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Old October 12, 2005, 10:26 AM   #1
tjhands
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Ethics of hunting at feed stations

I haven't been hunting in about 15 years or so, and even then it was only for small game. I have no ethical problem with hunting whatsoever, but after watching a show on the Men's Channel this weekend, I do have a question to put forth.

My question involves shooting from a tree stand directly overlooking an automatic feed station. What are the generally accepted views of this from a sporting point of view? I mean the guy who shot the buck acted like he had stalked this deer on an arduous hunt, through swamps and over mountains. How proud could he be? A machine chucked some food out, deer naturally came in to eat and he picked one off. It looked like shooting fish in a barrel to me. Might as well cage them up in a 6-foot pen and shoot them from there.

Again, I'm not bashing the sport, and maybe I'm so far out of the loop that I'm getting it all wrong, but what's the deal here? Isn't taking an animal that you had to stalk and match wits with on its own playing field the most gratifying way to hunt? The next show I watched showed a guy out on the open plains with big carribou horns on his head, slowly getting closer to his quarry two cautious steps at a time while the animal watched him and didn't spook at all. When he got within distance, he planted a perfect shot with an arrow. Now THAT was exciting! I can 100% understand why that guy felt AWESOME standing over his animal. I just didn't see how this feeder method could possibly be thrilling at all.

Educate me.
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Old October 12, 2005, 10:53 AM   #2
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I would never do it.


Just the thought makes me wanna :barf:

Maybe it's ok for some but they'll never convince me that it's a "sport".

I don't care if there was a B&C world record guaranteed, I would not "hunt" this way.
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Old October 12, 2005, 12:52 PM   #3
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I gotta agree with you guys. I believe in "active stalk". that's why I enjoy bowhunting. Gives you a chance to move quietly and watch your prey. I do the same with a rifle and shotgun. I just think it's respect to the animal and to the hunt itself to "hunt" instead of sitting over a baited area. But again, then we get into another can of worms. Ie. Doe Estrus in a bottle, grunt calls, bleat calls, etc. Just my .2
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Old October 12, 2005, 12:58 PM   #4
tjhands
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I have to acknowledge a double standard here with myself. When I fish in my friend's farmpond, I often throw out food pellets to bring the big bluegills in and then cast out for them. Until now I never thought of it as unethical, but it's doing the exact same thing as these hunters are doing. Hmmmm......
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Old October 12, 2005, 01:05 PM   #5
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unethical +1
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Old October 12, 2005, 01:47 PM   #6
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Fishermen put worms on a hook.
Same concept in my book.
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Old October 12, 2005, 02:00 PM   #7
leadcounsel
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That's not hunting. Where's the sport in that?
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Old October 12, 2005, 02:57 PM   #8
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The only counter-argument I've heard to refute the "unethical hunting" allegation is based on the hunting environment. In certain areas of the country (Texas, for example) the brush is so thick and high that you can't see the deer to shoot 'em unless you have a feeder near an open area.

I'm not saying I agree; just that this is what I've heard.
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Old October 12, 2005, 02:58 PM   #9
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Can't explain it, but fishing and hunting mammals just seems so different to me...
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Old October 12, 2005, 03:22 PM   #10
siotwo
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I'll hunt over a feeder, or a natural funnel leading to a feeder (I'll even bait a catfish hole!!)....but I don't jump around like it is the greatest hunt ever. Then again, any kill with a rifle is not very exciting. Sure, after hiking/sneaking around, the hunt itself is something to get excited about.

The shows are a bit silly, I think we all agree.
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Old October 12, 2005, 03:43 PM   #11
VirgilCaine
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Hunting is a business. It means money for Cabela's, it means money for states visa vis lisences, it means money for the towns where hunting land is available. Hunters buy gas, food, beer, stay in motels and rent cabins. Some take their kills to local processors and butcher shops.

The days of the 2 week long deer camp are over for the most part. Todays hunter hunts on weekends. He typically gets saturday and half of sunday, then it's back to the grind.

Yes, there are few of us left who pre-scout for trails and rub lines, maybe even spot a pre-season buck or two. But that is not the way of the modern power hunter.

In order for states to sell tags, and for local economies to cash in on hunting season, and for the over all health and vitality of deer herds, John Q. Hunter needs to see and get shots at deer to keep him coming year after year.

The best way to do this is to let him hunt over bait if he wants to.

What about food plots, and hay fields? Apple trees? Seems like it's all the same to me. It ups the percentage for hunters.

I don't bait, but I hunt the edge of an apple orchard. Ethical? Might be splittin hairs here, gang.
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Old October 12, 2005, 05:07 PM   #12
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I'm that guy in central texas that works mon to sat, packs up after work and heads to my deer lease where I meet 5 of my best buddies. Their most likely already drunk when I get there so of course I do my best to catch up. We sit around the fire and tell lies or play some very competitive dominoes until around midnight. The alarm goes off at 4:30 and its time to get in the stand. I do this every Sunday during deer season, and take my boys sometimes. I watch tons of deer at my feeder and will usually put a couple of does in the freezer that I process myself. I have become a gourmet venison chef btw. We have 900 acres with as many as 7 hunters.Still hunting (stalk hunting), really is not an option here. But the reason I do it is because I enjoy it.I would love to stalk antelope in the open plains or whitetail in the rockies of Colorado. But I appreciate the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, shoot my guns, spend time with my kids and friends. If that is unethical the so be it.
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Old October 12, 2005, 05:12 PM   #13
butch50
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Here in Texas I think it came about mostly due to economics. The majority of hunters lease private land. The landowners can get more money per lease if they can get more hunters on it. Setting up feeders and limiting hunters to hunting from pre-positioned stands only, allows for more hunters per lease, hence more money for the land owner.

Personally I think hunting over an automatic feeder is not remotely hunting, and violates fair chase egregiously, and that the people who do it should not do it. The theory that thick brush justifies automatic feeders is pretty lame - stands in thick brush yes, but auto feeders no.

But my opinion in Texas is in the .00000000001% minority. Too many lazy shooters willing to sit over bait and wait for a trained deer to show up at a pre-selected spot at a pre-selected time. Too many greedy land owners trying to squeeze in one more hunter to get one more fee.

It ain't gonna change down here, ever. More's the pity.
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Old October 12, 2005, 06:00 PM   #14
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Ethically it's no different than setting up on a natural food source, watering hole, mineral lick, using a call, scent or decoys. I hunt to fill the freezer. I also fish for salmon with a net. I'll take any legal advantage I can get. "Sport" is for those with a lack of constructive things to do in their life.
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Old October 12, 2005, 08:00 PM   #15
Cowled_Wolfe
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I think a naturally occurring resource is a bit different... You can't say "gee, that tree would be perfect for a stand if there were just a watering hole right below it". But, you CAN find the perfect spot and lure deer to it with a feeder.

It's not unethical, IMO, as long as you make as clean a kill as possible... For a meat/sustinance hunter, I think it's perfectly acceptable...

But if you're just killing for that awsome rack, or you (and your family's) mouths aren't heavily dependant on a successful season, I think it's kind of cheap. Not wrong. Just cheap.

Rather than hunting, it's just target practice.

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Old October 12, 2005, 08:06 PM   #16
butch50
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Ethically it's no different than setting up on a natural food source, watering hole, mineral lick, using a call, scent or decoys
I see a difference. The difference is that setting up on a natural food source etc, doesn't have the element of training the deer to be there at a specific time. The auto feeder goes off at the same time every day, and the deer learn when to be there. The deer are conditioned. Sitting by an oak tree waiting for a deer to come get an acorn is far more random.

Hunting for subsistence is an entirely different matter. If you are truly dependent upon the meat that you shoot, then there are no ethical considerations. Survival knows no ethics.
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Old October 12, 2005, 08:55 PM   #17
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In the community where I live, you can easily call a deer to within point blank range with bag of carrots and then blow it away. But, that doesn't mean I'm going to do it
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Old October 12, 2005, 09:03 PM   #18
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It's legal in Texas because of the over population of deer. Hunters are encouraged to shoot deer to prevent chronic wasting disease, starvation, road kill, etc. What other state can you shoot 5 deer a year? (Depending on county). Is it ethical? No. But huntng in Texas is more commercialized than in any other state IMO. Where else do they breed deer? How's that for ethical? How about high fencing ranches and leases? It may not be ethical, or the most challenging of hunting, but it is still great to go where the cell phones don't work, hang out with your buddies or your kids and have a great time.
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Old October 13, 2005, 08:53 AM   #19
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Where you have a lot of deer, and your primary interest is putting meat in the freezer, such a stand hunt is just fine. One thing about it, your odds of any sort of trophy buck are rather low. It's not a bad deal for a beginner, either. It lets you get a handle on how deer behave, for one thing. And, once you get used to seeing deer, shooting at a specific place on a deer and not just "in the middle", you can be more relaxed and competent at other types of hunting. Think "Learning process".

I'm generally in accord with Butch as to how to hunt, where I'm actually looking for a "real" buck. Cross-country walking, or, playing sneaky snake in swamps or brush is a lot more fun for me, and it's obviously more challenging, overall. But, back when I had way too many deer on the old family ranch, I'd drive out to the back pasture, shoot a doe from the jeep, and have her cut and wrapped and in the freezer in not much over an hour--but I didn't particularly think of it as "hunting".

Joven, while I don't like the notion of the Texas breeding programs to create trophy whitetails, remember that those high fences are to keep deer out, not hold deer in. It takes a lot of work and money to upgrade pastures and cull a herd down to proper numbers for the habitat. You don't want the neighboring deer flooding in to eat the goodies. No different from a rancher with registered purebreds on alfalfa fields who doesn't want the neighbor's scrubs coming in, eating and breeding.

, Art
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Old October 13, 2005, 01:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
But, back when I had way too many deer on the old family ranch, I'd drive out to the back pasture, shoot a doe from the jeep, and have her cut and wrapped and in the freezer in not much over an hour--but I didn't particularly think of it as "hunting".
This is about all I have time for these days.

Mejor que nada! (It's better than nothing!)
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Old October 13, 2005, 03:45 PM   #21
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As long as you clip the ear tags and remove the halters before you take them to be processed I think it's fine.
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Old October 13, 2005, 09:49 PM   #22
Ron Ankeny
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I'll take any legal advantage I can get.
Hunting over a feeder happens to be illegal in my state (Wyoming). So is putting out salt licks, etc. But it's perfectly legal to shoot a migratory elk right off of their winter feedgrounds. In the first case, wholesale baiting is just considered so contrary to fair chase that it was banned. In the second case, it is the method used to manage the herd. When in Rome...
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Old October 16, 2005, 08:34 PM   #23
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We are currently having this debate in Georgia. Whether to legalize baiting or not.

I personally have no problem with baiting, but it is harvesting...not hunting.

Even still, I will not condemn the "hunter" who claims his trophy at 200yards under a feeder.

I will, however, have comfort in the Knowledge that I killed my doe in the swamp due to sneakiness.

Kinda like the guy with a can of worms and the guy with a flyrod discussing tactics for trout, and comparing stringers of fish. They both have different mileposts for success.

Or, the buck I patterned for the last two years...watching him grow from a forkhorn to a beautiful 5x6 droptine... to see him in the back of the truck shot by a feeder. Or chasing does...kinda the same thing isn't it?

I hate the thought of "purists" amongst us, dividing us against ourselves.

We are too few.

I would rather have the feeder hunter bag "my" buck than a '04 BMW. Eventually every deer will die.
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Old October 16, 2005, 08:38 PM   #24
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Beating the Dead Horse... AGAIN...LOL

I say as long as its a legal method if hunting folks can do what they want to.
Hunt which ever way you want. Hunting is almost like religion, never bellitle or insult another mans religion is a pretty good rule....a good rule to apply to a lot of things.
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Old October 16, 2005, 08:59 PM   #25
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IMO......

I don't think it is right for a trophy hunter to take a huge buck at a feeder, while sitting in a tree stand a few yards away, and then act like he's actually done something skillful.

Hunting for food, whether you depend on it for survival or not, I would say use every legal means available.
If I depended upon the meat for the survival of my family, I would do whatever it takes, legal or not.
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