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February 26, 2007

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Discussion Topic: Should Elk Ranches Be Licensed or Outlawed?

From an Associated Press Story on Idaho’s LocalNews8.com:

The Idaho state Senate voted 24-to-nine Friday to approve an industry-backed plan to regulate Idaho elk ranches.

Such ranches have come under increased scrutiny since as many as 160 animals bolted from an eastern Idaho preserve last August. The escape prompted an emergency hunt to keep the elk from interbreeding or spreading possible disease to wild herds around Yellowstone National Park.

Supporters of the new law say it provides adequate oversight from the state of Idaho to keep the industry in check.

Proponents of the plan overcame objections from a contingent of mostly Democratic lawmakers who favor outlawing preserves that let wealthy hunters shoot big game behind fences for money.

The measure now goes to the Idaho House.

Montana and Wyoming have outlawed such shooter-bull hunting preserves.

What do you think?


Tom Remington

None of us should ever put ourselves in the position to legislate hunting ethics. Once it begins, where will it end and for those who think this level of hunting is unethical, lay your hunting cards on the table so that we all can explain away what your hunting methods are that are unethical.

Contrary to what the media tells, science has proven that elk ranching is not risking the wild elk herds.


i live in MT and fortunately we've outlawed the practice. if some rich guy wants to shoot an elk inside a fenced venue, fine. but let's not recognize it as sport hunting and reward the shooter with any form of record book status of the animal.

Chris H.

As hunters we should be considered the ultimate conservationists. Part of taking care of our world is making sure the activities we participate in are done so with the utmost responsibility. Hunting in a high fenced area is not sporting and it is irresponsible. There are some principals of hunting that should be followed regardless of income. The fact that the game you pursue has a wide open completely free range is a big one. I also disagree with hunting over huge food plots that 500 deer visit every morning. This is merely target indetification and target practice. Hunting means you acutally have to do something to bag a trophy, and a trophy is earned not purchased. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem adding food sources to the habitat to increase the health of the population. I just don't consider it hunting to watch deer come to a field like a herd of cattle then pick out a nice old 12 point buck among the 50 other nice bucks and pull the trigger.

Canadian Bacon

what is the diffrence between hunting a fenced ranch and shooting a captive animal like the CW guy in the feb 27 article?
A line has to be drawn somewhere that is the gov't's job. i personaly feel that shooting an animal in a cage is not sporting dosen't matter is it is a 300 square foot cage or 200 acers the principal is the same giving the animal an extremely unfair advandage


Sounds like the Texas way of hunting, or rather target shooting, is spreading to Idaho. These are guys that don't want to hike or work for game, they just want a trophy to hang on the wall.

Mike Diehl

If there is no compelling evidence that these ranches are adversely affecting the wild elk population, then I do not have any objection to them.


Regardless of whether it affects wild elk, it affects wildlife that live on that ranch asit breaks up wildlfe corridors. Also, this promotes a terrible image of American hunters.

Mike Diehl

I sort of agree Matt although I wonder to whom the image is terrible. The "animals are people too" crowd aren't going to moderate their agenda if we sportsmen all get together and say "high fence hunting is for sissies."

For me it comes down to property rights vs. environmental impact. Unless there is really compelling evidence of adverse environmental impact I wouldn't want to step on someone's property rights.

IMO some ranches of this sort might do alot of good. Ted Turner's ranch in New Mexico seems like one of the good ones.


But is Ted's ranch fenced in? He doesn't strike me as the kind of guy that would go for fenced in hunting, but I could be wrong. As far as image goes, I understand that a vegan PETA activist hates all hunting and will never buy into the idea that any hunting can be ethical, but I'm concerned about all the people out there who do not have an opinion...yet. The fence sitters, the ones who have not made up there mind, etc. These are people who will join anti hunting ranks when they hear hunters are sitting in front of feeders in a fenced in area waiting to bag an elk. And I agree with property right ot an extent, but our wilderness is shrinking at an incredible rate. Fenceing affects not just game animals, but non game as well. It decreases the gene pool and breaks up wildlife corridors. I just can't see anything ethical or moral about it.

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