View Full Version : One way deer gates to high fence ranches

February 12, 2008, 01:49 PM
This is unbelievable to me but an article in last Sundays Austin American Statesman exposed some unscrupulous high fence ranchers in Texas that make a one way gate next to a neighboring property with a corn feeder on the inside.

Deer come in but cannot return to the ranch from which it came.I think most high fence ranches try to enrich their herd by keeping genetically challenged bucks out of their property, but these sob's actually steal their neighbors deer!

I can't even believe this is a legal practice. Certainly not ethical in my opinion.:barf:

Here's a link to Mike Leggett's article...


February 12, 2008, 08:03 PM
Terribly unethical, yes, but I can't really think of any legal way to address it. In fact, the high-fencers might actually be right - not just absent wrongdoing, but supported by positive law. This is because traditionally, things in nature require some effort to convert them to one's own property. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierson_v._Post That's the standard first-year property reading on the issue. While I'm sure it's spiraled in many directions I don't care to research right now, that's your basic foundation - the one who deprives the animal of its liberty is the rightful possessor. By erecting the high fence and going to the effort of capturing the deer, the ranchers would seem to satisfy that test. Traditional law of capture is the umbrella under which PvP would fall, and would typically support this finding. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_capture

That is not to say there aren't equitable complications on the issue. In a time where deer populations can directly affect one's property value if it was purchased for or might be sold as hunting land, there is clearly some connection between "hoarding" the lands' resources. The law of capture has been obviated by state legislatures in a number of ways (see above wiki article in general). If this becomes a big enough problem, perhaps deer populations could be estimated and prorated where fencing occurs, although even then, you run into the problem of rancher potentially keeping only the quality trophies and releasing sub-par animals to meet per-area quotas.

Further, I doubt it would be easy to get legislatures motivated, especially in states where big-city politics steamroll concerns relating to non-hippie conservation efforts. Therefore, a private solution is probably the best option, at least for the time-being. A neighbor could contract with the rancher, or erect their own mirroring gates. But this does further harm to one who is seeking to reduce their harm (costs incurred) already. So perhaps, provided the ranchers' neighbors have adequate acreage, the best option would be to obstruct the ranchers' use of those gates by interfering with the deer's travel there. You obviously can't block the gates directly if they are off your property, but you could block the usual deer travel paths, install noise or scare devices, put down the hair or waste of predatory animals, frequent the areas yourself and leave scent behind, etc. Maybe even set traps of your own with more attractive bait more available to the deer near the gates, trap the deer, and then scare the piss out of them before you release them so they never come back to that gate again. Not sure how the DNR would feel about that last option though. Sucks, but that's about all I can think of (that wouldn't be terribly expensive) given the current state of the law.

Definitely interesting to see how this one plays out.

February 12, 2008, 08:24 PM
If someone did that on my property line I would put my own fence across the opening - so that my livestock couldn't escape, of course.

Art Eatman
February 12, 2008, 11:41 PM
Strange! Most places with high fences, from everything I've read, are trying to NOT have a lot of deer. Fewer, but of larger size. I dunno. Maybe they started with a low population? I know a bunch of us hunted a ranch north of Uvalde for a couple of years, and there just weren't many deer on the place. Nobody could figure out why. And we darned sure weren't some bunch of know-nothings about deer sign and finding deer. This was the old Rogers ranch on the Rocksprings highway, with Dolph Briscoe having the grass and hunting rights. Basically, good deer country.


February 13, 2008, 05:28 AM
I't is coming to the point where everyone will high fence their land, it's almost that way now.

Each land owner will manage his own deer herd and lease the land or run pay by the animal hunts.

It started with the people who bought exotic animals and did not want them to escape, and now with the going rate for a muy grande running from about $6500 to $10,000+ there is a large incentive to be able to furnish the big ones.

However I find it hard to believe that this is going on on the large ranches.

Why would a 40,000+ acre ranch with a premium deer herd(probably with imported Wisconsin bucks to stregthen the herd) waste time with a small door you open with a rope and pulleys?

February 13, 2008, 08:54 AM
high fence ranches are going to be hunting's downfall........who the hell can afford a 10,000 dollar whitetail hunt???

February 13, 2008, 09:03 AM
Rich people can they do it all the time.

February 13, 2008, 09:16 AM
Take my word for it hunting on a high fence ranch in Texas or a Quail Plantation in Georgia or whatever is just as much fun (maybe more so) than hunting other places.

The only people I have ever talked to who don't think it's fun or good have never been to one.

You get to see lots of game and can do as much shooting as you can afford.

I really like those quail plantations they flight train the birds in a 100 yd long pens by putting a cat in there with them.

They flush just as good and fly just as fast as wild birds. And you can have them salt the earth with them and shoot till your tired of shooting.

As far as a high fence ranch being like a zoo are a canned hunt, were talking about places with tens of thousands of acres.

I hunted on one close to Laredo a couple of years ago that was forty thousand acres.

I could put someone in a hundred acres of woods with 25 deer and they might never see one.

February 13, 2008, 11:33 AM
The hog operation I hunted in Texas used the one-way gates to lure more hogs in. It was a small place, and I would never go back there (300 acres). Bad planning on my part to end up there in the first place.

They had a good number of hogs, but they were all small - biggest one killed when we were there was maybe 130 lbs. I think they just ran so many hunters through that small space, they did not have a chance to get big, and the operations had to keep replenishing the hogs through the gates.

Art Eatman
February 15, 2008, 11:21 AM
I first ran into the problem of people with more money than time some years back when friends with a river outfitter (rafting the Rio Grande) were considering some sort of airplane service.

Terlingua is a helluva long way from any major population center. No commercial air service closer that Midland/Odessa, 140 miles away. 420 miles from San Antonio by highway. That makes it hard for somebody with just a two-day weekend to do an overnight raft trip.

Same for many hunters. Money, yeah, but little free time.

A chance for big money from folks in a hurry can lead to all manner of "sharpshooters" coming into a marketplace. Most are quite ethical, some are not.

But I still don't understand "stealing" deer. So much of Texas is way overloaded with deer...


T. O'Heir
February 18, 2008, 03:44 AM
If Bambi wants to go somewhere, he'll find way. Fenced or not. He'll go under a fence if he can't jump it. And Bambi can jump higher than any Olympic high jumper.

Art Eatman
February 18, 2008, 09:57 AM
Naw, an eight-foot fence will pretty much keep Bambi at home. And part of the maintenance of such a fence is closure of "crawl-unders". That's what fence-riding is all about.

Unless a deer is being chased, there seems to be a limit in their mind around the five- or six-foot height. A "Why bother?" thing, I guess.

February 22, 2008, 01:05 AM
This is the first that I've heard of the one way gates. Thats crazy, but I've heard of similar practices down here in South Texas before. I've heard of several ranches that were putting up high fences. They would have the high fence laying on the ground and would corn down the area very heavily to get the deer from the other property, on to there's eating the corn and then raise the fence. Probably not as effective as the one way gate, but it would work. I think I could think of ways to repay that land owner if I had the property loosing the deer. The deer hunting down here in South Texas is such a big business now, just about all the ranches are putting up the high fences. Everywhere you drive, you see more high fences going up everyday. Heck, now there even putting barb wire and razor wire on the top of the high fences to keep the illegals out of the property. The ranches are starting to look like prisons down here. There kind of screwing themselves by putting up the razor wire, because the illegals just cut the fence now instead of climbing them.

Double Naught Spy
February 22, 2008, 07:24 AM
Deer come in but cannot return to the ranch from which it came.I think most high fence ranches try to enrich their herd by keeping genetically challenged bucks out of their property, but these sob's actually steal their neighbors deer!

The deer don't belong to the landowners. So there is no theft occurring.

As for the practice not being ethical. Ethics are a standard not applied by all. So while you may feel it isn't ethical, the guy doing it may feel that it is.

February 22, 2008, 08:00 AM
Several years ago there was a guy in Lawton, OK who decided to start a paying elk and deer ranch. He bought a huge place that borders the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge. Instead of going out and buying some elk, he just cut the Refuge fence. He then proceeded to federal prison for a couple of years.

February 24, 2008, 06:59 PM
First, that looks like the gate I put on my hog traps. It works.
Second, There is a private ranch just west of Sherman, TX that built a 8 ft, fence and 3 strand barbed wire top. They brought in the doser and built up a burm just outside that fence. The top of the burm is only 3 feet from the fence. They put feeders inside and the deer jump down to get in and they are trapped. Once the does are in heat and inside the fence, Johnny Buck can't help himself and in he comes.

They may have cut the burm before they put up the fence. I dunno. I only know there are deer laying in the shade inside the fence.