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January 24, 2008

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Discussion Topic: On High-Fence Hunting in Colorado

According to this NRA press release, proposed Colorado House Bill 1096 would:

[E]nd all hunting behind "enclosures" in Colorado. Under the far-reaching and vague bill, every piece of fenced property would be off-limits to hunting, no matter how large the enclosure. As written, it could preclude a farmer or rancher who fences his or her property from allowing anyone, including family or friends to hunt, regardless of the size of the property.

The bill itself reads:

What do you think? Does this bill overreach? Would you support any bill restricting high-fence hunting?



what next? Do they want to make it so we can't have a hamburger? What is the difference between hunting at a game ranch and sending a cow to the butcher?



I think it overeaches. What if the enclosure i.e. fenced in area is 15000 acres?

Blue Ox

So what you're telling me is that if I bought some land in Colorado, I would not be able to hunt on my own property? Please help me to understand this, 'cause as of right now I'm just seeing this bill as an invasive steaming pile of mooseshit.


What is the intent of this bill? Eliminate game farms? Eliminate hunting? Did PETA have any role in drafting the bill or sponsorship?
What a mess!

Tommy S.

Sorry guys, hate to lose cyber friendships, but I hate high fence, no matter the size of the enclosure. hATE IT.


Come on Tommy, 15000 acres? You would ban that? Im with you , I hate canned shoots or high fence when the animals are confined in some manner. Notice I didnt say hunts because this is not hunting! I really do see your point I just think the bill needs to be way more specific.

Mike Diehl

I think the law is too vaguely worded as it stands. In my view it treads too heavily on High Fence farms. If people want to buy animals, raise a bunch of domesticated corn fed deer, and then charge a pile of money to shoot their livestock, it's OK with me, so long as they are not (through fences or posting their land) restricting access to wild animals.

If on the other hand the law aims to prevent private land owners from posting their own land, thereby restricting public access to publically owned wild animals, and hunting on it, I think it is a good law.

John R

The bill is too ambiguous as written. As stated above it could prevent a rancher with a fence around his property from allowing friends or relatives to hunt. Many ranchers fence their property and not for the purpose of keeping animals in. It reads IMHO like some back door anti-hunting bulls**t.
To be fair and open minded I oppose hunts where animals are released from cages, staked in one place, or restricted to a pen. That's not hunting. I have to be honest; I read the news on my computer every morning and I am convinced that we are becoming a nation of idiots (present company excepted).

Blue Ox

High fence is one thing, Tommy. But what if said property is not fenced? I mean hey, If I happen to open my front door one morning and Mr. Elk is standing there, I'd have half a mind to grab my knife & fork and chase him down...


You got the idiot part right John. Moral and personal responsibility is an oddity in todays society (present co. excepted). Sorry Ill get back to the subject, time for my meds!LMAO

Brian T

"Intentionally....." suggests otherwise. Talk is cheap, spell it out or stay home you senseless law(?)makers.


I dunno Mike. Seems to me, if you went through the trouble of buying land, putting up a camp, you should be able to restrict who hunts on that land. In MI, we're seeing more of the "Game Farms", where people put up, I think, 12' fences, buy the deer inside from the DNR, then sell hunting privileges. I'll quit hunting before I go there. Also, no one I know has ever been to one.
But to ban the guy that owns 40 acres from posting it is a bit extreme.


Almost got me Ox. Better luck next time!LOL


We got us a hot one boys!

Mike Diehl

Don't know what to tell you, Yoop. The animals on that land don't belong to the landowner. If you bought land and someone else owned the minerals, they could legally ignore your "no trespassing" sign and dig an open pit mine right up to your front porch.

I'm not advocating anything that extreme. But there's genuine laws that can be used to deal with Yahoo hunters. If not, there has to be a reasonable compromise that will compensate the rest of the public when private landowners try to (in my view) "steal public game."

So if someone wants to post their land I think that's OK, but no one should be allowed to hunt on posted land, not even the landowner.

Alternatively, if they want to hunt on it (or lease it) but want to exclude the public from accessing publically owned animals, maybe some sort of fee would be appropriate.

Tommy S.

Guys, we have been over this one before. I am certainly not going to advocate banning it - didn't say that at all. Said I hate it. And I will not cry over it's certain impending demise, nor will I entertain any bs about flood-gates.

I hate fencing animals and shooting them no matter the acreage. Guides know where they are and are paid to put rich folks on animals that cannot escape their guns. Not hunting. They have to go to the available food and water sources whether or not they are man made. That is my problem with it - and that it exaserbates the whole antler thing.
Screw it.

Tommy S.

I'll say it again. I have a nice big 8 pt I got on public land with a muzzleloader. No bait - no guide - no fence.
That is a trophy.
Nothing any bigger I could buy behind a fence would even come close, and while I ain't rich, I could afford to do it, and I would not; even if F&S offered it to make me look bad - I would decline.

A trip to Alaska to hunt free -range deer - now that I would certainly do.


I'd say, in the context of the language of that bill, that "confined" is a more important word than "enclosure." in short, this bill would effect HIGH fence, not ALL fence.

which is fine with me. whatever.



The mineral rights argument was bad Mike. Up here, we've never had a case go to court where the mineral people had to pay the surface owner for destroying the surface rights. When that issue comes up, the mining companies have very large checkbook!

Anyway, land is owned up here for two primary reasons timber and hunting. Some timberland, while owned by logging companies, is leased and posted. Most is open to public hunting. A lot of land up here is owned by hunters. I think annual taxes on a forty probably average around $150 per year. While this may be offset by periodic timber sales, it would preclude you and I from buying since the only return would be monetary. I think the net effect to local governments would be devastating because land zoned for Rural Recreation would be almost worthless.

Tommy S.


I have tried to understand your position on the, if you post your land you can't hunt it yourself thing. I understand that you say wildlife is public property and you can't keep it. Which is one reason I hate high fence.

I would offer this.
The way I see it. Whether or not my and your land is un-fenced and is posted. I say the deer are mine on my un-fenced land, and as soon as they leave my un-fenced land they belong to whomever's un-fenced land they tread upon next; regardless of posting.
Why is this not acceptable to you sir?


Here is the summary of the bill from the state legislature website:

Prohibits a person from offering another person the opportunity to
hunt, wound, or take any mammal that is intentionally confined, tied,
staked, caged, or otherwise restrained from engaging in normal
movement. Allows exceptions for slaughtering a mammal for purposes
of meat, leather, or fur production or humanely euthanizing a mammal for
health, safety, or scientific purposes.

I agree in principle to what it says. I hate high fence shooting (hunting tame animals that have no chance to escape is not hunting). If you want to shoot your meat instead of sending it to the slaughter house to have its throat slashed, that is your choice. But calling it hunting and selling it as hunting is only adding fuel to the anti’s fire. I guarantee when they make a move to ban hunting, and I have no doubt they will someday, they will most likely use footage of someone “hunting” a tame animal in an enclosure and try to brand the actions of these shooters as hunting. And personally I can’t see how any ethical hunter could stand to go on one of these shoots.

In 2003 another Colorado legislator introduced a bill aimed solely at game farm shooting. It was a better written bill and was drafted by hunters. I was the Executive Director of the state’s largest and oldest sportsmen’s organization at the time and I helped to write the bill. It died in committee. I can’t speak to this bill however and I don’t know if it was written by sportsmen. I doubt it though, since the 2003 author is now a senior member of the Senate and she has yet to sponsor this bill. So my guess is that it will die, and as written I would encourage it to be heavily edited and approved by sportsmen and sportsmen organizations or I would want it to die in committee.

A little history for those not living in the west. Montana banned game farms years ago because of their propensity to help spread disease. As an example, in some cases the early spread of CWD outside of my home state of Colorado can be traced back to some game farm animals being transported to other states. The ethics of this shooting also played a role in getting this ban passed. Boone and Crocket and Pope and Young will not score high fence animals because they are not free ranging animals and there is no fair chase. Only SCI will score these animals, so when you see a score from SCI and not paired with B&C or P&Y, you know it was most likely a high fence animal.

I think you will continue to see Colorado attempting to mimic the Montana law until it passes. And the ONLY way it will pass is with ethical sportsmen being the driving force.

Sorry for the long post, and I know I will get responses from many of you :)

Mike Diehl

"Why is this not acceptable to you sir?"

It's not acceptable to mefor two reasons:

1. Under the law, regardless of what you say about those deer, they do not belong to you, even if they're on your land. At least, not in the state in which I live, nor in any of the other six states in which I have lived. That is why you have to pay for a license (at least in the states in which I have lived) when you want to shoot deer on your own land, and that is why you can only shoot them within the proscribed seasons using the stated methods of take under the laws of your state.

2. Carried to its extreme, the practice of posting private land to restrict access to publically owned animals would exclude non-landed people from hunting in most of the places to which they can easily get. Rather than making this a nation where only the rich and propertied can hunt the King's Deer, I would prefer it if the tradition of hunting wild game owned in common be preserved. If it came to the point where people who want to hunt cannot because they can't afford land or fees, who could blame them for either (a) taking your land by eminent domain and turning it into publically owned hunting ground, or (b) shrugging their shoulders and voting "I don't care" when some "animal rights" activist wants to eliminate hunting entirely?


Mike Diehl:
I believe that the underlying philosophy behind our current game laws is that game is public ownership. As such, the state has the right to restrict seasons, bag limits, etc. No where are there any private property restrictions in the fish and game laws.

We did acquire many laws, not in the Constitution, about public access to fish and game. Maybe those rights were so obvious to the Founding Fathers that they didn't think to address them.
In any event, I believe that the National Forests were acquired for this use. Also BLM land and Stateand County Forests.

Also, in Michigan, we have a Commercial Forest Law, which allows landowners to get a tax break for 1)Managing their forests; and 2) Opening these lands for public hunting and fishing. Wisconsin has a similar law, as I believe Minnesota. These laws have allowed a lot of people to hunt and fish that could never own their own place.

I believe that there is a problem in the West with access to the BLM and USFS Lands. Ranches control the access and therefore the game. That's an issue that should be addressed by someone in power.


NRA quote: As written, it could preclude a farmer or rancher who fences his or her property from allowing anyone, including family or friends to hunt, regardless of the size of the property.

The bill doesn't say anything about farm fencing. It says and I quote:(a) INTENTIONALLY CONFINED IN AN ENCLOSURE.

With normal fencing an animal can come and go as they please. I don't like high fence "hunting" operations. It's a way of making sure that there is game on the property for "clients" to kill. I don't care how big it is, if you know the animals can't escape how fair is it?


Mike Diehl

I stand by my claim and pov. When public access to public animals is restricted, people who restrict said access should compensate the public.

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