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Whitetail Deer

High-Fence Hunts: Where do you stand?

What's y'all's take on high-fence hunting? Do you consider it ethical? Do you consider it hunting? If you were to do it or have done it, do you have a minimum acreage requirement? If someone gave you a free hunt for a 200-inch whitetail on a high-fence property, would you take it? Feel free to answer any and all of these questions, or pose one of your own.

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from slow2ndrow wrote 35 weeks 3 days ago

I've been on one high fence hunt on a heavily wooded ranch with varying terrain and have to say I though it was great. I probably won't do it again, though. It ended a *LONG* dry spell for me; A slumpbuster if you will. The hunting pressure is kept very light yet the big bucks stayed at the forest edges and they all kept at least 170+ yards away from any stand or feeder. It was to me about as ethical as hunting over any other feeder with a high powered scoped rifle, except the deer were plentiful, big, and healthy. Not tame by any means.

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from defense wrote 2 years 16 weeks ago

I do not judge those that have the means and ethics to do it. I mostly view it as the ranch owner's livestock, and if their customer wants to shoot their own animal, then let them do it.
Who am I to judge the next guy??? This past year I decided to hunt deer only with the bow and alone. I did not cast judgement on the gun hunters, or party hunters who attack a woodlot and empty their guns all day long...I just wanted to get one myself, and take him with my bow instead of gun.
The only thing that bothers me about it is that it is presented as hunting, which it is not, especially when the TV shows do it.
That said, no it is not for me, not even if it were given me free of charge. I may take you up on the lodging and drinks, not the shooting though.

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from GuidesForHireLLC wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I view fenced in ranch land hunitng as I do fishing for stocked trout in ponds,
It is not my thing, personally, but it meets the needs of a portion of our population and honestly while they are off fishing for stockies or chasing game on ranches it means that many less people in my favorite wild places.
I dont mind sharing the streams or lakes and I dont mind others being on the mountain with me, but my days are better and more enjoyable when those folks are down in the valley following the stocking trucks or shooting pheasants and bison on a private preserve than under my feet complaining about lack of game or fish

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from Scott Hall wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

To this point I have never taken a high fence hunt but if the enclosure were large enough and the animals were able to elude me, would I consider it, yes I would and for the following reasons.

As urban sprawl continues to swallow up more and more of our wild habitat and as hunting clubs lease and FENCE IN even more tracts of land, making it inaccessible to the hunter who isn't in their group or hasn't paid his/her club dues, it is getting harder and harder for many of us(especially those of us who live in the Eastern USA) to find a place to hunt.
How many of us are blessed to be able to hunt on tens of thousands of acres of land? I would say very few of us.

I am not against high fence hunting at all IF it is done in an ethical and humane manner. As one previous post said, how is hunting deer in a high fenced enclosure any different than hunting deer on an island(Anticosti for instance)? How many of us "hunters" go in the woods with the kind of hunting equipment our great great grandfathers used? I dare say very few of us. But do we call ourselves unethical for using modern firearms and other gear? We are not against hunting out of treestands or ground blinds, we are not against using bait piles(where legal) to attract animals. How about the use of dogs to run deer(where legal)? I am just as ethical as any hunter out there and I would no more shoot a deer "tied to a tree" than I would shoot a farmer's cow, but the point I'm trying to get across here is, high fence hunting, if conducted on a large enough property, is every bit as ethical as the hunter who bowhunts on a small family farm.

In the end, the choice is up to the individual hunter as to what is ethical for him or her. But one fact is crystal clear. If we argue among ourselves, the anti's have everything to gain and we as sportsmen and women have everything to lose.

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from Smitty18 wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

If you need a fence you should go try to pet a grizzly in the wild.

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from Unseenkiller wrote 3 years 41 weeks ago

complety against high fence hunting and wouldnt take any hunt associated with high fenced areas.wheres the challenge of hunting in these areas?

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from KingDog wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

Downwind.

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from PittsburghDeerH... wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

This is something that's been on my mind for a while now. I believe that hunting an animal is about tracking or calling or effectively placing a stand. In other words, fair chase. Hunting is a rewarding, great sport that all of us here love. Put an animal on one of these ranches and it becomes killing. Not many things are more satisfying than tracking a trophy buck for hours and actually getting the chance to harvest it. Heck, it's incredibly satisfying to even cross path's with a deer and get a chance to bag it. Hunting ranches are against the true spirit of hunting and you might as well have bought a fake mount.

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from Hubb wrote 4 years 35 weeks ago

What fun would it be? I would feel bad, it's like shooting your goat, horse, or cow, they've started to trust you then you walk out and shoot them one day. Sad. I wouldn't, but to each his own I guess.

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from Albert A Rasch wrote 5 years 16 weeks ago

Guys,

I see a lot of opinions here, and few facts.

No offense intended fellows, just stating the... facts!

I've been working on the issue of high fence, trying to find a logical framework within which it can be discussed without opinion and hearsay.

For instance, the vast majority of hunters hunt from a stand, or blind. The animal comes to you! Very few hunters hoof it out and hump more than a mile, which by the way is far less than a 1000 acre enclosure would be in any direction. So I have a little difficulty with the assertion that "Fair Chase" is impugned somehow. That's just an example not a point of contention here!

For those that do take off and push their bodies to the limits, the thought of hunting in any "restricted" area might by distasteful. But this has nothing to do with ethics or morality.

But before we go and decide what is right and what is wrong, remember that you, and only you, can decide what is fair chase, ethical, and moral... for you.

We are having a pretty in depth discussion over at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, and you're all welcome to come and weigh in.

One last thouht, I'm going to paraphrase one of my readers "Careful whose throat you slit, it's awful hard to avoid the splatter."

Regards,
Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
The Range Reviews: Tactical
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit

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from bighunter wrote 5 years 16 weeks ago

i have always belived in fair chase im not jonna shoot a deer when he is lyen down im not jonna bait a deer and i certinly wont fence one in its not a fair chase

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from Bo wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

It's gonna come down to personal preference. I do not view canned hunts as sporting and give a loud second what Remington Metric wrote. It changes the natural order of things. If we as hunters are only interested in the kill and making sure we have a kill every year, I believe we have lost our soul, as hunters. Yeah, I want a deer every year because I like to eat wild meat more than I like to eat store bought. I also need the time of rejuvenation out there in the wilds. Do I get it, no. But if I am willing to do what ever it takes to get an animal, at the expense of compromising my values, I am the loser.
For me, hunting is not just about taking the prize, it is doing it on terms not my own. I go out and pursue game on the terms that nature has laid down, not creating an artificial environment that allows me to pretend that I can conquer my goals. If I can perform the task on my own in the realm of nature using the rules set up in nature, without giving myself an unfair advantage, I have a more realistic view of my personal limitations. Then I have a framework to work to improve should I fail.
I have been told for years, I am too hard on myself. I think not. I do judge myself harder than I do others, but I am aware of that. If I did not, I would not be alive today. Without going into details, I have had what some would call adversity in my life and had had to wrestle with my own personal demons, we all have them, just everybody has different ones to deal with. Whatever does not kill you, makes you stronger.
If I start taking the shortcuts, taking the easier way, I will begin to die inside. I can not afford that. I've been through too much to sell my birthright, my soul for a mess of pottage.

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from mdh357 wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I've done both and my opinion is high fence is easier no doubt but what is the difference from baiting where legal. regardeless of handicaps as long as the animal can take flight from predation no matter what form. Acreage should always be a consideration on booking a high fence hunt. Small pens are pathetic but large tracts are acceptable. Be open minded and use common sense. we are all under attack from anti hunters.

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from rrmont wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

There's no way that I would ever hunt in a high fenced area. That's not hunting I call that just killin'.

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from Remington Metric wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

High fenced “hunting” areas not only captivate whatever animals were on that property prior to the fence being installed, it alters natural migration corridors and gene pool diversity. I grew up in an area where Ted Turner has purchased tens of thousands of acres in large blocks and high fenced it for his buffalo. It’s one of the worst things I have ever seen. High fences impact much more than just the ethics of a free range hunt the whole area is affected negativity.

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from Aaron1991 wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

this aint ethenical its like some rich dude payin some one 2 halter break a pet deer & tie it up in front of them so they can "hunt it"

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from Bo wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

To theITguy, the only people who don't have opinions are people who haven't thought about it. The instant gratification people don't need to hunt if they don't have the patience to learn how to do it right. As far as handicapped, to what level are you referring? I had a stroke 15 years ago and had to quit using a bow. I now gun hunt only and have to use shooting sticks or a bipod as I have a tremor in my left arm. I don't climb into treestands but use a blind set on a hill at my preferred hunting spot. There are some who would say I am handicapped, until they tried to keep up with me in the field, or watched me shoot.
If hunting were limited to canned hunts, there soon would be no hunting allowed as it is neither fair nor sporting to the target animal. Most of what makes hunting worth it is the active pursuit of your prey and your prey's ability to escape the predator. You take the one half away and it's not hunting, anymore than picking a cow out of the field for butchering is hunting.

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from bowmans friend wrote 5 years 24 weeks ago

where i live there is a finced in elk hunting area on the niobrara. it is an appsolute joke. if you told them you wanted it to be like a real they would take you the first day to a pasture to were there werent any elk. the next day they would take you to where the elk were. if you wanted to you could have them just turn loose a certian elk you wanted in a pasture by itself. if you hunt in a fenced in area you shouldn't even call yourself a hunter

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from Dirty wrote 5 years 24 weeks ago

I am surely not a fan of the whole high fence hunting. I think every animl we hunt should be given the opportunity of escape. High fence hunting does not offer this. He can run around in circle's all he want's but there is no freedom, no escape.
"TheITguy" made a comment I would like to respond to-"What if your trying to get a youngster into hunting but in this era of instant gratification going into the woods for a weekend and not seeing a deer would turn them off to it or if a person was handicapped in some way and loved to hunt and this was the best way for them to able to hunt?"
If the yougster isnt shown the correct way to hunt,free range, then what he is exposed to is what he expect's. As far as the handicaped hunter goes, they like to be thought of as a normal person, handicaping a deer, high fence, is not normal.
Just my 2 cent's.
Dirty

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from idahooutdoors wrote 5 years 24 weeks ago

When you are lucky enough to grow up hunting the wide open areas of the West, the idea of hunting inside a cage is about as appealing as going to jail. If it is what you like to do however, just try and do it with class so you don't give the rest of the hunting community a bad name. I enjoy the hunt as much or more than the kill, getting to enjoy the beautiful terrain, spending time with friends, and testing ones self against what mother nature throws at you, is the whole point of hunting as far as I am concerned.

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from TheITguy wrote 5 years 24 weeks ago

I just started hunting a couple of years ago at the age of 37, and i will admit i came into it with open eyes and ears without opinions. Boy did i find out how opinionated hunters are. I personally don't believe in high fence hunts but who is to say that its wrong or to point the finger at anyone else for doing it. What if your trying to get a youngster into hunting but in this era of instant gratification going into the woods for a weekend and not seeing a deer would turn them off to it or if a person was handicapped in some way and loved to hunt and this was the best way for them to able to hunt? I hunted Anti Costi Island in Quebec, its got 140,000 plus deer on it, is it any different than high fence hunting? I don't think so but its very similar. If i did end up ever hunting in an enclosed area, i would be honest and say i "shot" that deer instead of saying I "hunted" that deer. I wouldn't be as proud or feel i had accomplished that challenge, i wouldn't hang a mount on the wall but i would surely clean that animal and eat it just the same.

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from Aaron1991 wrote 5 years 24 weeks ago

if your going to hunt in an enclosed area why not just catch em tie em down and cut their throat

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from The Bowman wrote 5 years 25 weeks ago

Under no condition--free or not--would I ever consider a high-fence hunt. Fish in a barrel ain't my thing. I'd rather eat tofu.

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from Dirty wrote 5 years 24 weeks ago

I am surely not a fan of the whole high fence hunting. I think every animl we hunt should be given the opportunity of escape. High fence hunting does not offer this. He can run around in circle's all he want's but there is no freedom, no escape.
"TheITguy" made a comment I would like to respond to-"What if your trying to get a youngster into hunting but in this era of instant gratification going into the woods for a weekend and not seeing a deer would turn them off to it or if a person was handicapped in some way and loved to hunt and this was the best way for them to able to hunt?"
If the yougster isnt shown the correct way to hunt,free range, then what he is exposed to is what he expect's. As far as the handicaped hunter goes, they like to be thought of as a normal person, handicaping a deer, high fence, is not normal.
Just my 2 cent's.
Dirty

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from The Bowman wrote 5 years 25 weeks ago

Under no condition--free or not--would I ever consider a high-fence hunt. Fish in a barrel ain't my thing. I'd rather eat tofu.

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from Aaron1991 wrote 5 years 24 weeks ago

if your going to hunt in an enclosed area why not just catch em tie em down and cut their throat

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from bowmans friend wrote 5 years 24 weeks ago

where i live there is a finced in elk hunting area on the niobrara. it is an appsolute joke. if you told them you wanted it to be like a real they would take you the first day to a pasture to were there werent any elk. the next day they would take you to where the elk were. if you wanted to you could have them just turn loose a certian elk you wanted in a pasture by itself. if you hunt in a fenced in area you shouldn't even call yourself a hunter

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from Bo wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

To theITguy, the only people who don't have opinions are people who haven't thought about it. The instant gratification people don't need to hunt if they don't have the patience to learn how to do it right. As far as handicapped, to what level are you referring? I had a stroke 15 years ago and had to quit using a bow. I now gun hunt only and have to use shooting sticks or a bipod as I have a tremor in my left arm. I don't climb into treestands but use a blind set on a hill at my preferred hunting spot. There are some who would say I am handicapped, until they tried to keep up with me in the field, or watched me shoot.
If hunting were limited to canned hunts, there soon would be no hunting allowed as it is neither fair nor sporting to the target animal. Most of what makes hunting worth it is the active pursuit of your prey and your prey's ability to escape the predator. You take the one half away and it's not hunting, anymore than picking a cow out of the field for butchering is hunting.

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from bighunter wrote 5 years 16 weeks ago

i have always belived in fair chase im not jonna shoot a deer when he is lyen down im not jonna bait a deer and i certinly wont fence one in its not a fair chase

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from PittsburghDeerH... wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

This is something that's been on my mind for a while now. I believe that hunting an animal is about tracking or calling or effectively placing a stand. In other words, fair chase. Hunting is a rewarding, great sport that all of us here love. Put an animal on one of these ranches and it becomes killing. Not many things are more satisfying than tracking a trophy buck for hours and actually getting the chance to harvest it. Heck, it's incredibly satisfying to even cross path's with a deer and get a chance to bag it. Hunting ranches are against the true spirit of hunting and you might as well have bought a fake mount.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Remington Metric wrote 5 years 20 weeks ago

High fenced “hunting” areas not only captivate whatever animals were on that property prior to the fence being installed, it alters natural migration corridors and gene pool diversity. I grew up in an area where Ted Turner has purchased tens of thousands of acres in large blocks and high fenced it for his buffalo. It’s one of the worst things I have ever seen. High fences impact much more than just the ethics of a free range hunt the whole area is affected negativity.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from rrmont wrote 5 years 19 weeks ago

There's no way that I would ever hunt in a high fenced area. That's not hunting I call that just killin'.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bo wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

It's gonna come down to personal preference. I do not view canned hunts as sporting and give a loud second what Remington Metric wrote. It changes the natural order of things. If we as hunters are only interested in the kill and making sure we have a kill every year, I believe we have lost our soul, as hunters. Yeah, I want a deer every year because I like to eat wild meat more than I like to eat store bought. I also need the time of rejuvenation out there in the wilds. Do I get it, no. But if I am willing to do what ever it takes to get an animal, at the expense of compromising my values, I am the loser.
For me, hunting is not just about taking the prize, it is doing it on terms not my own. I go out and pursue game on the terms that nature has laid down, not creating an artificial environment that allows me to pretend that I can conquer my goals. If I can perform the task on my own in the realm of nature using the rules set up in nature, without giving myself an unfair advantage, I have a more realistic view of my personal limitations. Then I have a framework to work to improve should I fail.
I have been told for years, I am too hard on myself. I think not. I do judge myself harder than I do others, but I am aware of that. If I did not, I would not be alive today. Without going into details, I have had what some would call adversity in my life and had had to wrestle with my own personal demons, we all have them, just everybody has different ones to deal with. Whatever does not kill you, makes you stronger.
If I start taking the shortcuts, taking the easier way, I will begin to die inside. I can not afford that. I've been through too much to sell my birthright, my soul for a mess of pottage.

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from Hubb wrote 4 years 35 weeks ago

What fun would it be? I would feel bad, it's like shooting your goat, horse, or cow, they've started to trust you then you walk out and shoot them one day. Sad. I wouldn't, but to each his own I guess.

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from Unseenkiller wrote 3 years 41 weeks ago

complety against high fence hunting and wouldnt take any hunt associated with high fenced areas.wheres the challenge of hunting in these areas?

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from GuidesForHireLLC wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I view fenced in ranch land hunitng as I do fishing for stocked trout in ponds,
It is not my thing, personally, but it meets the needs of a portion of our population and honestly while they are off fishing for stockies or chasing game on ranches it means that many less people in my favorite wild places.
I dont mind sharing the streams or lakes and I dont mind others being on the mountain with me, but my days are better and more enjoyable when those folks are down in the valley following the stocking trucks or shooting pheasants and bison on a private preserve than under my feet complaining about lack of game or fish

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from idahooutdoors wrote 5 years 24 weeks ago

When you are lucky enough to grow up hunting the wide open areas of the West, the idea of hunting inside a cage is about as appealing as going to jail. If it is what you like to do however, just try and do it with class so you don't give the rest of the hunting community a bad name. I enjoy the hunt as much or more than the kill, getting to enjoy the beautiful terrain, spending time with friends, and testing ones self against what mother nature throws at you, is the whole point of hunting as far as I am concerned.

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from Smitty18 wrote 3 years 17 weeks ago

If you need a fence you should go try to pet a grizzly in the wild.

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from Aaron1991 wrote 5 years 23 weeks ago

this aint ethenical its like some rich dude payin some one 2 halter break a pet deer & tie it up in front of them so they can "hunt it"

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from Albert A Rasch wrote 5 years 16 weeks ago

Guys,

I see a lot of opinions here, and few facts.

No offense intended fellows, just stating the... facts!

I've been working on the issue of high fence, trying to find a logical framework within which it can be discussed without opinion and hearsay.

For instance, the vast majority of hunters hunt from a stand, or blind. The animal comes to you! Very few hunters hoof it out and hump more than a mile, which by the way is far less than a 1000 acre enclosure would be in any direction. So I have a little difficulty with the assertion that "Fair Chase" is impugned somehow. That's just an example not a point of contention here!

For those that do take off and push their bodies to the limits, the thought of hunting in any "restricted" area might by distasteful. But this has nothing to do with ethics or morality.

But before we go and decide what is right and what is wrong, remember that you, and only you, can decide what is fair chase, ethical, and moral... for you.

We are having a pretty in depth discussion over at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, and you're all welcome to come and weigh in.

One last thouht, I'm going to paraphrase one of my readers "Careful whose throat you slit, it's awful hard to avoid the splatter."

Regards,
Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
The Range Reviews: Tactical
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit

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from slow2ndrow wrote 35 weeks 3 days ago

I've been on one high fence hunt on a heavily wooded ranch with varying terrain and have to say I though it was great. I probably won't do it again, though. It ended a *LONG* dry spell for me; A slumpbuster if you will. The hunting pressure is kept very light yet the big bucks stayed at the forest edges and they all kept at least 170+ yards away from any stand or feeder. It was to me about as ethical as hunting over any other feeder with a high powered scoped rifle, except the deer were plentiful, big, and healthy. Not tame by any means.

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from KingDog wrote 4 years 27 weeks ago

Downwind.

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from Scott Hall wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

To this point I have never taken a high fence hunt but if the enclosure were large enough and the animals were able to elude me, would I consider it, yes I would and for the following reasons.

As urban sprawl continues to swallow up more and more of our wild habitat and as hunting clubs lease and FENCE IN even more tracts of land, making it inaccessible to the hunter who isn't in their group or hasn't paid his/her club dues, it is getting harder and harder for many of us(especially those of us who live in the Eastern USA) to find a place to hunt.
How many of us are blessed to be able to hunt on tens of thousands of acres of land? I would say very few of us.

I am not against high fence hunting at all IF it is done in an ethical and humane manner. As one previous post said, how is hunting deer in a high fenced enclosure any different than hunting deer on an island(Anticosti for instance)? How many of us "hunters" go in the woods with the kind of hunting equipment our great great grandfathers used? I dare say very few of us. But do we call ourselves unethical for using modern firearms and other gear? We are not against hunting out of treestands or ground blinds, we are not against using bait piles(where legal) to attract animals. How about the use of dogs to run deer(where legal)? I am just as ethical as any hunter out there and I would no more shoot a deer "tied to a tree" than I would shoot a farmer's cow, but the point I'm trying to get across here is, high fence hunting, if conducted on a large enough property, is every bit as ethical as the hunter who bowhunts on a small family farm.

In the end, the choice is up to the individual hunter as to what is ethical for him or her. But one fact is crystal clear. If we argue among ourselves, the anti's have everything to gain and we as sportsmen and women have everything to lose.

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from defense wrote 2 years 16 weeks ago

I do not judge those that have the means and ethics to do it. I mostly view it as the ranch owner's livestock, and if their customer wants to shoot their own animal, then let them do it.
Who am I to judge the next guy??? This past year I decided to hunt deer only with the bow and alone. I did not cast judgement on the gun hunters, or party hunters who attack a woodlot and empty their guns all day long...I just wanted to get one myself, and take him with my bow instead of gun.
The only thing that bothers me about it is that it is presented as hunting, which it is not, especially when the TV shows do it.
That said, no it is not for me, not even if it were given me free of charge. I may take you up on the lodging and drinks, not the shooting though.

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from TheITguy wrote 5 years 24 weeks ago

I just started hunting a couple of years ago at the age of 37, and i will admit i came into it with open eyes and ears without opinions. Boy did i find out how opinionated hunters are. I personally don't believe in high fence hunts but who is to say that its wrong or to point the finger at anyone else for doing it. What if your trying to get a youngster into hunting but in this era of instant gratification going into the woods for a weekend and not seeing a deer would turn them off to it or if a person was handicapped in some way and loved to hunt and this was the best way for them to able to hunt? I hunted Anti Costi Island in Quebec, its got 140,000 plus deer on it, is it any different than high fence hunting? I don't think so but its very similar. If i did end up ever hunting in an enclosed area, i would be honest and say i "shot" that deer instead of saying I "hunted" that deer. I wouldn't be as proud or feel i had accomplished that challenge, i wouldn't hang a mount on the wall but i would surely clean that animal and eat it just the same.

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from mdh357 wrote 5 years 18 weeks ago

I've done both and my opinion is high fence is easier no doubt but what is the difference from baiting where legal. regardeless of handicaps as long as the animal can take flight from predation no matter what form. Acreage should always be a consideration on booking a high fence hunt. Small pens are pathetic but large tracts are acceptable. Be open minded and use common sense. we are all under attack from anti hunters.

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