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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello from Scotland~

I have heard of game ranching in America, particulary African species....... Now call me a hypocrite, well who is'nt ! But i do have some ethical problems with this hunting of non-native species.

In Britain we have non-native Deer species which are hunted and i have no problem with this (hypocrite ?):rolleyes: as they are completely wild they are not enclosed or bred for hunting. They are classed as wild, they belong to no one "until they are on your land" and nothing is done to prevent free movement over any distance.

There are certain Deer parks here that can offer huge park bred deer, basically enclosed within a large walled/fenced park........ Im sorry but to me that's not really cricket !:eek:

Personally i would have NO satisfaction looking up at such a trophy :(

Now i believe i have made my feeling on enclosed land hunting very clear ! :(

I admit my knowledge of Game ranches is very limted, but the idea of hunting non-native species such as zebra which were not "feral". but rather enclosed albeit on thousands of acres still gives my personal "ethical bone" trouble.

Im not condeming those who do, its a personal choice and i have no problem with that, its your right and should be.

So tell me how wrong i am ! Tell me more of how game ranches in the states work ? What wonderful species can be hunted
:rolleyes:


Englander
 

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I guess I have no problem with it as long as the animals are acclimated to the surroundings and there is a stong element of fair chase involved. What gives the whole concept a really bad name over here are the operations where they have the animals in a 40 acre pen and you stroll up to the fence and the guide points out the one you are to shoot. You can call that sort of thing many names, but hunting isn't one of them.
Mark
 

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This is a little different scenario, but most places in Africa now are fenced. Most governments require any private land holder or groups of land holders that do not have their farms in crop rotation and have wildgame on their property to incorporate high "game fences". The idea is that disease from wildgame will not be transmitted to domestic livestock and vice versa. Granted some of these concessions are quite large, as many private landowners combine their ranches together and conduct hunts for their primary source of income. These concessions run from the smallest of approximately 5,000 acres to nearly a million. I dare hesitate to say that most places in the world, game doesn't have the freedom to move around on a million acres without encumberance, be fences or towns or other restrictions to travel.

I know hunting here in Alaska, I've hunted populations of animals that have natural restrictions (sky reaching mountain ranges, crumbling glaciers, isolated islands) that are less than 20,000 acres.

If food is bountiful and there is a good buck to doe ratio in the immediate area, America's most sought after game animal, the whitetailed deer will range in much less space than the aforementioned acreage.

Don't get me wrong, I would not pen shoot an animal and call it sporting. I have no interest in hunting pen raised trophy animals that do not have the natural fight or flight instinct or natural survival instincts in tact, nor will I hunt an animal that does not have what is considered freedom of range for it's particular specie. Would I hunt nilgai on a fenced range the size of the King or Kennedy ranches in Texas? Yeah, I probably would. Would I hunt nilgai that is not at carry capacity of a 50,000 or 100,000 acre spread, probably, if I was so inclined to hunt nilgai.

I think it is matter of if it is really a hunt or a canned shoot. I hate to say it and hope not to offend anyone here, but places that guarantee a B&C trophy in a fenced in enclosure, is probably a shoot and not a hunt.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Living in Texas, land of high fences, let me weigh in on this.

First, let me say that I do not like high fences. But not for the reasons you might first suspect.

We have ranches that are 'game-proof' (more on this later) from a few acres to 100,000 plus. There are some thick tangles of thorny brush where you couldn't find a deer on a acre, and some wide open spaces where you can see to the horizon in every direction. So there is no easy definition of 'how big' a place has to be to be true fair chase hunting.

Game fences aren't about garanteeing a kill (for the most part, I'm sure there are exceptions). They are about carrying capacity of the land. They don't keep your animals in - they keep other animals out. You want big deer - thin them out so that there is enough to eat for the rest of them, then ensure that there are supplemental foods (ie plant oats, clover, distribute protein/minerals, or whatever). If your neighbors don't manage their property and hundreds of deer from their overpopuplated ranch move onto yours, you are not going to have a healthy deer herd. And that's a very common problem, as too many people try to 'conserve' the animals and let their ranches get overpopuplated. Rainfall is unpredictable here, and you WILL have a drought every few years.

If you have good habitat, no amount of hunting pressure will run the animals off. They may go totally nocturnal, but they will stay. If you don't think that's true, you haven't had to battle pests like wild hogs on a ranch that's badly infested and has very suitable habitat for them.

They aren't game-proof either. Rivers, natural obstacles, storms, roads, etc., all conspire to create openings. A friend saw a spooked deer jump THROUGH a fence once, leaving an antler behind (late winter so it was due to fall off anyway). I've seen 'tagged' deer that escaped off of a neighboring ranch that had a high fence (the deer were brought in to help increase the antler genetics on the local population and so were tagged like cattle. At least three of them promptly escaped). The very worst problem is wild hogs, which will tear up any fence unless it is electrified. You just may have fewer openings, that's all.

Unfortunately there may be genetic problems created if the herd inbreeds too much. But at this time, no one can really say for sure what it will take to cause that sort of problem, and no one can prove that it's happening, either.

Now... here's why I really hate the high fences. Somebody has to pay for them, and it's the hunters. This is really driving up the cost of hunting in this state, and making it cost-prohibitive for the majority of people. When there aren't enough hunters in the general population, then hunting can easily be banned or severely restricted. So the people putting in high fences are basically destroying the entire sport of hunting, for the sake of a few points on a set of antlers.

Unfortunately there are too many landowners with high fences now to get rid of them, at least in this state anyway. But I sure would like to see them go.

One possible positive aspect of high fences would be to help control things like CWD. But I don't know if fences would control the spread, or just slow it down.

If you really wanted to concentrate on making hunting in this state more ethical, then ban baiting. But that's another thread.

Anyway, hope this helps shed light on the issue.
 

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HI MIKE G,
YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND JUDGEMENT ARE CONSTANTLY A PLEASURE TO READ. YOUR ABILIITY TO ARTICULATE THOUGHTS INTO THE WRITTEN WORDS, IS A DEFINATE ASSET TO ALL WHO "KNOW YOU".

HI ALYESKA,
YOU BROUGHT UP A VERY INTERESTING POINT: IT ISN'T HOW LARGE THE FENCED AREA IS, BUT WHAT VEGETATION AND OTHER NATURAL WONDERS POPULATE IT----THAT MAKE AN ANIMAL HUNTING PARK EITHER "SPORTING" OR "KILLING" PARKS.

HI MCASSILL,
THIS HAPPENS EVEN IN NON-PAYING "SHOOTS". ONCE WHEN DRIVING THROUGH WYOMING I SAW TWO OF FOUR SIDES OF A HARVESTED, 10 (?) ACRE FIELD CONTAIN "HUNTERS" EVERY 15 OR 20 YARDS. INSIDE THE FOUR-STRAND FENCE WERE 18 ANTELOPE ( ACTUAL COUNT. I STOPPED ON THE FREEWAY TO WATCH.) I COULDN'T TELL HOW MANY WERE "DOWN" WHEN i GOT THERE.
THE ANTELOPE RAN ALONG THE FENCES AND ACROSS THE FIELD IN ALL DIRECTIONS. "HUNTERS" WOULD SEE THE ANTELOPE HEADING FOR AN UN-WATCHED FENCE AND RUSH AROUND THE CORNER FROM WHERE THEY WERE TO SCARE THEM BACK TO THE MIDDLE. ALL THE WHILE "HUNTERS WERE BLAZING AWAY AT THE FAST-RUNNING ANTELOPE.

I WAS STANDING BY TO AID ANY "HUNTER" WHO WAS ACCIDENTLY SHOT---INTIL I COULDN'T STAND TO WATCH THIS FIASCO ANY LONGER.

HI ENGLANDER,
AS ALWAYS I ENJOY YOUR VIEWPOINTS AND HOPE THEY NEVER STOP. iSN'T IT GREAT TO HAVE A CHOICE IN MATTERS OF WHAT KIND OF "HUNTING", "SHOOTING" OR "KILLING" YOU DO -----OR DON'T DO.
FOR MYSELF, AS LONG AS OTHER PEOPLE'S ACTIONS DO NOT INTERFERE PHYSICALLY WITH THE THINGS I ENJOY, THEY CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT. ONLY I CAN CONTROL MY THOUGHTS OF RIGHT AND WRONG, AND SHOULD ALWAYS DO SO WITHOUT TRYING TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE CHANGE BY STOPPING TO DO THOSE THINGS THAT OFFEND MY SENSIBILITIES.
THE PROBLEM WITH ALL THE "DO-GOODERS" ON THE WORLD ARE THEIR TRYING TO MAKE ALL PEOPLE LIVE BY THEIR OWN STANDARDS BECAUSE, "I'M SMARTER THAN ALL THE REST AND KNOW WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM TO DO---SO LET'S PASS A NEW LAW OUTLAWING----------------!"

CSWARD (CHUCK)
 

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One thought to consider. When I first began bowhunting I had some very strong doubts about the effectiveness of my weapon. I went to a "game farm" that hunted hair sheep and Spanish goats on 400 acres of Oklahoma mountains. I had a tough hunt, would not have gotten the animals without the fence but saw what my bow could do. Was a great confidence booster. I feel like it helped my hunting as long as I was able to shoot my bows.
Would I hunt it again? No.
Would I hunt with anything other than a bow or handgun? No.
Would I recommend it for a beginner? Yes.
 

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How do folks,

Well heres another of my two cents.

Several years ago, before I left Texas to see where Uncle Sam wanted me, hunting here was just as previously described on a smaller scale. Pay to hunt. While this was fairly expensive at the time it was an alternative to hunting in the National Forests with quite a few new comers to the region who if they had ever hunted before was only with slug guns due to the restricted nature of previous hunting grounds and local/state laws.

As you can imagine a person who may be used to only hardwood stands surrounded by bean and corn fields with the only dangerous thing being a copperhead snake that should be curled up in a snug place or a farmers dog being his only worry. This person now finds himself on the edge of the East Texas big thicket. Now this place is thick!!! The individual has also heard every tail about stir crazed bobcats, wild cattle (Brahma), deranged ferile hogs, non-hibernating poisonous snakes and such, He is just a little on edge... Add to this volatile mix limited visual range, dry conditions, foggy brain, and knowledge that deer are ghosts,, (either from personal experience or communicated) stack a mess of these types on "open" land and you have an accident waiting for an excuse.

I had a gentlemen scope me for fifty yards while I exited the property that I had permission to hunt to my brothers vehicle. Same year the young man who sat next to me in art class was mistaken for a deer out near Uvalde. (Him and I both wore the same style of red insulated outer wear.)

But, back then I could pay a trespass fee of $15-20 a day, no trophey fee or kill fee. Deer were not as plentiful, but it was affordable, no ten foot fences, no $1,600-5,000 dollar a gun fees.

Yes, it is not affordable for the average joe. I am probably below average at that.

Another response to the inbreeding. Look at the Evansville, IN courier news archives. I believe the article was two years ago about their Wesselman's park.

This park is in town and a preserve of natural habit. Their deer population is out of control for the available browse. They have hired hunters to thin out the herd. The area is greatly over-populated. One point in the article that the inbreeding is a problem is that this small area, (200-300 Acres??) during a census had 3 or 4 different albino deer in the herd!

Same paper ran articles about controlled and hired hunts in New Harmony State Park, IN because the deer were stripping the bark to eat for lack of browse. This is an area surrounded by farms.

A point of interest is that in that region leasing land is considered odd. A person is supposed to ask the owner for his permission. Quite a few do not allow hunting on their property due to trespassers, poachers, slobs, and other unethical persons. One individual told me he wouldn't mind but was afraid of legal or insurance problems.

I was lucky. An challenged person was having problems with people trespassing on his land. In exchange for me fence riding his property, my son and I could hunt it. The owner did not want stands on his property. I tore them down. These folks would nail these to the hickory and oak trees. Some of these folks would get upset when I pointed out the posted signs and that the owner had not given them permission to hunt. One even tried to tell me the land had been in his family for three generations. When I told him that the present owner had inherited this land from his father, and that the owners grandfather had sold 500 acres just before WWII and given the remaining 88 acres to his son, this guy told me his daddy had hunted here and he would too. Luckily he never returned. My son and I saw several nice bucks over the 4 years I watched the property. We always saw deer. It was nice to see them. Most were less than 40 yards distant due to the cover.

Is there a point to all this? I doubt it. Just some more wood for the fire. Unless it would be the following. More hunters need to respect the land, its current owner, and the game we pursue.

To CSWard,

I wonder if a person was to go to Ft. Lewis in the training areas south of the Nisqually, I would say maybe 2.5 miles, sit near the apple trees, if that person can still catch a bugle, or maybe sight of a small band of elk that were i.d.'d to me as Roosevelts?
 

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ENGLANDER

Friend of mine went to a game ranch to hunt "Water Buffalo". While they were watching one in front of them, (the guide was with him), another came up behind them. They heard the Bull just as it charged them. He was able to get one shot in the bull with a 300 Wtby before it knocked the both of them down. The guide's leg was broken, ribs were cracked as well. My buddies Weatherby was knocked from his hands, and the stock was broken. He was able to pull his 44 mag out and fire 5 rounds at point blank range, as the Bull was charging. His last shot was from underneath the Bull, the bullet went up through the bottom of the jaw and lodged in the brain.

I didn't see this, just talked to the guy after he got back from the hunt. I do believe him though. And he didn't even have to go to Africa for all that fun!

That Water Buffalo sure didn't know he was inside a fence...
 

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Cripes!!! thats a scary story Joel. Think I'll just go ahead and leave those buffalo alone.
 

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Hi guys,

I personally have no problem with people "hunting" high fenced areas, but, I do have a problem with anyone who compares their high fence "trophy" deer against ANY wild deer I shoot. Thus far, the only deer I've hunted have been truly wild - no fences. I have to scout for them and I have to contend with all the other hunters competing for a spot on private property or a good spot on public land. Where I hunt, there are precious few large trophies and a TON of hunters. It takes work and skill to even locate a trophy, let alone actually harvest one. Most (if not all) "hunting" I see on the TV outdoor programs show people who pay a guide to do their scouting for them and pay to hunt an area where the herd is highly managed professionally and access is strictly limited. There is no comparison between my trophies and theirs. I don't know if the record books identify the differences, but they should. I would like to see any of those so-called hunters on TV come to my area, work full-time jobs, raise a family correctly, and still harvest big-antlered bucks on a regular basis.
 

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big redhead, could'nt have said it better myself!

joel b, good story, wid animals are wild wherever they are. i have also heard of people getting eaten on pretty badly by wild boar on fenced hunts as well.
personally knew someone south of new orleans that this happened to.

walk softly and carry a big magnum!
 

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Hunting vs Shooting

When the English sit in a blind [stand?] and shoot driven pen raised pheasants, is it 'hunting', or shooting [like skeet or 'sporting clays', only with animate targets]?

ENGLANDER said:
Hello from Scotland~

I have heard of game ranching in America, particulary African species....... Now call me a hypocrite, well who is'nt ! But i do have some ethical problems with this hunting of non-native species.

In Britain we have non-native Deer species which are hunted and i have no problem with this (hypocrite ?):rolleyes: as they are completely wild they are not enclosed or bred for hunting. They are classed as wild, they belong to no one "until they are on your land" and nothing is done to prevent free movement over any distance.

There are certain Deer parks here that can offer huge park bred deer, basically enclosed within a large walled/fenced park........ Im sorry but to me that's not really cricket !:eek:

Personally i would have NO satisfaction looking up at such a trophy :(

Now i believe i have made my feeling on enclosed land hunting very clear ! :(

I admit my knowledge of Game ranches is very limted, but the idea of hunting non-native species such as zebra which were not "feral". but rather enclosed albeit on thousands of acres still gives my personal "ethical bone" trouble.

Im not condeming those who do, its a personal choice and i have no problem with that, its your right and should be.

So tell me how wrong i am ! Tell me more of how game ranches in the states work ? What wonderful species can be hunted
:rolleyes:


Englander
 

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My opinion is that hunting animals on a game farm is no different than killing livestock for food.

The animals are farmed. I don't consider it true hunting.

And yes I have tried it, so I do speak with some experience.

It is a sticky topic that could go either way because actually the state farms the wild animals.

Maybe the distinction should be whether the animals are wild or not. If they are wild and subsiting on their own it would be hunting and if they are not wild and being fed or cared for by humans it is not hunting.
 

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Agree with what warpig said totally...if it works for you ...fine...just not my cup of tea.

Kind of like comparing World Wrestling Federation to Olympic Greco Roman Wrestling. Entertainment vs. Classic.


swede
 

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I don't agree with hunting inside of any fenced-in enclosure, no matter how large. With any situation where there are man made obsticles to natural migration and natural breeding selection, I feel the animals aren't completely wild. They may be just as wary and as difficult to approach and kill, but there's that element of freedom, that makes an animal wild, that's missing.
 

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I have hunted preserves before, as long as there is a fair chase in a large area for the animals to escape your hunt, I don't mind, but I have heard of small fenced in areas where the animals have no where to run and hide, this too me is not fairchase bye far or ethical hunting, basicly it is a slaughter, just like working a farm and its time to take the farm animals to the big place in the sky for our means of food. Also I must add sometimes these presurves have the animals caged before hand only to let loose the animal for the start of the hunt, this is not ethical to me as well, the animal has no idea where to run or hide due to being in a surrounding he is not familar too,so he just wonders around till he gets shot not very sporting to me. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.
 

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I feel very lucky that at least for now, where I live there is still plenty of places to hunt without resorting to ranches. However, there are a few in my area that cater to the folks who will fork out the money for it. I'm not calling it bad, just not my idea of a good time. I can't imagine a 100,000 acre "ranch",(guess things ARE BIG in Texas) I know looking for a deer or partridge that I KNOW is in the unfenced twenty acre patch of woods behind my house is a real challenge. So even if fenced, if the area is large and the animals native, then it's not the fish in the barrel deal.
HOWEVER, even in the Maine "wilderness" it is quickly becoming harder to find a place to hunt. Some of this is due to rude and recless behavior of other "hunters" and sportsman who do not respect the land of others.
I think we'll see the popularity of these ranches grow no matter what. The sad thing is that then, the privilage of "hunting" will belong only to those who can afford the trophy fees.
Presently in Maine, there is a big debate on the ethics of shooting bears over bait. Again, not my thing, as I can't figure what I'd do with a bear if I got one, but I am going to vote to allow those who want to sit in the tree stands, freezing thier kiesters off, have thier sport preserved.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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This is an interesting topic and I think that there are a lot more shades of grey than black-and-white truths.... think about the following:

Is it ethical to increase the carrying capacity of the land? Why not.... we add water sources, grow crops, etc.; then use them to our advantage hunting. We irrigate, fertilize, control weeds, control floodwaters..... all an unnatural influence on the land. Animals either benefit or suffer from the change in habitat.

Is it ethical to hunt where there are fences? How high? Even if a deer can jump the fence, there's always a few places they tend to cross, usually not too hard to find.... how many deer have to be able to jump the fence before it's too hight? One? Some? All of them? How many openings in the fence per mile should there be if it's too tall to jump?

Is it ethical to shoot out the window of the truck? How about if I get out of the truck? How long do I have to wait - 5 minutes, an hour, a day, a week? Why is any particular distance or length of time ethical, but one minute earlier (or one foot closer) not? Should I be allowed to drive to the stand? Or halfway? Or even to the deer camp?

Can I build a tower blind to see over the brush? No? How about climb a tree? How about take advantage of a natural rise in the terrain?

What about artificial lights? No? - how about moonlight? Why is dawn to dusk hunting OK and not at night for deer? At exactly what point is it no longer ethical to hunt? Heck, it would be harder to hunt at night, not easier.... How about illuminated recticles? Night vision? What if I store some sunlight as electricity, then use it later in my flashlight? What if I can afford a better scope than another guy? Heck I can't even see very well without glasses.... should I be allowed to artificially correct my vision?

Why is it ethical to hunt coons at night, but not deer? Why is it ethical to use a dog to hunt small game, but not deer? I sure can't find a game animal with my nose.... Is it Ok to retrieve a game animal with a dog? Sure - no one wants waste - but the dog doing the work lets me have an opportunity to keep hunting, is that ethical?

Why are rifles ethical? That's a read advantage for a human.... what about smokeless powder vs. black? What about handguns, bows, spears, and traps? Why is one method more ethical than the other......

What about a laser-rangefinder? Binoculars? Optics? All of these things were once rare, now commonly available.....

Selective breeding of animals - we do it all the time. Shoot the spikes, let the big deer grow up and breed the does. Heck is it even ethical to hunt during the rut? The deer are, um, distracted; and we further the advantage with scents, lures, calls, rattling horns, and so on.

Controlling disease - what about treating large populations of animals for parasites so the wildlife will thrive? We do this often, too...... air-dropped rabies vaccine, for example. And controlling predator populations, and eliminating competition.... all common practices.

How big of an area to we have to hunt to consider it fair chase? What about an island? 1 acre - 100,000 acres - a million? - after all there is only so much land on the continent!!! If 'X' acres are ethical, fair chase hunting - then what about 'X' minus one acre?

What about non-native animals? Gosh I may not get to Africa but I might hunt Kudu in Texas.... not ethical, you say? Guess the millions of ring-necked pheasants shot every year (from western Asia) are taken unethically.... as well as the thousands upon thousands of wild pigs in Texas (and if we didn't we'd be waist-deep in them, that's for sure). How long does a non-native population have to be established before we'd consider it sporting to hunt? A week? A generation? A hundred years? Ever?????

Point being, the hunt is what we make of it, and a lot of what is 'ethical' or not is just whatever has evolved into the common practice of the time.... think about the finer points of how you hunt before passing judgment on others..... food for thought.
 
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