There are many establishments that promise hunters great prospects if they pay to hunt on their “preserve” or ranch, but much of the time hunters are being lured into exotic animal farms made up to sound like natural open hunting land that is protected by something other than tall fences. In this episode I talk about these kinds of situations in depth and answer a lot of questions. 

Alot has been said against hunting preserves, and high fence areas, and not all without cause. But on this podcast episode I break down this type of hunting utilizing an objective framework and what I define as the three main elements of fair chase in an attempt to provide an unbiased overview. 

Is there something morally wrong about going to preserve or high fence areas? Of course not! But at the same time, is it still considered legitimate hunting? These are the kinds of questions I tackle in this episode. 

Some people leave the impression that if the enclosure is large enough then it is very similar to open land hunting, but usually this really couldn’t be further from the truth. Often times the animals are not living in their native habitat, sometimes they are thousands of miles from anywhere they would choose to live and are simply doing the best they can in the space they have, similar in some ways to the zoo.

But even native animals are not able to establish native patterns and tendencies due to space limitations or if nothing less, artificial population density. Most of time these animals do not have 6,000 acres on which to roam. And even then, 6,000 acres only equates to about 6 square miles. Which while it sounds like a lot, is very limiting for certain types of game. 

The bottom line is fair chase is voided in these types of scenarios. Which is part of the reason why the game commission usually considers them farms instead of game lands or even private hunting lands. Which is why you often do not need to buy tags to hunt there. It’s not that much different than going to a farmer and paying them to shoot their cattle. If they animals are owned and considered property, it’s not hunting. Even if you sit and wait in a tree for an hour for the deer or elk to wake up and go to get its breakfast. 

If you are paying for each antler point or select your deer in advance from a list of named animals, that should be a fairly big clue that this is not legitimate hunting.

Sometimes guides or outfitters will secretly take hunters to these kinds of areas if public land hunts fail. Unless the hunter is very keen and aware, they may not even know they were driven to a preserve on day 5 of their hunt. The guide may well lie or work to distract the hunter from picking out key details to realize where they are.

All of that said, there are still times and places where preserves do have a legitimate function. Listen to the entire podcast episode in order hear all of the details.