I really like some of what Rasch has to say here. An excerpt:
While I agree with the premise that American wildlife is a public resource, I object to the idea that because I own the real estate they inhabit, I should be prohibited from profiting from their presence or for granting someone access to them, whatever the reason. Never mind that I have a very real interest in wildlife management, once that fence goes up I am publicly stating that I choose to use the land I own in any way I wish, from plowing it up and flattening it out for mono-culture corn growing, to highly ethical permaculture based land use. Regardless, from the perspective of anyone but the landowner, access is now prohibited in very real terms, to not only the real estate, but from everything animate and inanimate upon the dirt.
Again, in principal I do not disagree with Tovar and the others with respect to the unpalatability of some enclosed or put and take operations. My objection to banning the use of high fence hunting is simply one of liberty, private property, and the libertarian ideals. Bad apples will be weeded out, of that there is no doubt - the internet makes darn sure that everything gets way out in the open - and the market soon adjusts to the realities on the ground. But seriously, how many operations are there out there with an elk in a cage and a corral for some knuckle head to shoot it in? How many of you know of someone with a twenty acre high fence enclosure, billing itself as a trophy hunting mecca? Business excesses of that sort, should they exist, can be dealt with through the legislative process if the market forces don't resolve it. . . .
The probability of someone hand feeding an elk, supplementing his diet with high protein pellets and vitamin tablets, in an attempt to raise a 400 class bull, is pretty high. If that person then releases it into an enclosure regardless of size, shoots it, and then hangs it on the wall for all to see, that's his choice. It wouldn't be my choice of course. It might not be yours either. Now if he sold you the right to shoot that bull, that would be your choice to buy it... or not. It's up to you. I just don't see the moral dilemma.Rasch is led to ask "why High Fence ranches exist in the first place," and while I am not sure I agree 100% with his market analysis, I do agree that high fence ranches symbolize a failure of modern, publicly-funded game management to give hunters what they desire. The state of Pennsylvania, for example, has just spent the past ten years trying to implement the rudiments of a Quality Deer Management system. It has not been an easy process, and the jury is still out whether it works or not. If private companies can do better what the state cannot, then I think we should at least have that discussion.
My argumentative buddy Dukkiller ( The Daily Limit, see his post The “Facts” About High Fence Shooting?!?. He is a lawyer after all..) often reminds me that the problem starts when you call that hunting. I don't disagree with him entirely; I wouldn't call that hunting either. In some cases its plain old shooting. But that's none of my business. That's the chump who paid big money for a semi-tame elk so he could hang it on the wall, that's his business. I would prefer that he keeps his business to himself too.
The failure of states like Pennsylvania to produce a quality deer hunting experience for a certain percentage of hunters seems to me to be another casualty of an exclusive "we hunt for food" philosophy. While many hunters enjoy eating the food that hunting yields, food is not the sole motivator for many hunters. Managers who downplay other motivations--including aesthetic motivations for sport and trophy--perhaps are guilty of a kind of blind spot.
At any rate, a very thought-provoking piece by Albert Rasch.