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March 31, 2008

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A Look Over the Fence

Five years ago, I was on a hunt in a high-fence ranch in northern South Africa when a friend shot and wounded an eland. He, I, the PH and two trackers followed the animal for four days, dawn to dusk, when the blood trail finally dried up and we could see that he was eating and drinking and not hit seriously.

The point is that we were hunting inside a high fence and we never caught up. Hunting in the RSA is now a big business, and game animals are becoming extremely valuable, so a high fence makes sense because it keeps them from wandering off, and it keeps non-paying personnel from wandering in and poaching your critters.

The plain fact is, that if you have enough acreage inside the fence and enough cover, the game has all the chance it needs to stay alive. Aesthetically it is not nearly so pleasing as hunting without fences, but that is the way things are today.


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Clay Cooper

There was an actual study done, where 4 hunters where turn loose in a high fence hunt that was 1/4 mile square. They hunted for a week and didn’t see anything. There was several deer turned loose into the fenced in area and before the hunt started, simulated hunting pressure was put onto the deer to teach them to avoid hunters. Then the 4 hunters hunted for a week and no deer was shot or even spotted! At Ft. Chaffee Arkansas, one of the best deer hunting places I know of, deer actually look up into trees looking for hunters, so go figure!

Clay Cooper

I can see the use of high fences in Africa due to the commercialization of poaching. But in the US, hunting deer in a high fence like Texas and you shoot a monster of a buck? You might as well have shot a yearling doe so don’t come bragging to me! You might as well this turkey season go by Wal-Mart and pick up a Butter Ball Turkey on the way back from the sports bar opening day!

Clay Cooper

I watch the sportsman channel all the time and it strikes me funny to watch those Texas hunts to see those Big Game hunters with a 300 Super Dooper Ultimate Magnum rifle with a Super Dooper Scope and wearing Super Dooper Camo suit in a deer house 12 feet off the ground! I wonder why the camera man never points the camera behind the shooter? I wonder if it’s because there is an espresso coffee maker and a TV tuned to ESPN behind him and perhaps a hot tub?!?


YooperJack, your comparison is flawed. If the fishing guide was to take you to the aquarium at Bass Pro Shop to fish, then that would be a fair comparison.


Do the animals wear cow bells in the "high fence area"? I think there should be a double fence with the animals running between, like some of the large horse farms here in Ky...(just kidding)

Matt in MN

To Jack Ryan - I couldn't have said it better myself.

Taking a wise old doe on heavily hunted public land is WAY more of a trophy than some clown shooting behind a high fence.


Wouldn't it be something to see a high fence running through the Rockies like the Great Wall of China? Extending to Alaska up past Clay's stomping grounds.. Think about it... No offence Dave


I am reluctant to criticize anyone else's recreation. Some people get out and enjoy the great outdoors by playing golf. I don't, but that's their cup of tea. Others spend many $$$ on fishing boats with electronic fish finders, downriggers,etc. I fish from a canoe. I don't judge those fishermen.

There is some recreational value in game farms. I don't do it, but I see where someone else might have to. If large enough, and properly run, they could duplicate actual hunting conditions. Also, please see my "brain fart" above. I believe that these farms could go a long way towards preservation of endangered species, if given that mandate.


Might start down around Dr.Ralph's or RockyMtn Hunter's home town..and go across the country. Could take a southern Route along the Rio Grande and serve two purposes..



I'm a KY boy too. What part of our fine state do you occupy?

To everyone else,

What do you all think about upland hunting where the birds are placed in the field prior to the hunt? I only know of a few farms with quail on them, and while those farmers would give you the shirt off their backs, they won't let you hunt their quail. If you want to shoot quail, around here, you pretty much have to pay to do it. And none of the local bird hunting preserves are large enough to sustain a wild population, so the birds are placed. I'm not proud of it, but I'd rather hunt placed birds than none at all.



fences are for livestock.


Dr. Ralph

We used to go to the Army base Atterbury I think it was and shoot pheasant they had just released. Sure were fat and slow but tasted the same... it didn't really bother me but it wasn't really hunting because you knew they were there and there were way more per acre than in the wild. Beats picking up a chicken at Kroger, just don't confuse it with hunting.


I'm not a fan of game farms for bird hunting. I did it one time (here in Indiana) and the birds had to practically be kicked to fly.

It didn't feel like hunting, it was very expensive and I felt like I was doing something wrong the entire time I was there.

It's not for me, but it's legal and I know people who enjoy going. I just didn't.



I have hunted wild birds on many occasions, but on 2 occasions I have hunted game bird Preserves, these birds were turned out in the wild days before we hunted and flew as hard and fast and were just as skiddish as any "wild" bird i have hunted. Regardless of whether they were raised in a pen or in the wild, once they have been there for a couple of days, they are WILD.


Jhdo5 quote: these birds were turned out in the wild days before we hunted and flew as hard and fast and were just as skiddish as any "wild" bird i have hunted. Regardless of whether they were raised in a pen or in the wild, once they have been there for a couple of days, they are WILD.

How did the preserve keep the birds in the assigned hunting area? The preserve I went to had assigned hunting areas, released the birds and let the hunters in. How did the preserve you went to operate?



Dr. Ralph,

I agree with your stance on four wheelers, trail cams, feeders and the like. I have alot more respect when an animal is taken with skill over technology.


If your father shot a deer, was dragging it out, and suffered a heart attack, would you feel the same way about ATV's?

There is a place for everything. Blamining ATV's for the damage caused by them is akin to blaming guns for the crime rate.


I have to agree with ISHAWOOA about the use of a range finder. Early on I made a few bad shots that made my stomach turn with the results. As soon as I had the chance I bought one and love it.
I also agree since I started using a range finder It has taught me how to judge distant better.


Dave Petzal, thank you for the realistic words about High Fences. Most of the negative coments seem to come from people who have never been to S. Africa or S. Texas for that matter, or seen 10,000 ac or even 1000 acres of S. Texas Brush. I recall the same types of comments from long bow hunters vs. Compound Bow Hunters or Skeet shooters vs Sporting clay shooters etc. I'm sure that when the neaderthals where trying to kill a Mastadon there was someone who thought they should attack from ambush with a spear and someone else who thought they should use a grass fire to run the whole herd off a cliff. I've known peolpe who have hunted S. Texas for years and passed on lots of big deer (160 class) waiting for the Real Monster (180+) to step out. I'd say don't knock it till you've tried it.


Refering to RICEFARM's Post.

On the TV show hunts I understand why they whisper as they stalk or sit and wait in a blind,
But can someone please tell me why do they whisper after the shot??????
The shows are hard enough to follow along because they whisper before the shot why do they whisper after the shot?????


To some extent ....hunting today is a joke at least in alot of areas like Michigan..you go to public land and theres a hunter per acre. Or the farm ground around is packed with hunters and all their familys on ever available piece of ground they can stick a blind.Thats not hunting. I sat on opening day in a little spot(waste of time) and heard some shots behind me off in the distance..a herd of deer go running by. They run across the field...i hear more shots . they come back across one deer less. Then I hear more shots they...come running out again..one deer less. Itslike. this is a joke, ill take up target shooting or clay pigeons r some elso thats actual hunting. I know out west..and on huge ranches and in Alaska n places like that its different ..but for the most part...it seems like a joke anyways.


Criminals use guns for the wrong reasons and ill goten gain.
Slob hunters use 4 wheelers for the wrong reasons and ill gotten game.

A guy like Bubba using a 4 wheeler is apparrely the differece between weather or not he hunts,.. period.

So would say this ,.. if your heathy ,.. lazy or not,. use your feet,.. if you weigh so much you cant walk 1/2 mile maybe one shouldnt hunt,.. or maybe one should loose a lot of weight.

If you are truly legitimatly limited and IE:
crippled handy-capped,.. heart attack / stroke waitig to happen,..IED casualty OR peole past a certain age say 65.

The responsibe use of mehanized means to gain access to hunting venue and or retireve a kill is in my humble opionin OK

Certain most of us would prefer that eco friendly hourses or mules were used ,..But that is simply not practicle,..
As in who keeps a horse for 12 months to use for one or even 4 weeks. Well my former wife might ,.. but that is part the resson why she is former YK YUK

If we observe and pratice ethical reponsible means to hunt ,. most things ( ways and means) are ok,..
Bet Danial boone almost never went hunting without his horse or mule or what ever he used.
However running deer with a anything that utilized combustion or electric or steam engine should reasult in its operators A$$ summarilly kicked,. said vehichle of what ever flavor confiscated and sold to bennifit the ethical hunterss

As to fences ,.. never hunted an enclosure ,.. but did for a time hunt a section (1 sq mile) and it was an actual square.
Buffered by a couple fields it was surrounded by high end resedential dwellings of up to a million dollars .. probaly 850k now yuk yuk

At any given time there were 100-150 deer on that property arial surveys proved it ,.. but they ( the deer) knew they were being hunted,.. and they were just as cagey as thier cousins in the big pine country.

Ralph ,. longest drag for me was when i ws 18. Shot a big buck ( small rack) whopper body,.. would guess without the guts a little over 200lb,... in tammerac swamp,.. about 1.5 miles from the road. No snow and it was warm,..
One tuckered puppy when the sand two track came into view. ( fire lane really) and that was it no more go power ,..had to rest up to walk the 1/2 mile to tell brother an Dad had one down and needed help.


I have gone out fishing on Lake Huron with my Father and his friend. His friend owns the boat and the equipment. They go out and fish in some of the big Brown Trout tourniments. There have been days when they did not get a single fish and they have fished the area for years and know all the hot spots. My points is that it is still a crap shoot even for the Chartered fishing excursions.

But I like you enjoy fishing from the small waters where the biggest motor on the lake is a 5hp Johnson or evenrude. And a chartered fishing is renting a 12 foot row boat and they hand you a key to unchain the boat and a map to get there. (Sorry just remembering fishing with my dad near Wawa Canada.)




Yohan, you're probably against fishing from a boat, just swim out there and float on your back and fish..No.. This is the first year I used a fourwheeler to hunt(retrieve) a deer. believe me it helps... I don't see how anyone could hunt from one, they can hear you comming for miles here in the hills.


Hunting ethics must have a sound foundation.

Market hunting in the US just over a century ago nearly wiped out several species of game. It was a tragedy that a profit industry was responsible for the desperate mismanagement of wildlife. Sport hunting is a completely different thing -- it is strictly managed. While we consider wholesale slaughter and decimation of wildlife unethical, sport hunting is not unethical because it is a responsible action within sensible regulations.

Now, both of these forms of hunting have one thing in common: the goal is to take advantage of the animal. It seems to me that if your aim is anything other than to take that advantage, you're not really hunting -- you're just out for a walk with a gun.

For the life of me, I do not understand why the use of a fence to get the better advantage (or as Dave's article points out, to provide a two directional barrier)is an ethical question at all. We used archery because it gave a better advantage than stone hatchets and spears. We use firearms because they give a greater advantage than archery. We use trail cams and feeders (where legal) for the greater advantage. The same goes for cammo and scent free clothing and on and on the list goes of accessories manufactured and marketed to give us a greater advantage.

Some folks, my self included, have declared: "It's all about 'the hunt'"! Yet we are typically happier when after investment of time and money we actually take advantage of an animal and then have something to show for it.

Yet, if a hunter was to step out on the back porch and legally shoot a 6X6 elk who's to say it's not ethical simply because there was “no hunt” involved? Heck, I'd consider it a blessing!

A question of ethics must have a proper foundation and unfortunately, the logic some hunters use to establish their ethic is on a crash course with itself.

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