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  • Trophy Hunting

    A good look at the history of "trophy hunting," from Outdoor Life:
    https://www.outdoorlife.com/conserva...north-america/

    And I think another big reason that trophy hunting is frowned upon is the idea that one either hunts for the trophy or one hunts for the meat. But we all know that a lot of hunters who want that trophy head or rack are also eating the meat, or someone is. Even this article, thorough as it is, doesn't include that point. Still an interesting read.

  • #2
    MattM37, I have witnessed the effect of indiscriminate slaughter of the male and totally ignoring the female of a species.
    I saw a deer herd in the 1950's go from respectable bucks to what we called "cockle bur" bucks in the late 70's.
    Game regulations allowed 2 bucks, at least 3 points and no does.
    In the early 80's, the game regulations changed.
    One buck and several (?) does.
    By the mid-90's the deer herd had turned around. Several counties now have antler restrictions (13" [outside the ears] or better) with ample doe tags.

    Edit:
    I personally think trophy hunters got a bad name from people who would shoot a trophy and only take antlers and cape.
    These guys that pay thousands to hunt (kill) these high fence ranches also give "hunting" a bad rap.
    I know a guy who spent $50k on a hunt and was bragging about his deer! 😖
    FirstBubba
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
    Last edited by FirstBubba; 01-06-2022, 02:52 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post
      MattM37, I have witnessed the effect of indiscriminate slaughter of the male and totally ignoring the female of a species.
      I saw a deer herd in the 1950's go from respectable bucks to what we called "cockle bur" bucks in the late 70's.
      Game regulations allowed 2 bucks, at least 3 points and no does.
      In the early 80's, the game regulations changed.
      One buck and several (?) does.
      By the mid-90's the deer herd had turned around. Several counties now have antler restrictions (13" [outside the ears] or better) with ample doe tags.

      Edit:
      I personally think trophy hunters got a bad name from people who would shoot a trophy and only take antlers and cape.
      These guys that pay thousands to hunt (kill) these high fence ranches also give "hunting" a bad rap.
      I know a guy who spent $50k on a hunt and was bragging about his deer! 😖
      Agree, the wanton-waste guys were the worst culprits. I used to be pretty disparaging of trophy hunting, but over time have grown less critical -- more of a "united we stand" mentality, I guess -- especially when I realized that the term itself was being used when maybe it shouldn't be. I think that's more the point, for me. The shoe doesn't fit everyone it's put onto.

      Being a small woods meat-hunter and basically just a nature-lover myself, there are quite a few forms of hunting that I don't like and won't do, but where they're legal, hey, I'm not judge and jury.

      That said, I agree about the canned high-fence hunting and really wish that had never become a thing at all.

      Comment


      • #4
        Every elk a “trophy” every deer a blessing.

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        • #5
          Younger years everything was antlers, shape, points symetrical and age. As you age it was more the available venison which gradually turned me to does for quality venison. Age affects me in the same personal way, life is more treasured. Don't get me wrong, hunting game is perfectly o.k. In life though, things change as time creeps by.
          The trail of life is riddled with the bodies of people you knew. The older you get the more the bodies. I have no regrets, I have had a good and full life. Live to your fulllest.

          Comment


          • #6
            Same with turkeys WAM.
            A jake isn't a big bird, but by golly you gotta work to connect.
            Like elk, turkeys aren't a "gimme".
            ...and deer?
            I think you're right. In OK, if you'll just sit down and be still and quiet, a legal animal will eventually come by.

            Comment


            • #7
              From reading some of the preceding posts, I think some clarification is in order for some of our bloggers. There is a wide spread of difference in hunting a high fence ranch, and a canned hunt.
              I hunt a high fence ranch every year. The owner manages his deer herd like some manage cattle, knowing, within reason, his buck/doe ratio, and how many of either need to be killed off to maintain the herd to its optimum output of trophy deer, which his big money clients want to shoot.
              Not being a trophy hunter, and having very little interest in hanging heads on my wall, myself and my group hunt old does, or what the owner considers cull bucks. I am a meat on the table kind of hunter, so that suits me fine.
              However, this is what would be termed fair chase hunting, as there is no guarantee that a shootable animal will be seen, especially on an acreage covering +/- 1700 acres. That is a little over 2½ square miles. Plenty of room for a whitetail deer to roam free, as they generally don't travel far from where they were born, given that no natural conditions such as drouth, flood, or forest fire move them.
              Also, high fence does not necessarily keep deer in. If a deer wants out, an eight foot fence is seldom an obstacle. An eight foot fence does provide somewhat of a barrier to invasive species, but, there again, an animal wanting either in, or out, will find a way.
              Canned hunts, on the other hand, are like the honkster brags about going on, in Africa. He has a professional hunter, a game scout, a gunbearer, and does most of the "hunting" from a jeep or hunting car. Drive to the pre-scouted location, get out, walk a few klicks, or less, and shoot an animal with a back up gunner standing right by your side. Then, professional skinners take over, skinning and capeing your "trophy", possibly distributing meat to the needy, possibly leaving the carcass to the buzzards. Fair chase? Not in my book. But, back in the safe environs of the good old USA, or even Canaja, one can say, "When I hunted in Africa....."
              So, the way I see it, there is a lot of difference in high fence and canned hunting. Without the freedom of multiple pastures and tolerant neighbors like I used to roam, I am forced to pay the fee for high fence hunting, with no guarantee of success, or not hunt.





              Comment


              • #8
                Very well stated crm. The differences of thought concerning the ‘hunt’ and ‘killing’ in hunting is amazing.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by crm3006 View Post
                  From reading some of the preceding posts, I think some clarification is in order for some of our bloggers. There is a wide spread of difference in hunting a high fence ranch, and a canned hunt.
                  I hunt a high fence ranch every year. The owner manages his deer herd like some manage cattle, knowing, within reason, his buck/doe ratio, and how many of either need to be killed off to maintain the herd to its optimum output of trophy deer, which his big money clients want to shoot.
                  Not being a trophy hunter, and having very little interest in hanging heads on my wall, myself and my group hunt old does, or what the owner considers cull bucks. I am a meat on the table kind of hunter, so that suits me fine.
                  However, this is what would be termed fair chase hunting, as there is no guarantee that a shootable animal will be seen, especially on an acreage covering +/- 1700 acres. That is a little over 2½ square miles. Plenty of room for a whitetail deer to roam free, as they generally don't travel far from where they were born, given that no natural conditions such as drouth, flood, or forest fire move them.
                  Also, high fence does not necessarily keep deer in. If a deer wants out, an eight foot fence is seldom an obstacle. An eight foot fence does provide somewhat of a barrier to invasive species, but, there again, an animal wanting either in, or out, will find a way.
                  Canned hunts, on the other hand, are like the honkster brags about going on, in Africa. He has a professional hunter, a game scout, a gunbearer, and does most of the "hunting" from a jeep or hunting car. Drive to the pre-scouted location, get out, walk a few klicks, or less, and shoot an animal with a back up gunner standing right by your side. Then, professional skinners take over, skinning and capeing your "trophy", possibly distributing meat to the needy, possibly leaving the carcass to the buzzards. Fair chase? Not in my book. But, back in the safe environs of the good old USA, or even Canaja, one can say, "When I hunted in Africa....."
                  So, the way I see it, there is a lot of difference in high fence and canned hunting. Without the freedom of multiple pastures and tolerant neighbors like I used to roam, I am forced to pay the fee for high fence hunting, with no guarantee of success, or not hunt.




                  You and me have discussed at length the role you play on your "high fence" hunt.
                  I've been on one of those hunts on the Ford Ranch in Brady, TX. I would go on a cull hunt there again in a heart beat.
                  One hunter decided to kill a "cull" buck with one antler. That broken antler buck cost him big time! LOL!

                  '06, NOT using the conservation plan your ranch man practices is exactly what ruined the deer herd in Leon county Texas back from the 40's through the 70's.
                  Those old ranchers that maintained a specific cow/bull ratio, absolutely refused to allow that same ratio in their deer herd.
                  Too many does and too few inferior bucks soon led to the demise of the entire herd.
                  Little did the curmudgeonly old ranchers know the local doe poachers actually had the right idea, legal or not.

                  Where I am now, down here in S. Texas, "high fence" is where the rich boys with more money than spare time go to shoot trophy heads to hang in corporate office walls.
                  On our way to Kingsville, we go right by the King Ranch landing strip. It's quite often occupied by a couple of little Gulf Stream jets.... corporate and personal! LOL!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My post was getting a little overlength, so I failed to mention some of the conditions that go along with our yearly hunt. We are obligated to shoot any wild hog, coyote, feral dog or other named varmint, even if that means passing up a deer.
                    We are the first hunt, and amongst our group, we have the skills to unclog plugged sewer lines, replumb leaky faucets, replace burnt out light bulbs, and do general
                    maintenance work, for a cabin that has been unoccupied for the better part of six or eight months.
                    We do all of our own cooking, clean up and housekeeping.
                    Other than assistance gutting the deer, all butchering and skinning is done by the hunter, and meticulous records are kept of the age, sex and number of deer killed.
                    All in all, it is a good get together for friends that see each other less over the course of a year than they would like, but not by any means much different than a lot of people do for maintaining a lease, that might not constitute fifty or less acres.
                    The rancher keeps good records on who can shoot, and who cannot, also. Several hunters have not been allowed back because of wounded deer not recovered, or other marksmanship failures. So far, no one has killed a trophy of potential trophy buck by mistake, but most of us have accounted for several culls, usually for too much age with a substandard rack.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I struggle with the QDM concept. I refer to it as Quality Deer Manipulation. Managing for overall heard health is one thing but managing to maximize specific individuals is something entirely different as far as I’m concerned. Not to disparage the type of hunting CRM is explaining, it’s just that killing a monster there wouldn’t mean anywhere near as much to me as the buck The Kid killed on our guided Montana trip. That said I completely understand what he’s saying about high fence vs canned hunts.


                      Part of it is from teaching Bowhunter Ed starting 25 years ago. Early on we used to tell students that any deer you killed with an arrow was a trophy and we meant it. Anymore I avoid the subject as to not start a discussion that might go off the rails in class.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by fitch270 View Post
                        I struggle with the QDM concept. I refer to it as Quality Deer Manipulation. Managing for overall heard health is one thing but managing to maximize specific individuals is something entirely different as far as I’m concerned. Not to disparage the type of hunting CRM is explaining, it’s just that killing a monster there wouldn’t mean anywhere near as much to me as the buck The Kid killed on our guided Montana trip. That said I completely understand what he’s saying about high fence vs canned hunts.


                        Part of it is from teaching Bowhunter Ed starting 25 years ago. Early on we used to tell students that any deer you killed with an arrow was a trophy and we meant it. Anymore I avoid the subject as to not start a discussion that might go off the rails in class.
                        Those "high fence" places go to "whitetail farms" for brood stock.
                        The bucks are fed high protein and calcium diets to help promote antler growth.
                        Those bucks can go for as much as $25K....and that was 15 years ago!

                        You are spot on correct. The Kid's buck, even guided, is twice the deer of a high fence kill.
                        Boone and Crockett will not accept/include high fence deer.

                        The guy who mounted my first buck also raised deer.
                        He mounts sheds from his pen deer and sells them!
                        When I picked up my deer, it was hanging beside one of his shed mounts.
                        I was proud of my deer though he barely scored 120. The shed antlers scored 256!

                        The guys that hunt (?) the places '06 and his buddies hunt couldn't care less about killing culls or thinning does. The ranch owners depend on true hunters like '06 and Co. for that chore.
                        It's the same type hunt I went to on the Ford ranch.
                        Lot's of guys that want the meat but don't have access to hunting property or may only get one opportunity to hunt during the season, flock to the Ford ranch for their cull/doe hunt.

                        ​​​​​​​P.S. - the success rate is like 100%, thus you pay some money and get some venison.
                        FirstBubba
                        ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
                        Last edited by FirstBubba; 01-07-2022, 09:52 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          From fitch270: "I struggle with the QDM concept. I refer to it as Quality Deer Manipulation. Managing for overall heard health is one thing but managing to maximize specific individuals is something entirely different as far as I’m concerned."

                          I understand your point of view, but look at it from this angle. The rancher was hardly making ends meet, about thirty years ago. He looked around, and found a commodity that people would pay good money for, deer.
                          He invested in fencing, blinds, a certain amount of land clearing, and feed for the deer. People came to hunt, and that is what they do, on this particular ranch, is hunt. No guaranteed kill, no particular deer staked out for some sportsman to shoot. He sends the sport out with a guide, who knows the general area where suitable deer may be, and if the opportunity presents itself, the hunter is offered the opportunity to shoot his animal.
                          Oh, and one more point of interest, this particular ranch has never bought a buck. At certain three to five year intervals, he will buy some does, to keep a strong strain in his deer. He once bought some AIed does for the bloodline, but most of his deer are native Texas stock, only improved by better feed and introducing a stronger bloodline, at intervals.
                          A word about those does, they are absolutely not to be killed until their breeding life is over. Most are ear tagged, but given the life a deer leads, and the country they live in, a good pair of binoculars is a must, to see if a deer even has a hole in her ear. They are very particular about that.
                          So, to sum it up, the rancher is offering a seasonal commodity that a lot of people will pay for, and he took the risks and funded his operation through the getting started process and some lean years, to become the success he is now.
                          However, several variables enter into his profit/loss for the season. A bad economy can result in a lot of hunts being canceled. One year, a hurricane hit and made several parties of hunters out of Louisiana have to cancel. CWD has not yet come into that part of Texas, but it is a constant worry. When you consider the risks, deer management, done this way, it is just a business, like any other.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            How long is the doe productive ? Is the beeding open range or controlled in a pen ?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by crm3006 View Post
                              From fitch270: "I struggle with the QDM concept. I refer to it as Quality Deer Manipulation. Managing for overall heard health is one thing but managing to maximize specific individuals is something entirely different as far as I’m concerned."

                              I understand your point of view, but look at it from this angle. The rancher was hardly making ends meet, about thirty years ago. He looked around, and found a commodity that people would pay good money for, deer.
                              He invested in fencing, blinds, a certain amount of land clearing, and feed for the deer. People came to hunt, and that is what they do, on this particular ranch, is hunt. No guaranteed kill, no particular deer staked out for some sportsman to shoot. He sends the sport out with a guide, who knows the general area where suitable deer may be, and if the opportunity presents itself, the hunter is offered the opportunity to shoot his animal.
                              Oh, and one more point of interest, this particular ranch has never bought a buck. At certain three to five year intervals, he will buy some does, to keep a strong strain in his deer. He once bought some AIed does for the bloodline, but most of his deer are native Texas stock, only improved by better feed and introducing a stronger bloodline, at intervals.
                              A word about those does, they are absolutely not to be killed until their breeding life is over. Most are ear tagged, but given the life a deer leads, and the country they live in, a good pair of binoculars is a must, to see if a deer even has a hole in her ear. They are very particular about that.
                              So, to sum it up, the rancher is offering a seasonal commodity that a lot of people will pay for, and he took the risks and funded his operation through the getting started process and some lean years, to become the success he is now.
                              However, several variables enter into his profit/loss for the season. A bad economy can result in a lot of hunts being canceled. One year, a hurricane hit and made several parties of hunters out of Louisiana have to cancel. CWD has not yet come into that part of Texas, but it is a constant worry. When you consider the risks, deer management, done this way, it is just a business, like any other.
                              Same reason the "lease" concept started.
                              Old, established cattle ranches in south Texas were barely keeping taxes paid annually and live from day to day.
                              Then they figured out that folks that didn't have a place to hunt, would pay handsomely for a place to hunt and have an opportunity at a "Muy Grande" buck.
                              Suddenly, the ranchers discovered a source of income they never anticipated.
                              Rather than trying to get rid of deer as a nuisance, they became the ranches "cash cow"! A way to afford to maintain their cattle operation by also maintaining their deer herd.
                              A "win/win" situation.
                              Texas Parks & Wildlife stepped in and began helping ranchers with "management" (QDM, LAMP) programs. By helping ranchers manage their deer, the smaller landholders and state WMA's, national forests/grasslands and other public and private areas benefitted.

                              '06, I made one trip to the Ford ranch.
                              They have no "high fence". The trophy guys hunt with a guide who assesses any "trophy" they see before they shoot.
                              The cull guys don't get a "guide". Does and button bucks are legit.
                              They prefer you let button bucks walk. They may be next years trophy.

                              The ranch manager will tell you right up front, "Cattle are our main goal. Deer are secondary, but necessary, to our success."

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