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July 30, 2008

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Discussion Topic: NRA Vs. Hunters For Fair Chase

The debate over high-fence hunting in the Peace Garden State is heating up, as a group called North Dakota Hunters For Fair Chase petitions for a ballot measure to end the practice—and the NRA blasts them for it. Here’s the latest:

From the North Dakota Hunters For Fair Chase website:

North Dakota Hunters for Fair Chase is a grassroots Initiative Committee organized by a group of men and women dedicated to preserving Fair Chase as an intricate part of our state and national hunting heritage, a heritage that we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren. Our objective is to place a measure on the November, 2008 ballot that enacts a law that prohibits shooting captive deer, elk and exotic mammals behind escape proof fences, a practice that is both mercenary and unethical.

And from a recent NRA press release:

North Dakota sportsmen should be aware that a group cleverly calling itself North Dakota Hunters for Fair Chase is circulating petitions for signatures to place an anti-hunting initiative on the 2008 General Election ballot. . . .

This initiative effort is supported by the Humane Society of the United States. . . .

The proposed initiative would ban private big game hunting preserves in North Dakota, a long-standing tradition in the state. . . . Hunting ethics should be decided by each individual hunter, not by politically-motivated laws supported by radical animal “rights” interest groups.

Be sure to check out the NDHFC site and the full NRA press release. Then tell us what you think.



I'm not necessarily opposed to high-fence operations, but don't call it "hunting." So I sort of agree with the NRA that banning it would be a violation of property rights. That said, I find the NRA's tactics despicable. The ballot measure is clearly a misguided initiative from well-meaning sportsmen, yet read the entire NRA press release: Notice how they take a bunch of HSUS quotes, pull them out of context, put them in bold type, and slap them on the Fair Chase groups' collective forehead. That isn't fair. It isn't real information. It's just more underhanded propaganda from the NRA.
I appreciate what they do to protect hunter's guns--but I wish they weren't so sleezy about it.


I have been following this for a while, and while I don't totally agree with the NRA's propagandistic position, I also totally disagree with the position of the NDHFC.

First of all, high fence hunting isn't for everyone, but to challenge it on the grounds that it's not "fair chase" is totally opening the door for more challenges to our sport.

What the hell IS fair about modern sport hunting? Sure, the critters tend to come out ahead on any given day, but when the crosshairs are aligned at 300 yards, or the fiber-optic sight pin lines up to send a carbon shaft at 290fps... there's nothing fair about that.

But then, there's nothing fair about a lion being equipped with claws and fangs. And that's the point...

Predation isn't supposed to be "fair". That's a human construct which means nothing in nature. It's drawing arbitrary lines based on silly conceits, and if we allow this line of reasoning to prevail we'll all soon be reduced to hunting with our bare hands and teeth.

If a legal practice does not harm the resource, endanger the public, or damage the environment, then folks need to accept that even if they don't like it, someone else obviously does (or there wouldnt be a clientele).

I enjoy the challenge of an open-land hunt. I don't think I'd spend a lot of time hunting inside a small, fenced enclosure. But for some people, thats the way they want to hunt, and the satisfaction they get is no less real because of the judgement some other people would heap on them.

High fence hunting is not a threat to the sport. Antis don't care if we're hunting in a fence our outside of it. And the general, non-hunting public doesn't know the difference and really doesn't care either way.

Bigger threats to our sport are the loss of habitat, the decline in participants, and the growing rift between hunters based on ridiculous arguments over personal ethics like this one.


This further affirms by belief that letting my NRA membership expire and removing their stickers from my vehicle was the right thing to do. First, they opposed the roadless rule which protects wildlife habitat from ATV abuse. Then they opposed the removal on non native species from the Channel Islands,no this. Fenced hunting is not acceptabel, nor is importing non native species for sporting purposes. Hunt on wild and free lands for native species or don't hunt.Fences contribute to the loss of habitat and break up wildlife corridors.

Mike Diehl

Although I am put off by some of NRA's rhetoric, this incident reaffirms my decision to join the NRA a couple years back. All I need to do is see HSUS or PETA attached to an initiative that curtails anyone's right to hunt anything and I know it will be unreasoning slavering baloney.


Peta would rather we just neuter all animals, or make pets of them.
They are totally anti-meat of any kind, wild or domestic, so their arguments about what is "ethical hunting" is ridiculous.
Sorry, I don't care for salad.
HSUS is a lobbying organization, led by a nut. Just read his quotes.
I call them jackbooted sissies. They want to use lawyers to tell everyone else how to be, in the meantime trying to get in your pockets.
They're welcome to their opinions, we're welcome to ours.
High fence operations are large parcels of land, not pens where an animal can't even turn around or even get out of their own filth (go to your local "Humane Society" and take a look).
Mike Diehl, absolutely right.
Phillip, well put.

alberta hunter

I used to be against fenced hunting but the way the sport is going with access etc. and time restraints and cost of travel am seeing it in a different light. if someone wants to pay the $$ to lower the odds or have some exclusive territory for a few days to hunt without some idiots quad hunting etc. they should have the choice. many good hunting spots have natural fences and you still have to live with the method you choose to hunt and what some approve of other don't but we need to stik together or soon we'll only be virtual hunting on big screens.


I don,t hunt behind high fences never have never will.However who am i. What buisnees is it of mine where other people hunt or how they do it? What is next trout fishing is to easy because of stocking? THe anti,s stick together. They will get our sport band one at a time. bow hunting gun hunting trapping fishing dove hunting duck hunting. It.s time we shut up and fight back together untited!! Or they will devide and conquer


I'm don't feel particulary emotional about this issue. I don't personally want to high fence hunt- so I don't do it. As for the wording of the NRA's response- I find it reprehensible. To throw a clearly propoganda motivated cut at other hunters [and probably NRA members] is setting a message that they don't have a problem singling out fellow hunters and throwing them to the wolves if they don't believe what the NRA does. I'd love to see the NRA fight for hunters rights such as access to hunting lands OTHER THAN high fence operations. My belief is they stick up for the high fence operations because that's where the money comes from. I for one think that the NRA doesn't have the moral highground when they are standing in the mud by using propoganda- particularly against other hunters.


I've hunted a high fence once ranch and was a bit apprehensive about what to expect. What I got was 5000 acres (nearly 8 square miles)and an assurance that deer were there, "go get 'em". After watching numerous deer jump the "escape proof" fence I hunted with a clear conscience.

When I asked the rancher about the high fence, he told me it was a pure business decision. The deer ate the feed he gives his cattle, he provides the water and the work. He didn't want his work (and money) to go to the next property.

This whole argument is similiar to the old cattle days and free range vs fenced ranch. I wouldn't feel right hunting in a small enclosure but it should be the individual hunters decision what small is.

With hunting leases the norm, decreasing habit rampant, I feel that pay to play is the going to be the future, like it or not.

SD Bob

High fenced hunting is not for me but I support 100% those who partake in it on both sides (operators and shooters). I've stated on other blogs that if you don't like a particular style, then don't hunt that way. Rest assured someone won't agree with your method either and the last thing we need is dissention amongst each other.

I agree with the others that many of the NRA's method's are questionable but so is the opposition. There is no such thing as a noble fight anymore and if they don't do what they do, then we'll be fighting to get things back we do right now.

Native American Bowhunter

High Fenced hunting is not hunting! Hunting should always be Fair Chase. The Fat Rich people can't get off their asses and do some hard work to earn their hunt. They turned hunting into an exhibition so anyone with deep pockets can "give it a try". Try harvesting an animal, skinning, butchering and eating it every fall. That's what hunting is all about, subsistence.


NativeAmericanBowhunter said, "That's what hunting is all about, subsistence."

Just for reference, that's exactly what the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) says. In fact, that's the only kind of hunting they claim to support.

The problem with that is, subsistence hunting is almost gone in this country, and with very few exceptions it's illegal as well. It also eliminates every hunter I know, and most of those I don't know from the sport... because none of us hunts for subsistence.

So Native, either you didn't think about what you're saying, or you know exactly what you meant and you're lying in bed with the antis.


To Native American Bowhunter,

Your view is a little bit simplistic and quite frankly, out of touch with reality.

By and large, every hunter I've ever known did in fact harvest, skin, butcher and eat thier own every year.

The question really is access to land. You have two, maybe three choices. One is rapidly dewindling public land that looks like wally world with a blue light special on opening day. Find a landowner that will allow you to hunt for free (fairly rare):three-pay for a lease or high fence. There's really no difference between a lease and high fence.

There are very few of us in this SPORT that have the time and money to continously scout/backpack into new areas each time we get shut out of land. Thats where high fence and leases come in. It's not a guarntee, it just helps improve the odds.

You strike me as the kind of person that believes its your way or the highway. I wouldn't want to hunt with you anyway

Walt Smith

High fence hunting is nothing more than business. It's not hunting and Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young will be more than happy to tell you so. It's not against the law but it is against every good HONEST hunter's creed. The NRA probably receives lots and lots of money and free trips for their high ranking officers to such places. Even Ted Nuget, a highly publicised NRA member ownes a couple high fence operations. I'll never kill a animal on one even if it was free. I'm just not into killing a animal in any sized fenced off area. I think they should all be OUTLAWED, PERIOD!!! It's just not what hunting is all about.

Ed J

I wish you guys would read that petition. Not only is it against high fence hunting it won't be legal to shoot a pig in my corral to make deer sausage.
I don't hunt high fence areas. Nor do I call that hunting but I have nothing against it.

Fred Westcott

We as hunters and shooters must not fall for the trap being laid to divide and conquor us. Never have all hunters and shooters agreed on any specific matter, just look at the compound bow vs recurve bow, side hammer muzzleloader vs in line, and in my world dog deer hunting vs still hunting, this is just another attempt by those who would like to see no one hunt to take away one of our options.


Way to go Walt,

That's all we need is more laws. Passing a law always solves the problem and lets you sleep good at night.

Football is a business, but millions enjoy it (not me). Maybe we should outlaw that because " It's not against the law but it is against every good HONEST Players creed". Hunting is a sport. Period. I don't like golf, maybe we should just outlaw it.

There wouldn't be a need for high fence hunting if there were sufficent access. There in, is the problem. Make access readily available and high fence and leases go away.

As for PY and BC, since when is that the standard for a hunter to aspire too. It's about the hunt, not the score. If your interested in score, play a hunting game.

It's up to each hunter to decide whats ethical in regards to his sport. Jumping on the bandwagon with a group with questionable motives just ensures that NO-ONE will be able to hunt ANYTHING, regardless of the method. If you think your style/method/area of hunting is not under attack, your delusional.


I'm in there with Pillip! I do agree with the NRA in that we don't need more laws to explain to us what is ethical and what is not. It (hunting ethics)is a personal value and commitment that every person that hunts must make. I agree with Mike Diehl in that if I see HSUS or PETA's name on anything it is immediately suspect.


While I am not against "high fence" hunting, I would find it unethical if the animal was not in a position to have a full 360 degrees of escape.

From some of the negative comments about the NRA I find them sad. Sad because a MINORITY of the firearm owners and hunters in America belong to the NRA. The rest are on a free ride. I have heard every excuse in the world why someone does not join the NRA. They range from not liking their "politics" (whatever that is) to if you are an NRA member the government is watching you! I say they are all too cheap to spend ten bucks a year for a Liberty membership and want someone else pay to protect their privileges. These are the same ones who probably do not vote their sport, and have never written a letter to their politicians or newspaper.

In conclusion, there are two well known statements that are fitting for this disagreement:
"We have met the enemy and it is us.", because some hunters take up and protect their type of hunt and the hell with others. Also, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." because all the anti-gun/hunting groups hate us and the NRA. That's right; even if you do not belong to the NRA they hate you! It’s a no-brainer, WE are in this fight together and WE had better get together.

Remember, the anti's have nothing to lose and they are enjoying making us worry and fight.

Matt M


I left the NRA because they did not stick to protecting the 2nd amendment which is what I paid them to do. They got involved with the roadless rule issue and were on the wrong side of that. They opposed wolf reintroduction, and opposed removal of non native species from the Channel Islands. So quit preaching about me getting a free ride. I gave up on them because they got off the issues. As for all this talk from everyone else about divide and conquer, I'm sick of it. I have a right and an obligation to object to hunting practices I find morally reprehensible.


To all the Anti-NRA people:
Sorry to have offended you, but sometimes the truth hurts. If the NRA is that bad, please tell me what organization is better than the NRA? Until then, I am going to be preaching the truth. Anyways if your for wolf reintroduction. please do not respond. I already know what side of the fence your on!


I hate high fences, they make me sick but not because of humain or fair chase reasons. They fragment the hell out of habitat, especially in Texas. Habitat fragmentation is one of the biggest causes of extinction and population decline in the world. This, however, is an issue that needs to be adressed by educating the public and private land managers rather than passing more legislation.


Elvis- you make it sound like the NRA wrote the 2nd amendment. I do pay my dues to the NRA- but it doesn't mean they are doing the job I pay them to do. I feel like the NRA is our own worst enemy sometimes as they foster an attitude of "My way or the Highway". The problem is there is no singular "Way" of all the members in the NRA so it's ridiculous to have this attitude and counter productive.


I do not necessarily agree with the NRA 100%, but I still believe they are doing the best job available to protect our eroding rights (both firearm ownership and hunting). AND until I find a better group I support them 100%. Nothings perfect is it? If so, please advise me.
Additionally, this conquer and divide movement I believe was born within our ranks. It’s based on greed. Certain firearm owners are willing to throw in other types of firearm owners to save their neck. Remember the "Saturday Night Special" fiasco? Some hunters want more time for their season and implements. Bow hunters against crossbows, flint lock muzzleloaders against in-line, and the list goes on. It makes me sick! We are, or should I dare say ONE FAMILY. Like all families nothing is perfect, but family members protect each other. The anti's love all this infighting.

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