer taken behind a high fence. If it comes down to having to hunt that way I'll sell all my rifles and go fishing.
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Old 08-24-2018, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by flags
I would never pollute either my game pole or my wall with a deer taken behind a high fence. If it comes down to having to hunt that way I'll sell all my rifles and go fishing.
So, when you sell your rifles and go fishing will it be in a stocked pond?

More seriously, I hear you but I'm old and grew up when hunting was pretty much entirely about the hunt, putting meat on the table, etc. People counted points, but all of the big buck contests were based on a deer's field dressed weight. I'd never heard of B&C until I read a story in Outdoor Life about a father and son who killed a 160 and a 180 buck. I thought they were taking about the deer's weight and couldn't figure out why the story was in a magazine. People had bucks mounted back then but not just based on how big they were. I can recall many small forkhorns and basket racked bucks that were someone's first buck. Now I love a big old rack as much as the next guy...for sure, for sure. If you love deer hunting, who doesn't? If I went out and shot the first legal deer I saw my hunting season would last about one hour. So, I do hold out for a nice buck.

Game farms aren't legal in Montana anymore. They outlawed them several years back. There might be a couple around that were grandfathered in, but other than that there aren't any. We do have some pheasant shooting preserves. I have never been to one but I'm guessing the birds don't fly too well from what I've heard. I don't know if people pollute their walls and freezer with birds they shoot on preserves or not. But I know guys who have polluted their wall and freezer with stocked fish.
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Old 08-24-2018, 01:53 PM
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We have game lands in PA smaller than some High fence operations in the west, specifically Texas. When there are thousands of acres to hunt and baiting is not allowed or done and the herd is not supplemented by pen raised deer and the reproduction is inside thousands of acres, there is very little difference from a public hunting ground or any other private ground,except you must pay to hunt there. There is very little difference between leased land for deer hunting and managing the buck harvest and hunting a high or low fenced operation that is comprised of a huge amount of land so long as the reproduction is natural. I am not talking about a couple of hundred acres that that have pen raised deer put in for a client. Some of the high fence operations in Texas have more exotic animals than the country the animals came from and some of those animals are being shipped back to where they came from to restore the populations in those countries. The Black buck from India is an example. There are more Black buck in Texas than in India and they are sending Texas Black bucks to India to supplement the population and restore the population. This is just one example. You need to learn how beneficial some of the high fence operations are to some species of wildlife.

Last edited by Oldtimr; 08-24-2018 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 08-24-2018, 05:27 PM
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For what it is worth I have taken both blackbuck and auodad here in TX many years ago. But they were free range on a ranch that didn't have any fence more substantial the 3 strand barbed wire.




And I have shot bison in MT that were not fenced after they left Yellowstone and were hitting a ranchers hay supply for the winter.



You can get game without it being fenced in.
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Old 08-24-2018, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by flags
For what it is worth I have taken both blackbuck and auodad here in TX many years ago. But they were free range on a ranch that didn't have any fence more substantial the 3 strand barbed wire.

.
Splitting hairs a little are you not?

I have not hunted high fence or barb wire, so I can't say for sure. But if the place is big enough, I doubt is picking the one you want, and jus shooting it. I got cameras. I know there are deer here I have not had a chance to shoot.

I also don't get the dis on leased land. I own land, and have hunted public. I suppose for city people they are so used to people all over. But I have hunted plenty of land with no pressure, and deer just bedded down.


I am not going to get to righteous either way. Some people are full of it, in my opinion, and drama queens. I think some people are really splitting hairs, in the direction they prefer,

Guided hunt? Big ranch? Private/lease? All have similar aspects unless a tiny ranch, which I am sure people go to, too. It seems like the more you get to big cities, you have more of it. Where I am from we have lots of public land. But some people don't have that. You hear about TX hunts where you pay based on size of deer. I am glad around here the government stays out of what I shoot, and we don't have those ranches. But I am sure they are fun in their own way.
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