High Fence/Low Fence Opinion...

Dan Braman

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  • Prostaff Member Dan Braman

Is it ethical to hunt deer inside a high fence? If you live where I live this is a debate that comes into many conversations. I don't know that there is a correct answer; I do know there are opinions.

In my opinion it is much more complicated then that. First I think it has much to do with how much land is inside a high fence. As far as my opinion goes, anything under 1000 acres is not ethical. Most people that own high fenced acreages of this size will tell you that they see deer on trail cameras and never find them during the season. I say that if you give me 1000 acres and a specific deer to find, I will indeed find him. As the land area gets bigger obviously the degree of difficulty in finding a specific deer has the potential to become more difficult. In some areas of Texas there are ranches under high fence that encompass well over one hundred thousand acres. However, I still contend that no matter the size of the ranch, if you give me enough time I can and will find any deer as long as he is alive.

With this in mind I have an opinion that really disregards the ethics of hunting in a high fence. I believe in freedom, in that if someone wishes to hunt inside a fence they have ever right to do so. However, I strongly disagree that any buck killed inside a high fence should count towards any records whatsoever. As I type this The Boone and Crockett Club will not allow their record book to have any entries recorded in it with animals taken from a high fence. . On the other hand SCI and others will in fact allow it. I believe this to be unfair at best.

For example, you have a person who owns a ranch that consists of 85,000 acres inside a high fence. On this ranch there is management practiced as best possible for this amount of land. The ranch kills as many does as the state will allow and only takes mature 8 points and trophies past their prime breeding age. After years of doing this someone kills a beast of a buck that scores 214 inches and sets some kind of record. He is entered into the record books and all the bells and whistles that come along with it start to go off. The person that killed this enormous buck now has people calling wanting this hunter to endorse this product and that one. He is deemed the most elite deer hunter on earth.

Then, someone with a 200 acre pen that breeds giant whitetail to look like elk at 2 years old see this fame and wants it. All he has to do is step out of the back door and BANG, a 235-inch double drop tine, split main beam, with 8 inch bases hits the dirt. The same record book that published the 214-inch buck will now publish this buck. Most of the same companies will forget that the first guy even exists and this new hunter of hunters will wallow in the rewards of success. I flat think this is wrong. Raising a giant in a small pen is much easier then doing so in a huge pen.

Simply put I don't think that ethics has anything to do with it. I believe that hunting animals in an environment that prevents their total escape is not something that I would like to do. With that said, I feel if someone wants to hunt inside a pen it is their right to do so. But, I think that no record book on earth should keep score on who got the biggest one inside a pen. In my opinion if your going to keep a score on deer in high fences you might as well keep one for the fattest cows as well.

Posted by Dan Braman under Deer Hunting on May 27, 10 08:31 AM | Permalink

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I don't have an opinion about hunting high or low fence ranches. I think that to each his own. I am high fenced on all sides and really don't like it but it isn't my high fence. Before I was "fenced in" I had bucks come and go and that helped my genetic pool but now to get new blood into my herd requires the buying and releasing new bucks or does. Now your statement about finding any deer is something that I don't necessarily agree with. Last year for example I never saw a certain buck on any game cam. Near the end of the season he showed up. Saw him once and never again. I have 735 acres (small compared to my neighbor's 10,000 acres). It is just me and my brother in law that hunt the ranch. He never saw the buck. We have deer blinds in strategic locations and hunt them all. Where was the buck all season long and where did he go after I saw him late in the season? Probably was a totally nocturnal buck (but why didn't he show on a game cam at night?) I was in a deer blind for about 22 days. Parts of the ranch are virtually so thick with brush that a man cannot penetrate it. I feel that is where some deer hang out and never come out except of rare occasions.(The rut was over when I saw him) Your thoughts.

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