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The Modern Deer Hunter’s Contradiction

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August 09, 2011

The Modern Deer Hunter’s Contradiction

By Dave Hurteau

To help take your mind of the spelunking stock market, I give you another problem to ponder: If you gave each of today’s hardcore whitetail hunters $1 million and said, “So what are you going to do with that?” a great many--far more than ever before--would say, “I’m going to buy or lease a bunch of ground and manage it for big deer.” Right? This is unequivocally the hottest trend in our sport and has been for a while. It is not all bad.

However, implied in the popular notion of “managing for big deer” and often explicitly advised by the growing army of "professional deer managers" is reduced hunting pressure. In other words, we won’t be letting the neighbors on.

Meanwhile, if you ask the same people if they want a deer hunting future marked by dwindling access and fewer participants, most--who are not merely aware but proud that ownership of and access to game by the common folk lies at the heart of our model--would say, “Nope. Not really.”

So, that’s a problem. And a fairly well-known one, I admit. But if we say we want one thing and yet many of us would admittedly do the opposite given the chance, then what’s the solution? Any ideas?

Comments (22)

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from huntnow wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

If each hardcore whitetail hunter bought $1million worth of land, we'd run out of land pretty quickly in my neck of the woods. That being said, I wouldn't have a problem allowing a few people to hunt, so long as I had faith in them being legal, ethical hunters. There are plenty of deer to go around. But then again, I'm a hunter, not a game manager.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from gxx9sdb wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Phillippans 2:3 comes to mind: "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." Could you imagine??

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ENO wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

I do believe that the biggest concern for future hunters will be where to hunt. I also expect that managing property for deer is going to evolve as people realize that a. to really make a difference you need a large tract of land (which is getting harder to find) b. genetics plays a major role in growing truly big deer. c. for the amount of time and money spent purchasing land, paying taxes and managing it you could go on mulptiple guided hunts where others are doing the grunt work.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

There was a guy on one of the forums I frequent who said that he was going to lease up every piece of ground he could, just to keep his neighbors away from "his" deer....

That's deer hunting in the 21st century...it's all about antlers and me, me, me....

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from CL3 wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

jjas: right on. that's the root of the problem in this country; Me, Me, Me. I will Win. You will Lose. No one cares about Thy Neighbor one bit.

Wildlife is for all, and I fear where we'll end up when I see people paying thousands of dollars to hunt in Europe.

Let me ask; Why does it always need to be a "big trophy buck" all of the time? How did we end up there?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from IND_NRA wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

My children are going to have a hard time eating a pile of antlers. We need to get back to the root of hunting and pass the good ethical values that we grew up with onto our kids for all generations to enjoy. I am sick and tired of hearing about how many inches of antler a buck has. A two hundred pound doe gets talked about more in my family then any of the big bucks that we have are. I will now step down of my soap box.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from davycrockettfv wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

It almost seems (and I hate to say this) like the future of hunting may be high-fenced ranches. I hope that's a VERY distant future.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from elkslayer wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

I hope to one day own a substantial sized piece of land to garantee that I and my kids will always have aplace to hunt, but I fully intend to leave it open to friends and friends of friends as long as nobody trashes the place.
As far as I am concerned, hunting has never been about antlers.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from baconboy206 wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

we have an exponentially increasing population, were supposed to hit 7 billion people this october, the growth isnt supposed to stop until 11 billion, butt now some experts think it may go higher. That said the united states population would be neutral or even in slight decline if we didn't have huge amounts of immigration legal and otherwise. If the population continues to grow we will be undoubtedly be using the european model in the not to distant future. Rant over now :)

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntinhuntinhuntin wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

If you are lucky enough to get a nice property to hunt, then I see no problem in letting a few friends that are responsible hunt it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

It's definitely a contradiction, but it's also human nature. We want fair play for all, but we also want "our share". And "our share" is awfully subjective. Happens in everything we do.

But there is a trend for more farmers and hunters to "manage" deer for exclusive use for themselves or lease. I put manage in ""s because I think it's mostly to grow wall decorations and make money. It's not necessarily for the good of the deer population. But it's a free country (so far) and folks can do as they wish to pursue their (legal) dreams.

But I don't know of any program more in tune with addressing the hunting access problem than the state Fish and Game departments that purchase land and/or work deals with private owners to allow hunter access.
If you want to give each of those agencies $1 million for that purpose, they could certainly use it.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

The Ol'man wisely invited the neighbors to co-lease our club and collectively we have inexpensively managed the herd, and built a nice deer camp, on about 5 days of hunting I had my pick of 20 some odd stands and I couldn't help but wish I had some company to fellowship with and every once in a while help drag a deer out. Hunting is for old men and kids, most of us that are in between are often caught in a weekend warrior schedule and we try to make the most of our time in the woods, with that schedule a 100 million dollars of land would do me no better than a couple extra Mondays and a well timed week long vacation. Squirrel hunting is the best cure for the high fence blues.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kplace wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

that is funny because just the other day i was talking about if i had won the lottery i would buy some land and grow some deer. a deer farm. some berkshire pigs and some angus cows, maybe a poulet rouge chicken or two. a million is a bit much, i think i could do it for less, but i'd give the rest to my folks to buy some nice place on a lake to live out the rest of their days. i would share it all to my friends because you have to give to receive.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from turkeycreek91 wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

i see no problem with allowing others to hunt my land if i owned my own the world would be a better place if more people got into hunting and fishing a successful hunt is whether or not you kill a deer or whatever its about goin bein one with nature and enjoyin yourself....As much as it HURTS me to say it those of us that hunt and fish are the LAST OF A DYING BREED!!! unfortunitetly if these city slickin hippies get their way probably before i die hunting and fishin will be outlawed partly because kids now days have tv and video games to keep them occupied they see no reason to be outside or they simply have no one to introduce them to huntin and fishin that bein said they wont fight for it because it just doesnt concern them. all that bein said because kids may not have someone to introduce them to our lifestyle or whatever reason is why i want to start an organisation that gives the future of our heritage the oppritunity to do what we were brought up and spend 365 days a year dreamin about thats goin to be my contibution to delayin our right to hunt away

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

idd be getting me a couple new rifles and slug guns

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

You might find that owning a cabin in right location (near prime Federal land) and traveling the globe and hunting everywhere you can would be better than paying taxes on 1 million dollars of land and getting to take 2 bucks a year.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Been there and done that for my neighbor. He has 200 acres with 110 in CRP and 90 in timber. Out biggest headaches are trespassers and straying pet dogs. Other than the cost of the land, his expenses to maintain the area runs about $12,000/yr not counting labor and taxes. The quail are slowly returning but the gem is the 6 acre lake I designed and built to maximize sport fishing. Built in 2009 ($26,000) and stocked in 2010, he won't start fishing it until 2013. Bluetongue hit last summer and four hunters saw less than ten deer in five days of hunting, only one being a buck. That million dollars can't guarantee you a deer. In my opinion, if you can't get a million dollars worth of enjoyment out of standing on your own piece of the world, spend your money on a top guide and visit his idea of heaven on earth.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NCHunter wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I don't think there is much of a contradiction in my part of the world but it may be different in other areas. The way I see it, if a piece of land is private property then there is a very low probability that it is open to hunting. If a piece of private property is for sale then eventually someone is going to buy it and again it is a very low probability that it will be open to hunting. I would rather see someone buy a piece of property for themselves and their family to hunt and enjoy than to see it turned into a golf course or shopping mall. I don't think there is enough land getting bought up for personal hunting to make an impact on hunter access in my neck of the woods.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

if you have the money and want to buy land, go for it, i have no issue...if i spent a large sum of money on a piece of property and put a lot of time and effort into managing it for big deer, im not gonna let anyone else on it except me and my family. why would i pay all that money and put in all that time to let a bunch of yahoos run around and shoot the place up?

i dont quite see how you can get upset with a guy because he wont let YOU hunt HIS property. in my area, there are still plenty of people that if you ask, will allow you to hunt. granted i cant say that for everywhere else, but i still manage to find plenty of places to hang a stand.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

A man pays taxes on his property he has the right to invite guests or not. The big problem is most invited hunters don't do anything to help the man out at all, just show up and take. How can you blame him for saying NO! There are millions and millions of public ground acres in this country, most people are just too lazy to walk into them. Hurteau-- Not that its important but I never got my Cabelas hat for the buck crossing the bridge comment, thought you might like to know.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Hurteau wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Walt,
You still haven't gotten that? I've put in for it twice now.
I absolutely agree that you cannot force private landowners to let other hunters on. That's not the answer. I will have more to say on this later.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pa deer hunter wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

Unfortunatly there is nothing we can do to stop this practice, people seldom look past their own desires to see the big picture.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from IND_NRA wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

My children are going to have a hard time eating a pile of antlers. We need to get back to the root of hunting and pass the good ethical values that we grew up with onto our kids for all generations to enjoy. I am sick and tired of hearing about how many inches of antler a buck has. A two hundred pound doe gets talked about more in my family then any of the big bucks that we have are. I will now step down of my soap box.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

There was a guy on one of the forums I frequent who said that he was going to lease up every piece of ground he could, just to keep his neighbors away from "his" deer....

That's deer hunting in the 21st century...it's all about antlers and me, me, me....

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from elkslayer wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

I hope to one day own a substantial sized piece of land to garantee that I and my kids will always have aplace to hunt, but I fully intend to leave it open to friends and friends of friends as long as nobody trashes the place.
As far as I am concerned, hunting has never been about antlers.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

It's definitely a contradiction, but it's also human nature. We want fair play for all, but we also want "our share". And "our share" is awfully subjective. Happens in everything we do.

But there is a trend for more farmers and hunters to "manage" deer for exclusive use for themselves or lease. I put manage in ""s because I think it's mostly to grow wall decorations and make money. It's not necessarily for the good of the deer population. But it's a free country (so far) and folks can do as they wish to pursue their (legal) dreams.

But I don't know of any program more in tune with addressing the hunting access problem than the state Fish and Game departments that purchase land and/or work deals with private owners to allow hunter access.
If you want to give each of those agencies $1 million for that purpose, they could certainly use it.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from baconboy206 wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

we have an exponentially increasing population, were supposed to hit 7 billion people this october, the growth isnt supposed to stop until 11 billion, butt now some experts think it may go higher. That said the united states population would be neutral or even in slight decline if we didn't have huge amounts of immigration legal and otherwise. If the population continues to grow we will be undoubtedly be using the european model in the not to distant future. Rant over now :)

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from gxx9sdb wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Phillippans 2:3 comes to mind: "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." Could you imagine??

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from CL3 wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

jjas: right on. that's the root of the problem in this country; Me, Me, Me. I will Win. You will Lose. No one cares about Thy Neighbor one bit.

Wildlife is for all, and I fear where we'll end up when I see people paying thousands of dollars to hunt in Europe.

Let me ask; Why does it always need to be a "big trophy buck" all of the time? How did we end up there?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntnow wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

If each hardcore whitetail hunter bought $1million worth of land, we'd run out of land pretty quickly in my neck of the woods. That being said, I wouldn't have a problem allowing a few people to hunt, so long as I had faith in them being legal, ethical hunters. There are plenty of deer to go around. But then again, I'm a hunter, not a game manager.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ENO wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

I do believe that the biggest concern for future hunters will be where to hunt. I also expect that managing property for deer is going to evolve as people realize that a. to really make a difference you need a large tract of land (which is getting harder to find) b. genetics plays a major role in growing truly big deer. c. for the amount of time and money spent purchasing land, paying taxes and managing it you could go on mulptiple guided hunts where others are doing the grunt work.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from davycrockettfv wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

It almost seems (and I hate to say this) like the future of hunting may be high-fenced ranches. I hope that's a VERY distant future.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntinhuntinhuntin wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

If you are lucky enough to get a nice property to hunt, then I see no problem in letting a few friends that are responsible hunt it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

The Ol'man wisely invited the neighbors to co-lease our club and collectively we have inexpensively managed the herd, and built a nice deer camp, on about 5 days of hunting I had my pick of 20 some odd stands and I couldn't help but wish I had some company to fellowship with and every once in a while help drag a deer out. Hunting is for old men and kids, most of us that are in between are often caught in a weekend warrior schedule and we try to make the most of our time in the woods, with that schedule a 100 million dollars of land would do me no better than a couple extra Mondays and a well timed week long vacation. Squirrel hunting is the best cure for the high fence blues.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kplace wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

that is funny because just the other day i was talking about if i had won the lottery i would buy some land and grow some deer. a deer farm. some berkshire pigs and some angus cows, maybe a poulet rouge chicken or two. a million is a bit much, i think i could do it for less, but i'd give the rest to my folks to buy some nice place on a lake to live out the rest of their days. i would share it all to my friends because you have to give to receive.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from turkeycreek91 wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

i see no problem with allowing others to hunt my land if i owned my own the world would be a better place if more people got into hunting and fishing a successful hunt is whether or not you kill a deer or whatever its about goin bein one with nature and enjoyin yourself....As much as it HURTS me to say it those of us that hunt and fish are the LAST OF A DYING BREED!!! unfortunitetly if these city slickin hippies get their way probably before i die hunting and fishin will be outlawed partly because kids now days have tv and video games to keep them occupied they see no reason to be outside or they simply have no one to introduce them to huntin and fishin that bein said they wont fight for it because it just doesnt concern them. all that bein said because kids may not have someone to introduce them to our lifestyle or whatever reason is why i want to start an organisation that gives the future of our heritage the oppritunity to do what we were brought up and spend 365 days a year dreamin about thats goin to be my contibution to delayin our right to hunt away

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

idd be getting me a couple new rifles and slug guns

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

You might find that owning a cabin in right location (near prime Federal land) and traveling the globe and hunting everywhere you can would be better than paying taxes on 1 million dollars of land and getting to take 2 bucks a year.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Been there and done that for my neighbor. He has 200 acres with 110 in CRP and 90 in timber. Out biggest headaches are trespassers and straying pet dogs. Other than the cost of the land, his expenses to maintain the area runs about $12,000/yr not counting labor and taxes. The quail are slowly returning but the gem is the 6 acre lake I designed and built to maximize sport fishing. Built in 2009 ($26,000) and stocked in 2010, he won't start fishing it until 2013. Bluetongue hit last summer and four hunters saw less than ten deer in five days of hunting, only one being a buck. That million dollars can't guarantee you a deer. In my opinion, if you can't get a million dollars worth of enjoyment out of standing on your own piece of the world, spend your money on a top guide and visit his idea of heaven on earth.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NCHunter wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

I don't think there is much of a contradiction in my part of the world but it may be different in other areas. The way I see it, if a piece of land is private property then there is a very low probability that it is open to hunting. If a piece of private property is for sale then eventually someone is going to buy it and again it is a very low probability that it will be open to hunting. I would rather see someone buy a piece of property for themselves and their family to hunt and enjoy than to see it turned into a golf course or shopping mall. I don't think there is enough land getting bought up for personal hunting to make an impact on hunter access in my neck of the woods.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

A man pays taxes on his property he has the right to invite guests or not. The big problem is most invited hunters don't do anything to help the man out at all, just show up and take. How can you blame him for saying NO! There are millions and millions of public ground acres in this country, most people are just too lazy to walk into them. Hurteau-- Not that its important but I never got my Cabelas hat for the buck crossing the bridge comment, thought you might like to know.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Hurteau wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

Walt,
You still haven't gotten that? I've put in for it twice now.
I absolutely agree that you cannot force private landowners to let other hunters on. That's not the answer. I will have more to say on this later.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pa deer hunter wrote 2 years 35 weeks ago

Unfortunatly there is nothing we can do to stop this practice, people seldom look past their own desires to see the big picture.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 36 weeks ago

if you have the money and want to buy land, go for it, i have no issue...if i spent a large sum of money on a piece of property and put a lot of time and effort into managing it for big deer, im not gonna let anyone else on it except me and my family. why would i pay all that money and put in all that time to let a bunch of yahoos run around and shoot the place up?

i dont quite see how you can get upset with a guy because he wont let YOU hunt HIS property. in my area, there are still plenty of people that if you ask, will allow you to hunt. granted i cant say that for everywhere else, but i still manage to find plenty of places to hang a stand.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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