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Poll: Is Hunting Deer Over a Small Food Plot Fair Chase?

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March 01, 2012

Poll: Is Hunting Deer Over a Small Food Plot Fair Chase?

By Dave Hurteau

So in the last poll, I asked if hunting over bait is fair chase. Now, the corollary question: Is hunting over a small food plot—not a large nutrition plot but a “hunting” or so-called “kill” plot—fair chase?

Comments (65)

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Anything that I can do that is legal to give me an advantage over the deer is fair chase. I wear tri-focal glasses so the deer see better than I do, I have hearing aids so their hearing is much better, I can't set still so they can see me move and their nose is second to none. I think that they are the ones that have the advantage so I don't worry a whole lot about fair chase, I think that the odds are still in their favor reguardless of what I do.

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from TM wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

The key to "fair chase" is whether it's sporting enough. Catching stocked trout or shooting stocked pheasants is not very sporting. Same thing goes for high fence hunts.

Hunting a wild animal over bait could be very sporting if you're using your bare hands or a spear. We're asking where to draw the line.

Live baiting wild fish is fair chase to most. Decoy hunting wild turkey and wild ducks is fair chase to most. Yet both entail taking game animals by means of deception.

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from Kris24 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Dave....We cant wait to read the post where you pull all of this together. I am very interested to see where you are going with all of this.

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from Ryan Van Goethem wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Hunting over small food plots is definately fair chase. It has its advantages and disadvantages. Yes it draws deer in like a magnet, but a hunter can make so many mistakes to ruin a food plot hunting spot. Once deer know you are there, it's sometimes better to not even hunt there. Unlike a bait pile you cant just move your killplot to another spot. A kill plot is not much different then finding a natural honey hole or bottleneck, you just make it yourself instead of nature providing it.

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from Joshua Devault wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I hunt in Ohio baiting is legal And in the 12 years of hunting I think that may have helped me tag 1 deer. The bottom line is unless it's a feeder on private land, small bait piles are a shot in the dark. It may draw deer near your stand but they might be coming by at 3 am every 4 days. Mean while the raccoons have a hay day. I've always had more success hunting pinch points, funnels ECT. Any one that thinks you can set out some attractant corn and apples then whack and stack hasn't hunted much. I primarily hunt archery so if anything I'm just trying to get them in range. I think small bait isn't much different than hunting a pinch point to a water source. Or near a bedding area except I think you will have more luck with that strategy.

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Calling a kill plot fair chase is not that black and white to me. I will say that if I were privileged enough to take a young, first time, or handicapped hunter in the field, then I would definitely like to have a productive kill plot, and I would be very pleased to have them harvest an animal from it. However, to have a trophy hunter kill a mature whitetail over a plot intended for hunting doesn't impress me nearly as much as does a kill in a whitetails natural habitat.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Seeings as they are planted to attract deer to kill the same as a spread out bucket of bait is intended I say yes they are fair chase, just don't profess one is more ethical than the other, same goes for large-nutrition-food plots. As long as the lawmakers in your state say its legal it has to be ethical!

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Thought I would cut-n-paste this from the B&C Website:

FAIR CHASE, as defined by the Boone and Crockett Club, is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.
HUNTER ETHICS
Fundamental to all hunting is the concept of conservation of natural resources. Hunting in today's world involves the regulated harvest of individual animals in a manner that conserves, protects, and perpetuates the hunted population. The hunter engages in a one-to-one relationship with the quarry and his or her hunting should be guided by a hierarchy of ethics related to hunting, which includes the following tenets:
1. Obey all applicable laws and regulations.
2. Respect the customs of the locale where the hunting occurs.
3. Exercise a personal code of behavior that reflects favorably on your abilities and sensibilities as a hunter.
4. Attain and maintain the skills necessary to make the kill as certain and quick as possible.
5. Behave in a way that will bring no dishonor to either the hunter, the hunted, or the environment.
6. Recognize that these tenets are intended to enhance the hunter's experience of the relationship between predator and prey, which is one of the most fundamental relationships of humans and their environment.

Hope this helps.

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from tregra wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

No way! Our great- grandfathers didn't use "kill plots" and stock feed for the deer. They got along just fine by stalking and hunting the real way. If all you want to do is kill the animal then go ahead and bait them in, but to realize the full experience, don't. Hunting isn't all about the kill, its the chase. If we're going to just sit up in our tree stand and wait for a buck to walk in front of us, we might as well hook the rifle up to a robot and control it from our couch back at home. Come on guys, we all know using food plots are not a true fair chase.

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from JakeT_little.Racks wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

AWFUL pole. (No offense) No question its fair chase. You grow it, maintain it, test it, work hard on it, therefore you can hunt over it.

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from country road wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Yes, I think it is for all the reasons given and for the fact that deer soon recognize that food plots can be dangerous places and will treat them accordingly, coming at night and approaching from downwind. Here in the dense woods and brush where I hunt, it's nice to have an opening to watch and, hopefully, to draw deer in, much like sitting on an oak ridge, which is something that is becoming increasingly rare as the forestry industry clear cuts and replants in pine plantation. Sitting on a food plot is no guarantee that you'll see deer.

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Our grandfather's probably hunted oak flats and funnels where deer were likely to be found. Is that fair chase? I don't see a difference.

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from NHshtr wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Fair chase to me is finding and coming upon your quarry while it is going about its natural routine in its natural environment.

So again, I have hunted over a food plot and taken deer. It's legal and ethical. The venison tastes great. But I voted no, because I see fair chase as I described above

One could argue that a kill plot over time works into a deer's routine, but it wouldn't exist unless the hunter purposely kept working at it to attract deer.

To me, not many of the "yeses" given so far, deal with the fact that the plot is man made and man maintained - not a natural part of the environment. I hear the argument that it helps the nutrition of deer, etc. But I can set out nutritious deer bait too. So I can't make a distinction between baiting and a kill plot.
But don't get me wrong, I've done it, it's legal and ethical. I have no problem with doing it. I just don't call it fair chase.

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from tuckerj5047 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I think fair chase is very much relative to the hunter and their skill with hunting. This is why many hunters, as they increase in skill, begin using less and less "gadgets" or different methods so the hunt is more of a challenge to them.

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from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

yes they are ethical our grandfathers had different rules by that argument extended they shouldn't have been able to use anything but stones. We are managing wildlife to be more sustainable and healthy, we also securing the future of the animals.

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from jvf wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Watch a Benoit, Bernier, or Hal Blood video or read about tracking and stalking bucks (regardless of snow), and you'll realize what fair chase and hunting is. Hunting over a plot takes as much work and dedication if you're scouting and tending to your crop, but to truly say you killed a big buck on HIS turf, you have to kill him when he's most aware, sorry....

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from Kevin wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

This one could be argued to death. Here in MN you can't bait but you can hunt over minerals, salt, or food plots, with no restriction on the size of the plot. So we can't hunt over say soybeans dumped on the ground but if they are growing out of the ground then it's legal. Where is the sense in that and where is the real difference?! Baiting here in MN is an epidemic with more hunters getting cited every year, it could just as well be made legal and see what the real effects are on the herd. I'm sure that is the DNR's main concern. Plus it may be considered 'unfair chase' in their eyes.

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from Drover1 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

These questions imply the issue is black and white – one practice is fair chase, another isn’t. I think there is a lot of “gray area.” Shooting a deer caged in a 10-foot pen probably isn’t fair chase. Setting out on foot in a 100,000-acre wilderness area and tracking down a deer probably is fair chase. Between those extremes, I see degrees of “more fair” or “less fair.” Most high-fence hunting, for example, seems to me like shooting animals in a zoo. But I realize there are some cases where the fenced areas are very large and the hunting is more challenging. Hunting over bait is illegal in my state and I’m glad, partly because baiting is known to promote disease in deer herds. Food plots are a gray area to me. I see these guys on the TV shows sitting in elevated cabins overlooking a food plot, maybe supplemented with a feeder or two, discussing which deer they want to shoot. It’s legal, but more like grocery shopping than hunting in my opinion, and not what I want to do.

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from bberg7794 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I think Drover1 and NHshtr are on track in illustrating degrees of fair. To me, baiting is not fair chase. When Jesse Ventura was governor of Minnesota, he said feeding “Yogi” doughnuts for five days and then shooting him in the back: “That ain’t sport. That’s assassination”. Baiting is attracting your quarry to a particular location in order to kill them. It is definitely disrupting a creatures natural habits to give the hunter an advantage. For example, it is much much more difficult to find what a black bear is naturally feeding on at any particular time of the season and then to wait "on the bears terms" than it is to put out bacon scraps on a daily basis and bring the bear to you.

Food plots are a little different. You are attempting to engineer nature, whether for the sole purpose of increasing the deer carrying capacity or herd health of an area or for growing a trophy set of antlers. Your crop, especially if you are in the north may not be "hot" during the open deer season. To me, the goal of most food plots is larger than just attracting an animal to a place where it can be easily killed. It is still not a completely natural situation.

This brings up hunting over crops that exist due to farming. Again not an absolutely natural situation, but the goal of most crops in not to attract game but to make a profit.

Baiting, food plots and farming with respect to fair chase hunting are all artificial situations, but vary in degrees in which they deviate from fair chase. Baiting for hunting is pretty clearly not fair chase. The fairness of hunting near a food plot is less obvious and hunting on or near farm crops is even less clear cut. To me, the distinction as to how fair each situation is is closely tied to the intent of each particular situation.

All that said, the goal of hunting is partly to control a population. Under some circumstances, population control is nearly impossible when hunting under strictly "fair chase" guidelines. The latest Idaho wolf control program using a helicopter is a response to hunters being unable to fill their wolf tags. The number of bear taken in most states would plummet if baiting or hounds were not legal. Circumstances across the country are hugely variable, which is why most hunting regulations are left up to the state to decide. It may be legal; it may be fair chase; sometimes it may be both.

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I also found this on the Boone and Crockett website: I ask that before you slam me, please read this with an open mind and bear with me. Also this post is not meant to attack or slam any other hunter or post.

For the purpose of entry into the Boone and Crockett Club’s® records, North American big game harvested by the use of the following methods or under the following conditions are ineligible:
I. Spotting or herding game from the air, followed by landing in its vicinity for the purpose of pursuit and shooting;
II. Herding or chasing with the aid of any motorized equipment;
III. Use of electronic communication devices to guide hunters to game, artificial lighting, electronic light intensifying devices (night vision optics), sights with built-in electronic range-finding capabilities, thermal imaging equipment, electronic game calls or cameras/timers/motion tracking devices that transmit images and other information to the hunter;
IV. Confined by artificial barriers, including escape-proof fenced enclosures;
V. Transplanted for the purpose of commercial shooting;
VI. By the use of traps or pharmaceuticals;
VII. While swimming, helpless in deep snow, or helpless in any other natural or artificial medium;
VIII. On another hunter’s license;
IX. Not in full compliance with the game laws or regulations of the federal government or of any state, province, territory, or tribal council on reservations or tribal lands;
Please answer the following questions only if the entry is for a cougar, jaguar, or bear:
Were dogs used in conjunction with the pursuit and harvest of this animal?
Yes No
If the answer to the above question is yes, answer the following statements:
1. I was present on the hunt at the times the dogs were released to pursue this animal.
True False
2. If electronic collars were attached to any of the dogs, receivers were not used to harvest this animal.
True False
To the best of my knowledge the answers to the above statements are true. If the answer to either #1 or #2 above is false, please explain on a separate sheet.
I certify that the trophy scored on this chart was not taken in violation of the conditions listed above. In signing this statement, I understand that if the information provided on this entry is found to be misrepresented or fraudulent in any respect, it will not be accepted into the Awards Program and 1) all of my prior entries are subject to deletion from future editions of Records of North American Big Game 2) future entries may not be accepted.
FAIR CHASE, as defined by the Boone and Crockett Club®, is the ethical, sportsmanlike and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such game animals.
The Boone and Crockett Club® may exclude the entry of any animal that it deems to have been taken in an unethical manner or under conditions deemed inappropriate by the Club.

Now put this in addition to what BUCKHUNTER posted and what happens? You would believe that following these guidelines would promote a fair chase hunting environment. Since regulations, hunting customs, personal code of ethics, and many other factors vary so greatly from region to region, state to state, and locale to locale and hunter to hunter, Isn’t it up to ourselves to decide if something is fair chase or not. If you decide that a certain practice isn’t fair chase, then don’t use it and you will be the most ethical hunter to whom is matters, yourself. Hunting is what each hunter makes of it for themselves. In the state that I hunt, baiting and food plots are legal. So if I use either of these methods to harvest an animal it is considered fair chase not just by my standards but also by Boone and Crockett standards. However I have hunted out of state where baiting is prohibited, I followed that state’s regulations, conformed with their customs and so on. That animal was also harvested under fair chase conditions. My personal code of hunter ethics was the same hunting in both of these places so why would it matter to some if the first animal was shot over bait or a kill plot? Thanks for bearing with me.

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Well stated bberg7794. +1
Even though you say baiting is not fair chase, you make a valid point.

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from bberg7794 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Thanks Hunter_Fass.

I don't always disagree with use of bait. I have never been in a situation where I where would choose to use bait myself, but if I were a rancher in MT and trying to reduce the wolf population I would feel differently, I'm sure. I just think that sometimes hunting and fair chase hunting mean different things, not that either is always right or always wrong.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I too, am looking forward to where Mr. Hurteau is going with this. I aslo find Tregra and jvf's comments very odd. To compare hunting in the vast unbroken forests of Vermont to the thick dense brush of the Deep South, or the farm fields mixed with woodlots around the Great Lakes states is ridiculous.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

also, sorry.

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from Dcast wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I don't see the difference in he last question, so I answered NO again. Once again I don't care if you do it that is your right, just the same with high fence hunting. If high fence hunting in an area of thousands of acres isn't considered fair chase then neither is any sort of baiting. The difference lies in the fact that deer in high fenced area only have so much room to roam but if we're talking thousands of acres they have just as good a chance of evading you as does a deer free to roam. Now putting bait out to lure and ambush a deer is free chase then so should high fence hunting. Both your luring a deer into a confined space to take advantage of them. If we were to campare a hundred acre high fence opporation that is a whole different story and like most it is the equivilent to shooting a pig in a pasture. If it is legal I don't care what you do as long as you support other hunters in their means of taking game animals whether you agree with it or not because they too may not agree with your style. We as hunters hold ourselves at such high standards because of a few loud mouthed activists that we have no chance but to fail. Our ancestors used everything to their advantage to survive and if given the opportunity they would have used and probably did use baiting techniques and other techniques that would be viewed unethical. We as hunters shouldn't allow people to direct the ethics issue or we lose and we should be unashamed and proud of being any style hunter.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Hunting deer over ANY food plot, large or small, is neither hunting nor fair chase. It's just shooting. That said, I support the right to do it. Let's just not kid ourselves that it's all about providing "better ecology for deer." They've been doing fine, thank you, without all of this diet augmentation, for thousands of years.

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from makersman wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

look at the definitions of the words.

Fair
1. free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decision; a fair judge.
2. legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules: a fair fight.

Chase
1. to pursue in order to seize, overtake, etc.: The police officer chased the thief.
2. to pursue with intent to capture or kill, as game; hunt: to chase deer.

If it is legal by law and by definition and your ethic code as a hunter then have at it.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I am working totally from memory, which is dangerous, but I recall the very early definition of Fair Chase forbid hunting from a treestand.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

tregra,
I feel the need to point out that our great grandfathers--indeed most of the most celebrated early American deer hunters: Audubon, Gerstaecker, Tome, Elliot, Browning…--firehunted deer (spotlighted them at night from a canoe), hunted over mineral licks at night, and chased deer with dogs. Just so you know.

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from okiebuckonly wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I keep feeders and food plots in Oklahoma because the soil is so thin and nutrition so bad in my area not only does it not support a huntable population of deer in competition with poachers and livestock, food plots often seem to encourage nocturnal activity because deer can rely on a place to find needed nutrition without having to expose themselves to road hunters , poachers and the "brown is down" crowd. I've had foodplots for years and never killed a deer in one. They do help hold deer in the area instead of them having to increase the range searching for food that is deficient in nutrition.
While Oklahoma's deer population is stable overall, some counties have never produced a trophy buck due to hunting pressure and deficient soils. I try to encourage my neighbors to plant food plots and fertilize natural vegetation and restrict livestock from plots where deer may benefit and cattle get nothing but brush. In some areas if you don't improve your hunting area, you have no hunting area. Of course this doesn't apply in areas of prime farmland and some natural habitat that can support loads of deer.
Food plots and feeders are great for getting photos of deer that you wouldn't know were in the area and may encourage you to spend more time hunting the area but the "unfair advantage" bit is highly overrated.

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from vayotehowler wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

This was actually on Nugent the other night. Is hunting near a mast tree fair chase ? you know the deer will be there to eat .Finding a bedding area knowing will come there to sleep . Virginia says no bait to keep deer from congregating and spreading disease . But you can make a food plot where deer would congregate . It is about the perception with the states . I personally have never baited and dont know that I would (esp since illegal here ,know plenty that do tho.)

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from Michael Shepard wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Looks like most of the "hunters" are just like the TV Outdoor Channels food plot hunters...at 63, after 50 years of deer hunting, there are damn few of those TV people I would hunt with, and looks like most in this poll are that way too..no ethics, no morals, and no fair chase..in NW Montana where I hunt, it is true fair chase and I would not trade one of my deer for these fed, damn near pen raised deer you all espire to kill...there is more to hunting than the addiction to antlers,,,,and that is why we are in trouble with the great unwashed non hunting society...

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from Carlton Fuqua wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

could someone please tell me what the word "baiting" means?

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from tobmine wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Fairchase is determined by state law. I South Georgia we can hunt over deer and hogs over FEED, in north Georgia we can only hunt hogs over FEED and not deer. If hunting deer in north Georgia, the feed becomes bait and is illegal. Now, there are many states which allow hunting over FEED and this is legal. It does not take much gray matter between the ears to differentiate between the two words. Hunting over feed is legal and hunting over bait is illegal, regardless of your poor pitiful personal feelings !!! We have enough trouble with anti-hunters, uneducated public and the liberal press. PLEASE, use the right word if hunting over FEED is legal for some species where you live. The phrase; hunting over bait is perceived to be illegal by most people.

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from NHshtr wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I don't feel that state F&G agencies' regulations define "fair chase". They only define what's legal. The two are not necessarily the same. Also I don't think the B&C dis-qualifiers define it either.

The closest a definition I've seen is by makersman above, by taking the two words definitions literally.

I'm not sure Dave is "going somewhere" with this. I think the topic has generated quite a good discussion as it is.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

vayotehowler-- I wouldn't listen to what nuget babbles, he's a known game violator and the owner of high fence facilities who preaches fair chase then does the polar opposite, If Fred Bear knew what he was going to morph into I doubt he would have given ted the time of day.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

If hunting over food is not fair chase then a bunch of deer I have killed in oak flats, honeysuckle thickets, and browsing in clear cuts were not killed fair chase. It takes a lot of time, effort, boot leather, and savvy to figure out where the deer are dining, but then I guess I am just unethical and a bad hunter.
If you say it's not fair chase killing deer near food, a deer has never been killed fair chase. You can't put me outdoors in a place where I can't show you something a deer will eat.

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from Doug Grindle wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Hunter_Faas,
I think that is dangerous ground for you to say..."Since regulations, hunting customs, personal code of ethics, and many other factors vary so greatly from region to region, state to state, and locale to locale and hunter to hunter, Isn’t it up to ourselves to decide if something is fair chase or not. If you decide that a certain practice isn’t fair chase, then don’t use it and you will be the most ethical hunter to whom is matters, yourself."
I'm sure the poacher who spotlights at night is not violating his OWN ethical code. There is such thing as right and wrong outside of what someone's own personal code of ethics might be.
This whole post and associated comments are about defining the line between right and wrong but clearly some things are wrong regardless of "personal ethics".

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I agree with you on the fact that although a poacher who spotlights at night may not be violating his own ethical code, I ask you to understand that I did not say ALONE “personal code of ethics decides fair chase or not.” Also I stated that “regulations, hunting customs, personal code of ethics AND many other factors that vary…” make up and define fair chase as many others have given and stated their definitions, perspectives, and etc. about this question. I guess I made the bold assumption that hunters and poachers are two different people. I would say that many hunters would agree with me and say that shooting a deer over a small food plot or a kill plot is another world away from a poacher shooting a deer at night with a spot light as far as fair chase and codes of ethics are concerned.
HUNTER :
1: a person who hunts game
POACHER:
1: one that trespasses or steals
2: one who kills or takes wild animals (as game or fish) illegally

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from Michael Shepard wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Nother thing I have always said...record books are full of liars...and people with way too much money..I would not trade one of my P&Y entries taken on public grounds for one of those killed by a fellow "hunter" on private property..I challenge myself to harvest a good buck with a longbow or recurve during rifle season here in Montana by being an excellent hunter, not using any food plot, fence or electronic aid in getting a buck if and when I want to kill it..I am old and old school..and do not understand why the egos run so rampant on this issue and on the TV hunting shows..you honor the ethically taken animal..not the hunter..but on TV the hunter and all his sponsors are more important than the questionable ethics taken to harvest said animal...period

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I said yes this time time to.
I would have jot here sooner but work found and blocked field and stream so now it has to wait for home.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

@RES1956 -- Planting food to bring the deer to an area is light years apart from shooting deer in their natural habitat; your comment illustrates my earlier point. All this "food plot" stuff, large or small, has nothing to do with providing a better habitat for deer. Natural deer habitat has nothing thing to do with food plots. Are the food plot guys putting dispersed oak trees in an area? No. Are they planting wild raspberries? No. Young beech? No. It's all about plowing up the ground, and planting CROPS. Peas etc concentrated in both plant density and in targeted nutritional components that are relatively high on most foraging ungulates lists in order to bring the deer to an artificially contrived place on the landscape; that contrived place has about as much resemblance to "natural ecology" as "Biosphere 2" has to a Brazilian rainforest.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

@Mike Diehl, so shooting a deer in a 600 acre midwest cornfield is OK, but shooting one in a 5 acre cornfield 'foodplot' in the southeast is not?

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Neither of them is "wrong" per se. But neither of them is hunting and neither of them are "fair chase." Both are shooting.

The difference between the farmer who attracts deer to his field and a food plot grower is that the farmer is planting crops for purposes other than attracting deer. The food plot planter is planting food for the purpose of attracting deer, same as the people who use bait.

All that baloney about "improving the habitat" and "making the heard healthier" is self-justifying nonsense. It has nothing to do with habitat improvement. Deer have done just fine for thousands of years without food plots planted specifically for their benefit. And natural deer habitat doesn't have a damb thing to do with peas, soybeans, oats, barley, mustards, or the like.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Kill plots, meaning 'micro food plots' usually don't work well here in the south. We have so many dang deer that by the time one comes up, it is eaten down in a day or two (or should I say a night or two) resulting in a muddy patch. The concept is good, but I think I would rather expend the energy scouting or throwing some triple 13 on a big honeysuckle patch to sweeten it up and creating a natural kill plot. I guess that is about as ethical as fertilizing a white oak to attract deer to that tree, but then I guess I'm just a 'shooter.'

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from GrantHarland wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

We hunt the animal when it is trying to get it on with the lady deer... It would not be fair chase if we hunted them afterwards while they are watching ESPN's SportsCenter.

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

all you guys that said no to hunting over a food plot and that it is not fair chase better tell bill jordan, tiffany and lee lakofsky, stan potts, and the rest of those guys your share!!! i myself do not see anything wrong with it...there is no guarantee that you will get a deer, if anything once they find out you are there, they just wait till dark to come out.

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from RylieGipson wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

if it wasnt would we be doing it?

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from MPEK wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Ok guys and gals.Does anyone ever remember what the whietail deer population was when this country was settled ? Was pretty thin .How did the population "explode" ? One word , Agriculture. Most all of us are hunting whitetail deer in their travels to and from these Huge foodplots.Unless, of course, you mite be one of the .1% of the hunters who can take the entire hunting season off , fill their backpack with provisions.Get on a track in the most remote areas in North America , walk in 27 miles ,eat moss and rocks if your food gets low, and "Fair Chase' Whitetails. Get real.The next thing I think I mite hear is it isn't "Fair Chase if one uses a flashlite to get to or from his hunting spot .. Get real!!

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from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

mike diehl- what were the deer numbers at in the area you hunt 20 years? 30 years ago? 50 years ago? and if there are records of it 100years ago? Now what was the population of humans in relation to these numbers at those times? Then please humour me take a stab at the size of natural predators numbers at those times.
You narrow minded approach of deer management is laughable. Deer hunting exists in many places due to the retention of habitat and either inadvertent feeding of deer with farming practices, food plots are an extension of this. When you plant food plots are not only feeding deer many animals eat at the plots, much like having a natural area of foliage in a forest a hundred or even a 1000 years ago.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Food plots are not even remotely "like having a natural forage area" anywhere. In answer to your other questions: Where I hunt, deer populations cycle primarily in proportion with drought. There isn't a food plot or farmed field within 10 miles of the place. The foods that deer eat -- mesquite, acorns, juniper, pine nuts, cactus fruit, hackberry, ocotillo,and grasses -- are rather widespread on the landscape, although they tend to vary by elevation.

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from Hank111 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Mike, I sure hate to beat this dead horse with you again, but your holier than thou attitude about what is hunting, shows how clueless you really are. I know a ton of landowners just like me that work hard to make their farms a deer paradise, by doing timber stand improvement, [creating more natural browse] and yes planting tons of different feeding areas, so they have good nutrition 12 months of the year, not just a "kill" plot that only attracts during the fall season. And yes it is to attract and hold deer but not always to hunt over.Many of these landowners are non-residents who can only draw an Iowa tag every 3 years, but they still put the same time and effort in every year to make their farms better.You are not giving the deer enough credit, if you think, just because you plant a food plot a mature buck is gonna just walk right out to be shot during broad daylight. You obviously dont know much about whitetails. I would like to see the next poll be, Is killing deer on a farm with any food plots, hunting? I sure believe it is, as most on here probably do.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Skank,

I'm not "holier" than you. Just better than you.

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from buck16on wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

If it is legal where yu are hunting then it's ok to hunt over food plots/bait. But, I think hunting this way has made the pope & young and boone and Crocket record books kind of a joke. Taking a trophy animal this way means you're a good farmer/baiter but not a great hunter.

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from Hank111 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Boy that sure was an intelligent response Mike.
Because you can sit behind a rock and whack a deer at 300 yards with your high power rifle, makes you better than someone who who bowhunts in farm country, that has to fool the senses of many deer at CLOSE range. Get real.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

@Skank -

It was not meant to be an "intelligent response." It was meant to be an insulting response in repayment for your previous insulting reply. I figure when you want an actual rational discussion you'll show up with something insightful to say, or at least reply to something I actually *wrote* rather than make up something stupid.

I've heard that some people sit back at 300 yards and glass all day for deer. Good on 'em. That strikes me as more "fair chase" than planting peas, oats, barley, soybeans, etc, and hanging a tree stand or hiding out in a blind near the bait plot --- errr --- food plot.

As I noted before, I am just fine with you twiddling your thumbs in your air conditioned blind next to your automatic corn feeder next to your sugar beets plot and deluding yourself into imagining that any of that is all about "the benefit of the deer." I think it is legal and SHOULD be legal. As many have noted, hunting over farmers' fields and orchards is pretty common.

But don't lie to me (it's ok to lie to yourself) and call that "work done to improve habitat" or "done for the benefit of the deer."

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from GrantHarland wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

It seems to be fair chase to me, especially since I don't have much luck hunting over food plots. More luck hunting between food plots and bedding/water.

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from Gary Devine wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I believe if it is legal and written in the state game laws that you can hunt over bait or a food plot then it is fair chase. Bears have the best noses and deer have super hearing and most times they will circle a bait before they come in. All the monster bears that I have over bait with my trail cams are at night time photos.
It is like they know.

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from Hank111 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Mike- My response was aimed directly at what you always write and was pretty clear. You are the one that is insulting everyone that owns their own hunting area and works hard to make it better, when you get on your soapbox and spew about things you know nothing about. I get, from your previous posts, that where you hunt in Arizona, you have less than 2 weeks to gun hunt per year, and if you dont shoot the first deer you see, you may not get another shot. Of course we would like to tag a big buck every year, but thats only a small part of making our hunting areas better. Yeah deer have got by fine forever without help, but we want more than just getting by. When I bought my farm 15 years ago, it had been totally overgrazed by cattle, like most farms around here, and maybe held 10-20 deer at the most. There was no browse availabe in the timber. Now the cattle are gone, thru years of hingecutting trees, putting back in nativegrasses, planting tons of new trees and more nutritious food sources, I now hold a much larger and healthier herd. We dont shoot a buck until he is fully mature, 5+ years old, so the age structures are like nature intended them to be, unlike most public and overhunted land where most bucks are killed before reaching 3 years old and spreading their genetics. Since you probably have never seen a 5 year old buck, you would not know that they are a totally different animal to HUNT. Actually by making all these improvements with cover and feed I have made them much harder to HUNT. They dont need to feed during daylight in the open and since they have been around the block a few times, dont make the mistakes young bucks do. I could care less about you OPINIONS, but get real sick of you insulting everyone that works on their farms 12 months a year to make it better for the deer herd, ourselves and all the other wildlife that live there. I have killed enough deer over the years to where that is only a very small part of it, which is what you don't get.Your only arguements ever are the labels you like to use, deer farming-sure it is, hunting vs shooting that you are tolly wrong. The only difference in what we do is that we dont just go out for a week or so per year, try to kill a deer and spend the rest of the year pecking on the keyboard never giving anything back, trying to make yourself sound superior. Do you do anything in the offseason to give back? Probably not, just another taker.I stand by the fact that people like us that strive to make their hunting areas better, in a region where habitat is being lost at an alarming rate and access to hunting land is getting extremely tough to get, are the true HUNTERS, not just TAKERS.
Again, Dave lets see your next poll be about what is HUNTING.I am sure I am not the only one sick and tired of Mikes labels.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure I do more than you. For one thing, I collect on the order of 2 tons of trash annually left behind by people like you in remote areas.

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from Hank111 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Thats great to hear Mike. Our saddleclub is allowed to do trailrides in the state park public hunting area and in return, we ride periodically picking up garbage. It's digusting the lack of respect some people have for our public areas, but I am not one of them.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

All right then. If yer ever to be in AZ let me know. That's worth buying you a beer or if you prefer one of those southern style iced teas with so much suger in 'em that your teeth ache just from looking at it. ;)

I want to be clear. For all that, I don't think food plotting is unethical or should be illegal. I just don't see anything that's fair chase about shooting deer from a blind next to a food plot. I don't think there's any chase involved or any hunting involved. The "fair" part is a matter of opinion. Everyone wants to maximize their chances of success, however that is defined. So the whole business is about setting yourself up to take the deer where they are most likely to offer you the best deer for your shot and least likely to notice you before you do.

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from Hank111 wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Mike, If I am ever down that way I'll take you up on that. Make it a beer or a shot of tequila though.

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from MPEK wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Thanks to Hank!!! You pretty much put into words, at length ,as I was trying to say in a my few words .All those who think hunting over Food plots is easy ,don't know hunting .It is as natural as hunting anywhere. Deer are coming and going to and from where they believe they should be for their survival.. And anyone who calls them "KILL -Plots" must hunt at night!!

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from George Lee Hilbish wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I hunt NC/SC. Some areas only allow food plot, some non, and others allow baiting. I prefer baiting.

I think this question relates to the "sport" of hunting which I think is an erroneous concept. I'm out to kill deer, period. Whatever means I can use to make that happen is fair chase in my book within the law. (And I don't agree with the law necessarily.)

You could just as easily ask, "is deer management in the same vein as fair chase?"

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Thought I would cut-n-paste this from the B&C Website:

FAIR CHASE, as defined by the Boone and Crockett Club, is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.
HUNTER ETHICS
Fundamental to all hunting is the concept of conservation of natural resources. Hunting in today's world involves the regulated harvest of individual animals in a manner that conserves, protects, and perpetuates the hunted population. The hunter engages in a one-to-one relationship with the quarry and his or her hunting should be guided by a hierarchy of ethics related to hunting, which includes the following tenets:
1. Obey all applicable laws and regulations.
2. Respect the customs of the locale where the hunting occurs.
3. Exercise a personal code of behavior that reflects favorably on your abilities and sensibilities as a hunter.
4. Attain and maintain the skills necessary to make the kill as certain and quick as possible.
5. Behave in a way that will bring no dishonor to either the hunter, the hunted, or the environment.
6. Recognize that these tenets are intended to enhance the hunter's experience of the relationship between predator and prey, which is one of the most fundamental relationships of humans and their environment.

Hope this helps.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Anything that I can do that is legal to give me an advantage over the deer is fair chase. I wear tri-focal glasses so the deer see better than I do, I have hearing aids so their hearing is much better, I can't set still so they can see me move and their nose is second to none. I think that they are the ones that have the advantage so I don't worry a whole lot about fair chase, I think that the odds are still in their favor reguardless of what I do.

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Calling a kill plot fair chase is not that black and white to me. I will say that if I were privileged enough to take a young, first time, or handicapped hunter in the field, then I would definitely like to have a productive kill plot, and I would be very pleased to have them harvest an animal from it. However, to have a trophy hunter kill a mature whitetail over a plot intended for hunting doesn't impress me nearly as much as does a kill in a whitetails natural habitat.

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from NHshtr wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Fair chase to me is finding and coming upon your quarry while it is going about its natural routine in its natural environment.

So again, I have hunted over a food plot and taken deer. It's legal and ethical. The venison tastes great. But I voted no, because I see fair chase as I described above

One could argue that a kill plot over time works into a deer's routine, but it wouldn't exist unless the hunter purposely kept working at it to attract deer.

To me, not many of the "yeses" given so far, deal with the fact that the plot is man made and man maintained - not a natural part of the environment. I hear the argument that it helps the nutrition of deer, etc. But I can set out nutritious deer bait too. So I can't make a distinction between baiting and a kill plot.
But don't get me wrong, I've done it, it's legal and ethical. I have no problem with doing it. I just don't call it fair chase.

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from jvf wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Watch a Benoit, Bernier, or Hal Blood video or read about tracking and stalking bucks (regardless of snow), and you'll realize what fair chase and hunting is. Hunting over a plot takes as much work and dedication if you're scouting and tending to your crop, but to truly say you killed a big buck on HIS turf, you have to kill him when he's most aware, sorry....

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from Ryan Van Goethem wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Hunting over small food plots is definately fair chase. It has its advantages and disadvantages. Yes it draws deer in like a magnet, but a hunter can make so many mistakes to ruin a food plot hunting spot. Once deer know you are there, it's sometimes better to not even hunt there. Unlike a bait pile you cant just move your killplot to another spot. A kill plot is not much different then finding a natural honey hole or bottleneck, you just make it yourself instead of nature providing it.

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from bberg7794 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I think Drover1 and NHshtr are on track in illustrating degrees of fair. To me, baiting is not fair chase. When Jesse Ventura was governor of Minnesota, he said feeding “Yogi” doughnuts for five days and then shooting him in the back: “That ain’t sport. That’s assassination”. Baiting is attracting your quarry to a particular location in order to kill them. It is definitely disrupting a creatures natural habits to give the hunter an advantage. For example, it is much much more difficult to find what a black bear is naturally feeding on at any particular time of the season and then to wait "on the bears terms" than it is to put out bacon scraps on a daily basis and bring the bear to you.

Food plots are a little different. You are attempting to engineer nature, whether for the sole purpose of increasing the deer carrying capacity or herd health of an area or for growing a trophy set of antlers. Your crop, especially if you are in the north may not be "hot" during the open deer season. To me, the goal of most food plots is larger than just attracting an animal to a place where it can be easily killed. It is still not a completely natural situation.

This brings up hunting over crops that exist due to farming. Again not an absolutely natural situation, but the goal of most crops in not to attract game but to make a profit.

Baiting, food plots and farming with respect to fair chase hunting are all artificial situations, but vary in degrees in which they deviate from fair chase. Baiting for hunting is pretty clearly not fair chase. The fairness of hunting near a food plot is less obvious and hunting on or near farm crops is even less clear cut. To me, the distinction as to how fair each situation is is closely tied to the intent of each particular situation.

All that said, the goal of hunting is partly to control a population. Under some circumstances, population control is nearly impossible when hunting under strictly "fair chase" guidelines. The latest Idaho wolf control program using a helicopter is a response to hunters being unable to fill their wolf tags. The number of bear taken in most states would plummet if baiting or hounds were not legal. Circumstances across the country are hugely variable, which is why most hunting regulations are left up to the state to decide. It may be legal; it may be fair chase; sometimes it may be both.

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I also found this on the Boone and Crockett website: I ask that before you slam me, please read this with an open mind and bear with me. Also this post is not meant to attack or slam any other hunter or post.

For the purpose of entry into the Boone and Crockett Club’s® records, North American big game harvested by the use of the following methods or under the following conditions are ineligible:
I. Spotting or herding game from the air, followed by landing in its vicinity for the purpose of pursuit and shooting;
II. Herding or chasing with the aid of any motorized equipment;
III. Use of electronic communication devices to guide hunters to game, artificial lighting, electronic light intensifying devices (night vision optics), sights with built-in electronic range-finding capabilities, thermal imaging equipment, electronic game calls or cameras/timers/motion tracking devices that transmit images and other information to the hunter;
IV. Confined by artificial barriers, including escape-proof fenced enclosures;
V. Transplanted for the purpose of commercial shooting;
VI. By the use of traps or pharmaceuticals;
VII. While swimming, helpless in deep snow, or helpless in any other natural or artificial medium;
VIII. On another hunter’s license;
IX. Not in full compliance with the game laws or regulations of the federal government or of any state, province, territory, or tribal council on reservations or tribal lands;
Please answer the following questions only if the entry is for a cougar, jaguar, or bear:
Were dogs used in conjunction with the pursuit and harvest of this animal?
Yes No
If the answer to the above question is yes, answer the following statements:
1. I was present on the hunt at the times the dogs were released to pursue this animal.
True False
2. If electronic collars were attached to any of the dogs, receivers were not used to harvest this animal.
True False
To the best of my knowledge the answers to the above statements are true. If the answer to either #1 or #2 above is false, please explain on a separate sheet.
I certify that the trophy scored on this chart was not taken in violation of the conditions listed above. In signing this statement, I understand that if the information provided on this entry is found to be misrepresented or fraudulent in any respect, it will not be accepted into the Awards Program and 1) all of my prior entries are subject to deletion from future editions of Records of North American Big Game 2) future entries may not be accepted.
FAIR CHASE, as defined by the Boone and Crockett Club®, is the ethical, sportsmanlike and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such game animals.
The Boone and Crockett Club® may exclude the entry of any animal that it deems to have been taken in an unethical manner or under conditions deemed inappropriate by the Club.

Now put this in addition to what BUCKHUNTER posted and what happens? You would believe that following these guidelines would promote a fair chase hunting environment. Since regulations, hunting customs, personal code of ethics, and many other factors vary so greatly from region to region, state to state, and locale to locale and hunter to hunter, Isn’t it up to ourselves to decide if something is fair chase or not. If you decide that a certain practice isn’t fair chase, then don’t use it and you will be the most ethical hunter to whom is matters, yourself. Hunting is what each hunter makes of it for themselves. In the state that I hunt, baiting and food plots are legal. So if I use either of these methods to harvest an animal it is considered fair chase not just by my standards but also by Boone and Crockett standards. However I have hunted out of state where baiting is prohibited, I followed that state’s regulations, conformed with their customs and so on. That animal was also harvested under fair chase conditions. My personal code of hunter ethics was the same hunting in both of these places so why would it matter to some if the first animal was shot over bait or a kill plot? Thanks for bearing with me.

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from TM wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

The key to "fair chase" is whether it's sporting enough. Catching stocked trout or shooting stocked pheasants is not very sporting. Same thing goes for high fence hunts.

Hunting a wild animal over bait could be very sporting if you're using your bare hands or a spear. We're asking where to draw the line.

Live baiting wild fish is fair chase to most. Decoy hunting wild turkey and wild ducks is fair chase to most. Yet both entail taking game animals by means of deception.

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from Joshua Devault wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I hunt in Ohio baiting is legal And in the 12 years of hunting I think that may have helped me tag 1 deer. The bottom line is unless it's a feeder on private land, small bait piles are a shot in the dark. It may draw deer near your stand but they might be coming by at 3 am every 4 days. Mean while the raccoons have a hay day. I've always had more success hunting pinch points, funnels ECT. Any one that thinks you can set out some attractant corn and apples then whack and stack hasn't hunted much. I primarily hunt archery so if anything I'm just trying to get them in range. I think small bait isn't much different than hunting a pinch point to a water source. Or near a bedding area except I think you will have more luck with that strategy.

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from Kevin wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

This one could be argued to death. Here in MN you can't bait but you can hunt over minerals, salt, or food plots, with no restriction on the size of the plot. So we can't hunt over say soybeans dumped on the ground but if they are growing out of the ground then it's legal. Where is the sense in that and where is the real difference?! Baiting here in MN is an epidemic with more hunters getting cited every year, it could just as well be made legal and see what the real effects are on the herd. I'm sure that is the DNR's main concern. Plus it may be considered 'unfair chase' in their eyes.

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from Drover1 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

These questions imply the issue is black and white – one practice is fair chase, another isn’t. I think there is a lot of “gray area.” Shooting a deer caged in a 10-foot pen probably isn’t fair chase. Setting out on foot in a 100,000-acre wilderness area and tracking down a deer probably is fair chase. Between those extremes, I see degrees of “more fair” or “less fair.” Most high-fence hunting, for example, seems to me like shooting animals in a zoo. But I realize there are some cases where the fenced areas are very large and the hunting is more challenging. Hunting over bait is illegal in my state and I’m glad, partly because baiting is known to promote disease in deer herds. Food plots are a gray area to me. I see these guys on the TV shows sitting in elevated cabins overlooking a food plot, maybe supplemented with a feeder or two, discussing which deer they want to shoot. It’s legal, but more like grocery shopping than hunting in my opinion, and not what I want to do.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Seeings as they are planted to attract deer to kill the same as a spread out bucket of bait is intended I say yes they are fair chase, just don't profess one is more ethical than the other, same goes for large-nutrition-food plots. As long as the lawmakers in your state say its legal it has to be ethical!

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from TAM9492 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Our grandfather's probably hunted oak flats and funnels where deer were likely to be found. Is that fair chase? I don't see a difference.

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from tuckerj5047 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I think fair chase is very much relative to the hunter and their skill with hunting. This is why many hunters, as they increase in skill, begin using less and less "gadgets" or different methods so the hunt is more of a challenge to them.

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from makersman wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

look at the definitions of the words.

Fair
1. free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decision; a fair judge.
2. legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules: a fair fight.

Chase
1. to pursue in order to seize, overtake, etc.: The police officer chased the thief.
2. to pursue with intent to capture or kill, as game; hunt: to chase deer.

If it is legal by law and by definition and your ethic code as a hunter then have at it.

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from Dave Hurteau wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

tregra,
I feel the need to point out that our great grandfathers--indeed most of the most celebrated early American deer hunters: Audubon, Gerstaecker, Tome, Elliot, Browning…--firehunted deer (spotlighted them at night from a canoe), hunted over mineral licks at night, and chased deer with dogs. Just so you know.

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I agree with you on the fact that although a poacher who spotlights at night may not be violating his own ethical code, I ask you to understand that I did not say ALONE “personal code of ethics decides fair chase or not.” Also I stated that “regulations, hunting customs, personal code of ethics AND many other factors that vary…” make up and define fair chase as many others have given and stated their definitions, perspectives, and etc. about this question. I guess I made the bold assumption that hunters and poachers are two different people. I would say that many hunters would agree with me and say that shooting a deer over a small food plot or a kill plot is another world away from a poacher shooting a deer at night with a spot light as far as fair chase and codes of ethics are concerned.
HUNTER :
1: a person who hunts game
POACHER:
1: one that trespasses or steals
2: one who kills or takes wild animals (as game or fish) illegally

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from Hunter_Fass wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Well stated bberg7794. +1
Even though you say baiting is not fair chase, you make a valid point.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I am working totally from memory, which is dangerous, but I recall the very early definition of Fair Chase forbid hunting from a treestand.

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from NHshtr wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I don't feel that state F&G agencies' regulations define "fair chase". They only define what's legal. The two are not necessarily the same. Also I don't think the B&C dis-qualifiers define it either.

The closest a definition I've seen is by makersman above, by taking the two words definitions literally.

I'm not sure Dave is "going somewhere" with this. I think the topic has generated quite a good discussion as it is.

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from Walt Smith wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

vayotehowler-- I wouldn't listen to what nuget babbles, he's a known game violator and the owner of high fence facilities who preaches fair chase then does the polar opposite, If Fred Bear knew what he was going to morph into I doubt he would have given ted the time of day.

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from Doug Grindle wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Hunter_Faas,
I think that is dangerous ground for you to say..."Since regulations, hunting customs, personal code of ethics, and many other factors vary so greatly from region to region, state to state, and locale to locale and hunter to hunter, Isn’t it up to ourselves to decide if something is fair chase or not. If you decide that a certain practice isn’t fair chase, then don’t use it and you will be the most ethical hunter to whom is matters, yourself."
I'm sure the poacher who spotlights at night is not violating his OWN ethical code. There is such thing as right and wrong outside of what someone's own personal code of ethics might be.
This whole post and associated comments are about defining the line between right and wrong but clearly some things are wrong regardless of "personal ethics".

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

@RES1956 -- Planting food to bring the deer to an area is light years apart from shooting deer in their natural habitat; your comment illustrates my earlier point. All this "food plot" stuff, large or small, has nothing to do with providing a better habitat for deer. Natural deer habitat has nothing thing to do with food plots. Are the food plot guys putting dispersed oak trees in an area? No. Are they planting wild raspberries? No. Young beech? No. It's all about plowing up the ground, and planting CROPS. Peas etc concentrated in both plant density and in targeted nutritional components that are relatively high on most foraging ungulates lists in order to bring the deer to an artificially contrived place on the landscape; that contrived place has about as much resemblance to "natural ecology" as "Biosphere 2" has to a Brazilian rainforest.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Neither of them is "wrong" per se. But neither of them is hunting and neither of them are "fair chase." Both are shooting.

The difference between the farmer who attracts deer to his field and a food plot grower is that the farmer is planting crops for purposes other than attracting deer. The food plot planter is planting food for the purpose of attracting deer, same as the people who use bait.

All that baloney about "improving the habitat" and "making the heard healthier" is self-justifying nonsense. It has nothing to do with habitat improvement. Deer have done just fine for thousands of years without food plots planted specifically for their benefit. And natural deer habitat doesn't have a damb thing to do with peas, soybeans, oats, barley, mustards, or the like.

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from RylieGipson wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

if it wasnt would we be doing it?

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Food plots are not even remotely "like having a natural forage area" anywhere. In answer to your other questions: Where I hunt, deer populations cycle primarily in proportion with drought. There isn't a food plot or farmed field within 10 miles of the place. The foods that deer eat -- mesquite, acorns, juniper, pine nuts, cactus fruit, hackberry, ocotillo,and grasses -- are rather widespread on the landscape, although they tend to vary by elevation.

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from buck16on wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

If it is legal where yu are hunting then it's ok to hunt over food plots/bait. But, I think hunting this way has made the pope & young and boone and Crocket record books kind of a joke. Taking a trophy animal this way means you're a good farmer/baiter but not a great hunter.

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from Hank111 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Thats great to hear Mike. Our saddleclub is allowed to do trailrides in the state park public hunting area and in return, we ride periodically picking up garbage. It's digusting the lack of respect some people have for our public areas, but I am not one of them.

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from Kris24 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Dave....We cant wait to read the post where you pull all of this together. I am very interested to see where you are going with all of this.

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from tregra wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

No way! Our great- grandfathers didn't use "kill plots" and stock feed for the deer. They got along just fine by stalking and hunting the real way. If all you want to do is kill the animal then go ahead and bait them in, but to realize the full experience, don't. Hunting isn't all about the kill, its the chase. If we're going to just sit up in our tree stand and wait for a buck to walk in front of us, we might as well hook the rifle up to a robot and control it from our couch back at home. Come on guys, we all know using food plots are not a true fair chase.

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from JakeT_little.Racks wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

AWFUL pole. (No offense) No question its fair chase. You grow it, maintain it, test it, work hard on it, therefore you can hunt over it.

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from country road wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Yes, I think it is for all the reasons given and for the fact that deer soon recognize that food plots can be dangerous places and will treat them accordingly, coming at night and approaching from downwind. Here in the dense woods and brush where I hunt, it's nice to have an opening to watch and, hopefully, to draw deer in, much like sitting on an oak ridge, which is something that is becoming increasingly rare as the forestry industry clear cuts and replants in pine plantation. Sitting on a food plot is no guarantee that you'll see deer.

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from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

yes they are ethical our grandfathers had different rules by that argument extended they shouldn't have been able to use anything but stones. We are managing wildlife to be more sustainable and healthy, we also securing the future of the animals.

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from bberg7794 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Thanks Hunter_Fass.

I don't always disagree with use of bait. I have never been in a situation where I where would choose to use bait myself, but if I were a rancher in MT and trying to reduce the wolf population I would feel differently, I'm sure. I just think that sometimes hunting and fair chase hunting mean different things, not that either is always right or always wrong.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I too, am looking forward to where Mr. Hurteau is going with this. I aslo find Tregra and jvf's comments very odd. To compare hunting in the vast unbroken forests of Vermont to the thick dense brush of the Deep South, or the farm fields mixed with woodlots around the Great Lakes states is ridiculous.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

also, sorry.

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from Dcast wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I don't see the difference in he last question, so I answered NO again. Once again I don't care if you do it that is your right, just the same with high fence hunting. If high fence hunting in an area of thousands of acres isn't considered fair chase then neither is any sort of baiting. The difference lies in the fact that deer in high fenced area only have so much room to roam but if we're talking thousands of acres they have just as good a chance of evading you as does a deer free to roam. Now putting bait out to lure and ambush a deer is free chase then so should high fence hunting. Both your luring a deer into a confined space to take advantage of them. If we were to campare a hundred acre high fence opporation that is a whole different story and like most it is the equivilent to shooting a pig in a pasture. If it is legal I don't care what you do as long as you support other hunters in their means of taking game animals whether you agree with it or not because they too may not agree with your style. We as hunters hold ourselves at such high standards because of a few loud mouthed activists that we have no chance but to fail. Our ancestors used everything to their advantage to survive and if given the opportunity they would have used and probably did use baiting techniques and other techniques that would be viewed unethical. We as hunters shouldn't allow people to direct the ethics issue or we lose and we should be unashamed and proud of being any style hunter.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Hunting deer over ANY food plot, large or small, is neither hunting nor fair chase. It's just shooting. That said, I support the right to do it. Let's just not kid ourselves that it's all about providing "better ecology for deer." They've been doing fine, thank you, without all of this diet augmentation, for thousands of years.

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from Michael Shepard wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Looks like most of the "hunters" are just like the TV Outdoor Channels food plot hunters...at 63, after 50 years of deer hunting, there are damn few of those TV people I would hunt with, and looks like most in this poll are that way too..no ethics, no morals, and no fair chase..in NW Montana where I hunt, it is true fair chase and I would not trade one of my deer for these fed, damn near pen raised deer you all espire to kill...there is more to hunting than the addiction to antlers,,,,and that is why we are in trouble with the great unwashed non hunting society...

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from Carlton Fuqua wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

could someone please tell me what the word "baiting" means?

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from tobmine wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Fairchase is determined by state law. I South Georgia we can hunt over deer and hogs over FEED, in north Georgia we can only hunt hogs over FEED and not deer. If hunting deer in north Georgia, the feed becomes bait and is illegal. Now, there are many states which allow hunting over FEED and this is legal. It does not take much gray matter between the ears to differentiate between the two words. Hunting over feed is legal and hunting over bait is illegal, regardless of your poor pitiful personal feelings !!! We have enough trouble with anti-hunters, uneducated public and the liberal press. PLEASE, use the right word if hunting over FEED is legal for some species where you live. The phrase; hunting over bait is perceived to be illegal by most people.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

If hunting over food is not fair chase then a bunch of deer I have killed in oak flats, honeysuckle thickets, and browsing in clear cuts were not killed fair chase. It takes a lot of time, effort, boot leather, and savvy to figure out where the deer are dining, but then I guess I am just unethical and a bad hunter.
If you say it's not fair chase killing deer near food, a deer has never been killed fair chase. You can't put me outdoors in a place where I can't show you something a deer will eat.

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from Michael Shepard wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Nother thing I have always said...record books are full of liars...and people with way too much money..I would not trade one of my P&Y entries taken on public grounds for one of those killed by a fellow "hunter" on private property..I challenge myself to harvest a good buck with a longbow or recurve during rifle season here in Montana by being an excellent hunter, not using any food plot, fence or electronic aid in getting a buck if and when I want to kill it..I am old and old school..and do not understand why the egos run so rampant on this issue and on the TV hunting shows..you honor the ethically taken animal..not the hunter..but on TV the hunter and all his sponsors are more important than the questionable ethics taken to harvest said animal...period

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from Big Country wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I said yes this time time to.
I would have jot here sooner but work found and blocked field and stream so now it has to wait for home.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

@Mike Diehl, so shooting a deer in a 600 acre midwest cornfield is OK, but shooting one in a 5 acre cornfield 'foodplot' in the southeast is not?

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Kill plots, meaning 'micro food plots' usually don't work well here in the south. We have so many dang deer that by the time one comes up, it is eaten down in a day or two (or should I say a night or two) resulting in a muddy patch. The concept is good, but I think I would rather expend the energy scouting or throwing some triple 13 on a big honeysuckle patch to sweeten it up and creating a natural kill plot. I guess that is about as ethical as fertilizing a white oak to attract deer to that tree, but then I guess I'm just a 'shooter.'

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from GrantHarland wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

We hunt the animal when it is trying to get it on with the lady deer... It would not be fair chase if we hunted them afterwards while they are watching ESPN's SportsCenter.

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from MPEK wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Ok guys and gals.Does anyone ever remember what the whietail deer population was when this country was settled ? Was pretty thin .How did the population "explode" ? One word , Agriculture. Most all of us are hunting whitetail deer in their travels to and from these Huge foodplots.Unless, of course, you mite be one of the .1% of the hunters who can take the entire hunting season off , fill their backpack with provisions.Get on a track in the most remote areas in North America , walk in 27 miles ,eat moss and rocks if your food gets low, and "Fair Chase' Whitetails. Get real.The next thing I think I mite hear is it isn't "Fair Chase if one uses a flashlite to get to or from his hunting spot .. Get real!!

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Skank,

I'm not "holier" than you. Just better than you.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

@Skank -

It was not meant to be an "intelligent response." It was meant to be an insulting response in repayment for your previous insulting reply. I figure when you want an actual rational discussion you'll show up with something insightful to say, or at least reply to something I actually *wrote* rather than make up something stupid.

I've heard that some people sit back at 300 yards and glass all day for deer. Good on 'em. That strikes me as more "fair chase" than planting peas, oats, barley, soybeans, etc, and hanging a tree stand or hiding out in a blind near the bait plot --- errr --- food plot.

As I noted before, I am just fine with you twiddling your thumbs in your air conditioned blind next to your automatic corn feeder next to your sugar beets plot and deluding yourself into imagining that any of that is all about "the benefit of the deer." I think it is legal and SHOULD be legal. As many have noted, hunting over farmers' fields and orchards is pretty common.

But don't lie to me (it's ok to lie to yourself) and call that "work done to improve habitat" or "done for the benefit of the deer."

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from GrantHarland wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

It seems to be fair chase to me, especially since I don't have much luck hunting over food plots. More luck hunting between food plots and bedding/water.

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from Gary Devine wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I believe if it is legal and written in the state game laws that you can hunt over bait or a food plot then it is fair chase. Bears have the best noses and deer have super hearing and most times they will circle a bait before they come in. All the monster bears that I have over bait with my trail cams are at night time photos.
It is like they know.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure I do more than you. For one thing, I collect on the order of 2 tons of trash annually left behind by people like you in remote areas.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

All right then. If yer ever to be in AZ let me know. That's worth buying you a beer or if you prefer one of those southern style iced teas with so much suger in 'em that your teeth ache just from looking at it. ;)

I want to be clear. For all that, I don't think food plotting is unethical or should be illegal. I just don't see anything that's fair chase about shooting deer from a blind next to a food plot. I don't think there's any chase involved or any hunting involved. The "fair" part is a matter of opinion. Everyone wants to maximize their chances of success, however that is defined. So the whole business is about setting yourself up to take the deer where they are most likely to offer you the best deer for your shot and least likely to notice you before you do.

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from Hank111 wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Mike, If I am ever down that way I'll take you up on that. Make it a beer or a shot of tequila though.

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from MPEK wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Thanks to Hank!!! You pretty much put into words, at length ,as I was trying to say in a my few words .All those who think hunting over Food plots is easy ,don't know hunting .It is as natural as hunting anywhere. Deer are coming and going to and from where they believe they should be for their survival.. And anyone who calls them "KILL -Plots" must hunt at night!!

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from George Lee Hilbish wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I hunt NC/SC. Some areas only allow food plot, some non, and others allow baiting. I prefer baiting.

I think this question relates to the "sport" of hunting which I think is an erroneous concept. I'm out to kill deer, period. Whatever means I can use to make that happen is fair chase in my book within the law. (And I don't agree with the law necessarily.)

You could just as easily ask, "is deer management in the same vein as fair chase?"

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from okiebuckonly wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I keep feeders and food plots in Oklahoma because the soil is so thin and nutrition so bad in my area not only does it not support a huntable population of deer in competition with poachers and livestock, food plots often seem to encourage nocturnal activity because deer can rely on a place to find needed nutrition without having to expose themselves to road hunters , poachers and the "brown is down" crowd. I've had foodplots for years and never killed a deer in one. They do help hold deer in the area instead of them having to increase the range searching for food that is deficient in nutrition.
While Oklahoma's deer population is stable overall, some counties have never produced a trophy buck due to hunting pressure and deficient soils. I try to encourage my neighbors to plant food plots and fertilize natural vegetation and restrict livestock from plots where deer may benefit and cattle get nothing but brush. In some areas if you don't improve your hunting area, you have no hunting area. Of course this doesn't apply in areas of prime farmland and some natural habitat that can support loads of deer.
Food plots and feeders are great for getting photos of deer that you wouldn't know were in the area and may encourage you to spend more time hunting the area but the "unfair advantage" bit is highly overrated.

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from vayotehowler wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

This was actually on Nugent the other night. Is hunting near a mast tree fair chase ? you know the deer will be there to eat .Finding a bedding area knowing will come there to sleep . Virginia says no bait to keep deer from congregating and spreading disease . But you can make a food plot where deer would congregate . It is about the perception with the states . I personally have never baited and dont know that I would (esp since illegal here ,know plenty that do tho.)

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from coachsjike wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

all you guys that said no to hunting over a food plot and that it is not fair chase better tell bill jordan, tiffany and lee lakofsky, stan potts, and the rest of those guys your share!!! i myself do not see anything wrong with it...there is no guarantee that you will get a deer, if anything once they find out you are there, they just wait till dark to come out.

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from Hank111 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Boy that sure was an intelligent response Mike.
Because you can sit behind a rock and whack a deer at 300 yards with your high power rifle, makes you better than someone who who bowhunts in farm country, that has to fool the senses of many deer at CLOSE range. Get real.

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from Hank111 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Mike- My response was aimed directly at what you always write and was pretty clear. You are the one that is insulting everyone that owns their own hunting area and works hard to make it better, when you get on your soapbox and spew about things you know nothing about. I get, from your previous posts, that where you hunt in Arizona, you have less than 2 weeks to gun hunt per year, and if you dont shoot the first deer you see, you may not get another shot. Of course we would like to tag a big buck every year, but thats only a small part of making our hunting areas better. Yeah deer have got by fine forever without help, but we want more than just getting by. When I bought my farm 15 years ago, it had been totally overgrazed by cattle, like most farms around here, and maybe held 10-20 deer at the most. There was no browse availabe in the timber. Now the cattle are gone, thru years of hingecutting trees, putting back in nativegrasses, planting tons of new trees and more nutritious food sources, I now hold a much larger and healthier herd. We dont shoot a buck until he is fully mature, 5+ years old, so the age structures are like nature intended them to be, unlike most public and overhunted land where most bucks are killed before reaching 3 years old and spreading their genetics. Since you probably have never seen a 5 year old buck, you would not know that they are a totally different animal to HUNT. Actually by making all these improvements with cover and feed I have made them much harder to HUNT. They dont need to feed during daylight in the open and since they have been around the block a few times, dont make the mistakes young bucks do. I could care less about you OPINIONS, but get real sick of you insulting everyone that works on their farms 12 months a year to make it better for the deer herd, ourselves and all the other wildlife that live there. I have killed enough deer over the years to where that is only a very small part of it, which is what you don't get.Your only arguements ever are the labels you like to use, deer farming-sure it is, hunting vs shooting that you are tolly wrong. The only difference in what we do is that we dont just go out for a week or so per year, try to kill a deer and spend the rest of the year pecking on the keyboard never giving anything back, trying to make yourself sound superior. Do you do anything in the offseason to give back? Probably not, just another taker.I stand by the fact that people like us that strive to make their hunting areas better, in a region where habitat is being lost at an alarming rate and access to hunting land is getting extremely tough to get, are the true HUNTERS, not just TAKERS.
Again, Dave lets see your next poll be about what is HUNTING.I am sure I am not the only one sick and tired of Mikes labels.

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from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

mike diehl- what were the deer numbers at in the area you hunt 20 years? 30 years ago? 50 years ago? and if there are records of it 100years ago? Now what was the population of humans in relation to these numbers at those times? Then please humour me take a stab at the size of natural predators numbers at those times.
You narrow minded approach of deer management is laughable. Deer hunting exists in many places due to the retention of habitat and either inadvertent feeding of deer with farming practices, food plots are an extension of this. When you plant food plots are not only feeding deer many animals eat at the plots, much like having a natural area of foliage in a forest a hundred or even a 1000 years ago.

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from Hank111 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

Mike, I sure hate to beat this dead horse with you again, but your holier than thou attitude about what is hunting, shows how clueless you really are. I know a ton of landowners just like me that work hard to make their farms a deer paradise, by doing timber stand improvement, [creating more natural browse] and yes planting tons of different feeding areas, so they have good nutrition 12 months of the year, not just a "kill" plot that only attracts during the fall season. And yes it is to attract and hold deer but not always to hunt over.Many of these landowners are non-residents who can only draw an Iowa tag every 3 years, but they still put the same time and effort in every year to make their farms better.You are not giving the deer enough credit, if you think, just because you plant a food plot a mature buck is gonna just walk right out to be shot during broad daylight. You obviously dont know much about whitetails. I would like to see the next poll be, Is killing deer on a farm with any food plots, hunting? I sure believe it is, as most on here probably do.

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