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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?


Tommy S.


The main problem with that is if I do not have a fence, how am I keeping you from public deer? The deer are deciding for themselves when and if they tread on my or your property - not the other way around.

So your contention is basically this...
If I do not post my land...anyone can walk onto it and shoot the animals.
And if I do post it..I cannot hunt it because I am somehow keeping the deer from you.

That is impossible. I cannot make the deer stay on my property without a high fence. Therefore I am not keeping the deer from you. They are deciding their fate. Not you or I.

Tommy S.

"people who restrict said access should compensate the public."

How in the world is a person restricting access to deer that have the choice of where they roam Mike?

You are wrong.

Tommy S.

Bingo Jstreet.

Tommy S.

Hey Mike,

If I post my land can I go into my house?

Tommy S.

And you call the rest of us wackos and nuts. What you are implying would do far more to end hunting than anything peta could ever do.

How about this...
I do not even walk on my neighbors land without permission, much less hunt it. That would be about as disrespectful as one could get in my book.

Tommy S.

Even if you bait the deer, you cannot make them stay on your land without a high fence.

This is ludicrous!
You say you would not ban someone high fencing their land to sell hunts to the wealthy, and at the same time you say one cannot post their own land and hunt on it because they are keeping the deer from you.


Tommy S.

And you obviously have no acreage.

If you did you would not want strangers treading on it shooting at 7:00 in the morning while you possibly slept.
And if you did not want to be woken up by gun shots on your land - you would post it - and I say you are a liar if you say you would not then hunt it.

Tommy S.

For the record - I have 5 acres - it is neither fenced or posted.

I wait patiently for the public's deer to walk on to my land and then I shoot them.
When I had no land I went to gameland. That is where those that live in the city go to hunt, if they do not want to pay to do so.

Tommy S.

By your logic one should have to give up some of the meat to the public if they shoot one on their own land.

But I guess after it is dead it is mine?

Mike Diehl

"If I do not post my land...anyone can walk onto it and shoot the animals."


"And if I do post it..I cannot hunt it because I am somehow keeping the deer from you."

Nope. You're keeping the public away from the deer. For which taking of public property, IMO, you should compensate the public.

That's my opinion and I stand by it. An it comes to choosing politicians who will stand by my opinion, I'll vote for 'em. Natcherly, I expect you to vote for politicans who will do something else. Fair enough.

Mike Diehl

"By your logic one should have to give up some of the meat to the public if they shoot one on their own land."

Not if your land is not posted. In that event, the public who own the deer have an equal chance (in broad terms) of accessing it as you. On the other hand, if you post your land, and want to hunt it, IMO you should have to pay a fee for denying others access to the deer. That's my POV anyhow.

WA Mtnhunter

Someone hit a nerve here! If an originally free ranging herd is enclosed, are they still public property or have they become private property?

High fence hunting is not my cup of tea, but I support the rights of property owners to carry out free enterprise on their property, but not by exploiting a public resource. Tough question here.

Mike Diehl

"And you obviously have no acreage."

Correct. I do, however, intend to. I expect to purchase on the order of 30 acres, some time in the next decade. That's the plan anyhow.

"If you did you would not want strangers treading on it shooting at 7:00 in the morning while you possibly slept."

Was I terribly concerned about it, I'd post the land. In that event I'd expect to not be allowed to hunt on that land.

Chad Love

Ahh, so this is where everyone is today.

So Mike, if I get you right you're saying that since wildlife is a public resource, you have a problem with landowners posting their own land, which in your view is essentially either "stealing" that public resource or denying that resource to the public which owns it.

Is that what you're saying? At first I thought you were talking about right-of-way access across private property to public land, which is a huge issue in the west but you're talking about wildlife, too?

Mike Diehl

"Someone hit a nerve here! If an originally free ranging herd is enclosed, are they still public property or have they become private property?"

In my view that is an illegal taking of public property. Others seem, perhaps, to disagree.

Mike Diehl

"Is that what you're saying?"

Yes. But I also recognize that landowners have issues about yahoos crossing their property. For the sake of keeping the argument simple, I mentioned one thing earlier but have not talked about it since others seem to have ignored it.

My belief is this. Is someone wants to post their land, that is legal and acceptable, provided that they do not hunt on it, nor sell access to game on their land.

Otherwise it is hardly different from owning a chunk of checkerboarded land, gating off all the public land therein, and declaring all the public animals therein to be the special privilege of the access-owner to use.

Tommy S.

No hunter would post his own land knowing he could not hunt it if he did Mike. You know it - I know it. Be honest sir.

I think the broader point you are trying to make is a good one.

Eventually, all the land could be bought up, and there could be people left that have no land, and therefore could only hunt on public land.
I guess that could happen, and those that would be left would be out of luck...But Mike...lets look past hunting here for a moment...what about where they would live? Would you advocate current landowners compensating those left with no land in some way? Would you say we would have to give up some land to house the rest.

Sounds like you are advocating socialism. The right thing to do would be to allow for those with no where to live access to land to at least live on - but would that be a democratic capitalistic option? Or would it be forced intervention by a dictatorship?

Tommy S.


I would like you to clarify one thing please sir...

How can you say high fencing is OK, which is obviously keeping the deer from the public, but posting is not, which does not keep the deer on your land?

These seems to be absolutely contradictory.

Chad Love

Boy, Mike. When it comes to hunting access I'm about as populist as you are likely to find. I'd almost call myself a hunting and fishing Socialist if it wouldn't get me put on some kind of watchlist but I don't know if I'm with you on this one.

Now if that landowner erected a high fence that prevented the free and natural flow of the public's wildlife, then yes, that is in essence stealing a public resource by means of trapping it on private land.

But I think it's a stretch to say a landowner who hunts and has land with fences that don't impede wildlife can't post that land to other hunters unless he pays a fee to the government. (phew, run-on sentence there...)

Tommy S.

I would suggest you buy 30 acres that directly borders gameland. Then you can post your land, walk through it, and hunt the public land while keeping your land trespasser free without becoming a hypocrite.


Why would anyone own land if they couldn't use it? That concept would destroy private ownership by anyone except timber companies! Would you prefer all private land be controlled by people whose primary interest is in something other than wildlife management? We're a long way from that but the concept is scary.

Tommy S.


I think that is the sticking point Mike will not concede.
They will have to wait for the deer to come on to their land.

Mike Diehl

"No hunter would post his own land knowing he could not hunt it if he did Mike. You know it - I know it. Be honest sir."

Was I to post my own land, I would not hunt it. I know it. You don't know me.


I do not know what the underlying puropose of this bill is, but on another blog that I belong to there is a game biologist with whom I have discussed fencing.

I think he lives in Montana, and he told me that high fences are extremely disruptive to western game animals for a number of reasons.

1) The animals cofined in the enclosures are stressed and susceptible to disease, which can also spread to animals outside the enclosures.

2) High fences and fences in general disrupt traditional migration patterns and force the animals to expend more energy finding food. In addition, the animals are more apt to use roadways as migration routes. And we all know what that leads to.

3) Since these fences are hard to maintain, they tend to make animals more susceptible to predators who penetrate the boundary.

I don't understand why people want to hunt in these places. Some of the guys that come to our camp want me to fence my land. I asked them how they would like be in a cage with fifteen feet high walls.

I suppose it is the result of this crap on TV. I think VS and the Outdoor Channel are ultimately going to destroy hunting. Can you imagine what someone who has not hunted thinks when they watch this sadistic garbage? These shows are nothing more than thirty minute infomercials interlaced with kill shots.

Mike Diehl

"Sounds like you are advocating socialism."

Nope. The law is quite clear about game animals being public property, even when they of their own free will wander onto private land. Probably the genesis of this comes from certain areas of English common law, but you'd have to talk to a legal historian to get the real deal on that.

The rest of your argument was a straw man argument. The law is quite clear that if you buy property you own the right to put structures on it. The law is also quite clear in other circumstances that if you own property in private, there are circumstances in which the public is allowed on it, such as public rights of way up to the strand line on private oceanic beaches, navigable waterways, &c. The law is also clear that there are restrictions on things you can do on private land, such as building a missile test range, or nuclear power plant. And in many states there are separate water and mineral rights, such that ownership of the mineral rights pretty much gives that owner the right to mine the crap out of your private land, whether you will it or not.

So the whole theory on which you seem to have hung your hat -- "I can do anything on private land that I own" is trivially falsifiable under extant law.

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