Got this email from long-time reader Mitch and it got me to thinking about the always controversial high-fence hunting debate:

Mike: Last year for the first time I hunted a high fence ranch in Texas. I did not pay even half of the $10,000 or $20,000 that I keep reading about. I did not see any 170-class bucks. I did not see a 150 buck. The deer I saw were very alert and skittish. I had the time of my life. Not just seeing a lot of deer, but as most hunters can relate too, I just had a good time doing all the things associated with a hunt. I killed a buck I was happy with, but it would not even score in the 120s.

I don’t think I accomplished something great by killing a deer in a high fenced area, but it did not in any way take away from my desire to continue hunting in ‘fair chase’ areas as many people like to call it. It was a fun trip, fair and simple.

I understand there are some small and ridiculous high fenced areas in this country. However, I do not need someone preaching to me about hunting in a high fenced area when I watch guys on TV and YouTube promote ‘fair chase’ but then spend thousands of dollars planting high dollar food plots and using feed supplements and nighttime trail cameras to find deer and then go shoot them days later. I see nothing wrong with that, but I do not see anything wrong with the experience I had hunting in a high fenced area either.

It is easy to promote ‘fair chase’ and ‘deer management’ when you have thousands of acres and unlimited resources. It’s not easy for those of us who have less acreage and watch deer that we pass up walk across the property line and get whacked by other guys.

I firmly believe that hunters should stick together. If it’s legal then let people do whatever they enjoy and don’t worry about it.–Mitch

Mitch’s great post made me wonder. Nobody in his right mind, including me or Mitch, condones some fat cat plunking down 20 grand or more (heck, it’s $50,000 an up in some enclosures) to go into a little pen in some state and blast a giant buck with protein-fueled white antlers that might score 250 inches or more. But what all about those working ranches down in Texas that are 10,000 acres and way up, like the one Mitch hunted and had good fun? A lot of the bucks living on those large ranches might never get close to or see the fence; their home ranges are 1,000 to 2,000 acres max and usually smaller.

 Still, the fence is there, and that has always bothered me physiologically. While you and I might choose not to hunt high fence, who are we say other hunters should not do it?