You Can't Have Your Deer Hunting and Watch It, Too

Can't find a place to hunt? Can't afford it if you do?

I'll tell you the problem. Television. Evangelical Christians have long known that TV is the tool of the devil. (Google it and see for yourself). Turns out they're right.

Yesterday I talked to a man in Texas named Troy Barker. For the past 20 years, in his off time, he has been hooking up landowners and deer hunters. He doesn't make a penny doing it. He just discovered that he likes helping manage good deer leases. He says that where he hunts in west Texas, leases that went for $2 to $3 an acre before 2005 jumped to $6 to $10 dollars an acre by 2007 and have continued to go up since. Which, he said, correlates with the rise in popularity of hunting TV shows.

The Midwest has seen similar skyrocketing lease prices since the mid 2000s, to the point where the average lease in the best states now runs $25 to $35 an acre. (Don't believe it; check out the chart above from deerpros.com). And prime land in the top counties goes for even more.

"Basically," said Barker, "you suddenly started seeing a whole new kind of customer around that time. A guy who equated deer hunting with a TV show. He didn't know beans about deer hunting, but he'd seen it on TV, liked it, and decided he wanted in."

He tells the story of taking one such guy for a tour of some land that was being offered for lease. "We drove by some cattle pens with 6-foot fences around them. And the guy said, 'So is that where you keep the bucks?'"

"Seriously?" I asked. "So what did you say?"

"I looked him right in the eye and said, 'Only in the winter.' And, mentally, crossed his name off the list."

And you thought TV was just bad for your kids.