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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?



I understand Mike's point of view and I also see that he simply is asking that a person who posts their land has to pay back to the public for harvesting the public property- wild game. I don't see it as being too unreasonable that a person should have to get tags on their own property like the majority of us non-privileged hunters have to do. There would be a difference though between hunting and shooting nuisance animals that are destroying crops and livelihood. Mike has a point but the loophole is if there is no fence then the game can move where they like and are still public property and not being hoarded privately.


I think that common sense is the best medicine for this problem. Private property is important and I am not saying we should be taking Average Joe's property rights away. What I am saying is that high fence game farms and hunting ranches should be outlawed. People exploiting wildlife is wrong. High fence operations have directly influenced and increased the spread of diseases like CWD and louse brought in by exotic species. These things affect ALL hunters in a negative way.

As for Average Joe's private property rights... Average Joe can do whatever he wants with his land, as long as hes is not restricting the natural movement of wild game (public property). If Joe wants to allow no hunting, GREAT. If Joe wants to only allow his buddies to hunt, GREAT. If Joe wants government support in the form of money or extra tags to help ease his burden of wild animals damaging his property, then Joe needs to allow a reasonable number of Hunters to hunt his property.

Montana's Block Management Program is a perfect example of land owners allowing a reasonable number of hunters to hunt the animals on their land.

Hunters get to hunt good land, farmers get to keep their land and get paid, the land doesn't get sold to devolopers. Everybody is happy. Its a win win.

Mike Diehl

Hey Greg, I know you're trying to be amicable. And all I'm trying to point out is that there are public property and private property rights. Because animals move around, this establishes a potential clash between legitimate public ownership issues and private ownership issues.

This wouldn't be an emerging problem if the late boomers and gen-xers had respect for generations of American tradtition. Most people didn't post their land in the past just to hoard the animals for themselves.

Ultimately anyone can see that an amicable resolution of the conflicting rights here will have to be found. Our population is going up, the amount of public land available is going down, and access to public land is being blocked by private landowners in some places.

And eminent domain doesn't often block public access. As with roads and other public facilities it often makes land accessible. Were it up to me, if no reasonable accommodation could be reached, I'd use the power of the state to displace someone who'd blocked access to public land in a New York Minute.

Mike Diehl

"What I am saying is that high fence game farms and hunting ranches should be outlawed."

I don't see how that is in the least bit consistent with the "Joe Average can do anything he wants with private property." Either the public has a right to access their game or they don't. If they don't, no one has a legitimate basis for criticising high fence or hunting ranch operators. IMO anyhow.

Ya know in the long run, if narcissism wins out here, I suppose I'll simply adapt to the New Order and find a way to make it work. Maybe we'll have a Privileged Class of Hunters after all.


I almost totally agree with your post at 10:58, Mike. Ilike you Mike its healthy to have someone you can respectfully diagree with. I have to apologise because I fly off the handle occasionally. Please dont take it personally.

Mike Diehl

No worries Greg. The best arguments are ones where people get a little passionate and can bring real facts to the table. I think that most of us most of the time have alot of views in common, but it takes some sorting out to get to it.


Game farms with 10' fences that restrict the movement of animals is a totally different thing than some dude farming wheat. I guess I dont see why thats so hard to understand Mike. Surely a man with your intellectual prowess can figure it out.

Mike Diehl

It's really quite simple, Sam. If, as the property rights, errrm, "strict constructionists" say, a small property owner can "do anything he likes" on his own land, it follows that a large property owner has exactly those same rights.

I do not see any logical distinction between the rights of the property owner to post his land against hunting, and then sell a lease to hunt that land, and the rights of a property owner to fence off his land, raise deer (or anything else) on it, and charge a fee to hunt those deer.

Either there is a public property issue here or there isn't. If there is, it applies to publically owned deer on posted but non-fenced land, and it applies to any publically owned deer that might be fenced in on high-fence land or that might be adversely affected by farmed deer on high-fence land.

If there isn't, then in my book high fence is just as legitimate as any other private landowner choice.

If I had to pick between siding with Greg's pov (which seems to be the private property rights strict constructionist reading) and a double standard, I'd stand with Greg.

yo mamma

how stupid do these people get whats coming next no more hunting at all
if that happened the world be over for me


Hey Mikey Diehl

Every time the public/private property/wildlife subject arises, you interdict this "hogwash" about denying the public access to publicly owned animals. It is interesting to see that someone who proclaims such a broad point of view to have such a narrow minded sight picture!
Yes, the "deer" are "public"!
No, you can't hunt 'em on my place, I hunt 'em there. Go find your own place to hunt 'em!
I don't shoot across fences because I respect the fact that the deer is not on "my" property! If I want to shoot across a fence, I address the landowner. If he says "No." Sobeit!



I guess your right Mike Diehl. Its wrong of me to expect lawmakers and hunters to use their brains, discretion, and judgement when distinguishing between landowners who are out to exploit wildlife and landowners who are not.

Its wrong of me to be concerned about the spread of CWD and other problems associated with High Fence Hunting.

Your right. We SHOULD continue to allow the exploitation of our wildlife and the degradation of our Hunting Culture and Heritage because we are unwilling to make the distinction between right and wrong, ethical and unethical, and high fence hunting for profit and some guy harvesting wheat.

50 years from now, when hunting has become another commodity to be bought and sold I will have people like you to thank for it.

Thank You Mike Diehl



Broad spectrum: Ownership of wild game, so that it can be regulated (bag,season,sex) by the governing body, is claimed by that governing body. Ergo: your state government (sets bag limit, season, sex of harvested animal) "owns" all game.
Narrow minded: If it's public property, regardless of where it goes, I should be able to hunt it!

Mike is claiming that deer are public property, which they are. But then he assumes/presumes that because that public asset enters private property, that he should still be able to pursue it, regardless of property lines! The fact that the "animals" belong to the state (governing body) is a "broad" statement. To say that he should still have access on private property, is a narrow minded view. Yep, narrow-minded Mike. YOUR narrow-minded view!


Mike Diehl

It's about property rights, not emotions. The property rights are private property rights and public property rights. If anyone can figure out a good way to accommodate both, I'm willing to hear the argument, if it's based on facts and reason, rather than emotion.


Do you think private landowners rights should be impinged upon to prevent high fence?


"50 years from now, when hunting has become another commodity to be bought and sold I will have people like you to thank for it."

Hunting is already commodified. That has been my point throughout this discussion. High fence is one kind of commodification. Hunting leases on posted land are another kind of commodification. I do not view as one being ethically more reasonable than the other. The only way I can see to frame the discussion is around the issue of public vs private property rights.

Fortunately, some people following this discussion have managed to avoid hyperventilating long enough to weight both sides of the issue.

Mike Diehl

Bubba, just because you do not like a point of view, it does not follow that the point of view that you dislike is "narrow minded." Accusations are cheap talk and nothing more.

"But then he assumes/presumes that because that public asset enters private property, that he should still be able to pursue it, regardless of property lines!"

If you'd followed the discussion, you'd see that I never presumed that, never assumed that, never stated that, and never implied that. If such a claim represents a "narrow minded" view, then you have only your own mind to fault for generating the thought.

Mike Diehl

"No, you can't hunt 'em on my place, I hunt 'em there. Go find your own place to hunt 'em!"

That should be added to the Me First Generation's (late boomers and Gen Xers) credo:

Mihi Primoris! Uno Novo Ordo Seclorum

1. Greed is good!
2. I got mine, ta heck with the rest of ya!


who would actually spend the money to put up a fence for 15000 acres if u have that kind of money u can afford to go to a place that allows u to shoot something of great size and why would u waste that much resource


Deer Lease:
Land access provided for a fee to pursue free ranging "game"!

High Fence:
Land access provided for the pursuit of propagated, genetically selected, (giant racks) private property for and exorbitant fee!

Mike, I understand. If I prevent a hunter from accessing free ranging deer, on my property, I am denying him access to a public asset.
If I purchase a license, then I have as much right to ANY free range animal as anyone else. Correct? Why should I be penalized for "posting" my property by not being allowed to shoot an animal I'm licensed to harvest!?
Narrow minded is telling me that I "should not be allowed" to harvest a deer just because I posted my land!

I am very glad, Mike, that you feel as strongly about your POV. Basically, I really don't care! When that deer crosses onto my posted property, it's my deer. So just deal with it!

P.S. I feel just as strongly about my POV, so I suppose that makes the both of us narrowminded!!


I think we have 3-4 different arguments going on here.

Some Beliefs of Mine:

A) Wild game are not privately owned. As a landowner I cannot charge people thousands of dollars to come onto my land and harvest wild animals (public property). They are not my animals to sell.

B) As a landowner I cannot prevent wildlife from moving off of my property. I cannot build a ten foot fence and keep them for myself. I cannot restrict the movement of wild game (public property).

C)The Public does not have the right to come onto my property and shoot wild animals without my permission.

D)If, as a landowner, I want government support (money, extra tags, etc...) to help me with animals damaging my property I should have to allow public hunter access to my property. This could be done through a draw system or something of that nature. I dont have to let every Joe Schmo onto my land. I do however, have to make a concerted effort to allow a reasonable number of hunters onto my property.

Maybe this will clear up some things.

Mike Diehl

Sam, A-D seem pretty much to accord with my p.o.v.

Still not sure where that leaves "high fence." If they're buying and raising their own animals, rather than corraling and restraining public animals, it seems to me to be more equivalent to a ranch or dairy or something. Seems to me that there are other regulatory mechanisms for that sort of thing that ought to adequately address CWD and so forth. Same sort of regs for ex that apply to the cattle and other stock industries.



A. Landowners are NOT selling the animal, they are selling ACCESS to the animal's selected habitat!

B. As a landowner, you can build ANY type fence you want/can afford. Should game be trapped behind that fence, contact your local Game & Fish folks. They will be able to guide you as to what you need to do.


D. Whether you want Gov't assistance with a game population problem should NOT pivot on whether you are willing to allow a specific number of hunters on your land or not! PERIOD!

Texas has two programs that the TPW offers to assist with game management on private property. I don't think either specifies that X number of hunters must be allowed!
Mike Diehl is hammering on one, and only one point.
Deer are public property, and he is absolutely correct! No doubt!

The other point Mike is hammering on is a personal view point, ONLY!
The fact that I should not be allowed to deny you access to a public asset, Mike feels is basically, well....."theft of public property!" AND, he may be correct! But he's yet to prove it to me!


Mike Diehl

"When that deer crosses onto my posted property, it's my deer."

In the state in which I reside, and the other states in which I have in the past resided, your claim is not correct.


See, narrow minded!

Still want to chase my deer onto my posted property.

If I have a license, then basically, I've "bought" the right to harvest "any" legal deer! Correct? Which deer is "mine", Mike? Can't I harvest one that happens to be on my "restricted access" property!


Mike Diehl

Nothing narrow minded about it, Bubba. Where I live, your claim is not correct.

Where I live, a deer becomes private property when it's tagged with a legal tag, using legal methods of tak. Only then, not before, and only that one deer, no other. Simple as that.

There's probably different rules if people own deer that they've purchased or bred as livestock. But then we're talking about livestock, not public property.


Well, Mike, we both agree that deer are public property. Correct?

The fact that I should not be able to restrict YOUR access to a public asset, is YOUR point of view. Not law! Correct?


Mike Diehl

"Can't I harvest one that happens to be on my "restricted access" property!"

Under the current laws, I am certain that, where I live, you can. Were it to become the case that non-landowners were unable to find any place to hunt owing to lack of access or excessive lease fees, I would vote for any state legislator that would deprive you of the privilege of hunting the public's deer on your posted land, or who would find some other reasonable way to incentivize public access.

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