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Until I was about 67 years old I had only killed a few deer from an elevated stand and never one over bait. From my youth I was a walk and stalk hunter, often shooting them in their bed at high noon, whitetail, mule deer, mountain deer, desert deer, did not matter they were deer and they were bucks.

I grew up hunting in Texas where bow hunting from a tree was OK, but with a gun, not at all. It was like shooting quail on the ground, below the dignity of any grown man and certainly not sporting. Much like shooting deer with a spotlight, a despicable thing to do, unless a person was feeding his kids, at which time it was just fine. But that was long ago.

Now being limited in mobility and not able to chase them down or sneak along creek or river bottoms, or even walk very far, I justify them as necessary, although, I have found ground blinds work just fine also.

Then there are feeders. Feeders train deer to come to a single spot on the planet to get their daily ration, in fact they train the does to not stray far and the bucks have zero choice but to come close if they want time with the ladies. So "hunting" is easy, just get comfy and wait.

That prompted this question. Have we changed the challenge of hunting into just manipulating an animal into a single spot on the planet so we can pop him, take pictures on the cell and send out to everyone on the planet showing how great a hunter we truly are?

For reference recall the great Benoit family a guy and his 3 sons who killed dozens of huge bucks by tracking and stalking and traditional still hunting, what was simply stealthily sneaking through the brush. Before comments consider the following.

1. https://www.americanhunter.org/articles/2014/5/12/legendary-whitetail-hunter-larry-benoit-lives-on/

"They're hiding in a treehouse somewhere, and if the guy had a suit and tie on it wouldn't make any difference. And they're whispering. Why are they whispering? The deer comes out and he's at the deer feeder, which goes off every day at the same time. It's all prearranged. The deer's getting killed on Wednesday."

2. https://benoitsbigbucks.com/

Lanny and Shane have hunted public land from parts of Canada, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont where they grew up and honed their hunting skills as boys and young men. Since then they have taken over 150 200lb plus bucks (all on public land

3. Unethical hunting definition, Texas. Deer genetics and high fence hunting.
  • Hunting game confined by fences or enclosures, or game transplanted solely for the purpose of commercial shootinghttps://tpwd.texas.gov/education/hunter-education/online-course/responsible-and-ethical-hunting/hunting-ethics.
4. Ted Nugent illegally baiting deer and shooting spike. https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/crime/article24590587.html

5. Killing deer with corn. https://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/whitetail-365/dont-feed-the-deer-how-corn-can-be-a-killer/ Feeding corn to deer can kill them, and generally not good for them.


Just wondering if we have gone beyond the point of being sportsman. Just because the local legislature says it is legal does not make it sporting. Comments.
 

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To Hunt:

verb
  1. 1.
    pursue and kill (a wild animal) for sport or food.
    "in the autumn they hunted deer"
1.2.
search determinedly for someone or something.
"he desperately hunted for a new job"

noun
a search


I totally agree. Shooting an animal that is conditioned to come to bait is not hunting. Hunting is the act of going out an finding it, in its natural habitat.

Now, if you hike out somewhere and set up a blind and sit an wait, fine, as long as no bait is involved.
 

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Ranger4, I'm a native Texan and have hunted deer since the mid-70's. I've stalked them, hid in the brush, climbed tree's, used ground blinds, tower blinds, and built me a mobile condo on wheels for my last blind.
I hunt on a low fenced ranch on the Red river (Texas-Oklahoma border). We have protein & corn feeder's all over the ranch to supplement food for the game. That doesn't mean that the deer will "always" be there when you are hunting-especially the mature buck's. It's fair chase, sometimes you see them, sometimes you don't.
We have game camera's set up all over the place, and some buck's you will only see once or twice on camera, then never see them again. They travel large area's since there aren't any high fenced places in the area to hold them.

We also plant food plots - soybeans, winter wheat, clover. That's where the majority of the deer are taken.

Just because you have feeder's doesn't mean it's a point and shoot type of hunt. Yes, it does make it easier to shoot doe's and feral pig's, but big buck's don't get big by being stupid.

High fence hunting is completely different. Most of the animal's are from farm raised genetically altered animals bred to have huge antlers. They are fed from feeder's since they were born, and go to them daily in most cases.

Texas is different than most states since it allows the use of feeder's / baiting. But, the state is mainly hunted on Privately owned land and there's not much Public land to hunt on in the state without a lot of restrictions such as Archery only, or Shotgun only areas.

I'd say the hunting that I do is sporting, I've come home empty handed more than I have with a cooler full of meat. Just because I know they are there, doesn't mean that I will have the opportunity to shoot one. Plus, I've past on shooting plenty. There's something majestic about watching a big mature buck doing what he does best.
I'm a meat hunter, not a trophy hunter!
 

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In early October, there was a night hunting deer kill in Wesley, Maine. I saw the pictures of the kill. A beautiful 8 point buck, heavy in body - just an awesome looking deer. Wardens had estimated about 230 lbs. All the poachers took was a roast out of the hind quarters and the tenderloins. It was a very neat, expert butcher job. They took exactly the choicest parts of that buck and left the rest to rot. They had a reward for information on who did it but I never heard if the poacher was caught.
Heck, that rack was truly mount-worthy.
Just left to rot.

Wesley is in Washington County Maine about 20 miles west of Machais. A relatively poor part of Maine. Most everyone would have no hard feelings for anyone who jacked a deer to feed the family, and used all the meat. Wardens will never say it but they too have looked the other way as long as it was needed and it wasn't done blatantly.

I don't care to watch "Hunting" programs that show how they hunt over feeders. That is not hunting; that is just farming.
But this poaching I described is far worse than that. That scumbag, or scumbags, didn't even take the head. Maybe about 10 pounds of meat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Ranger4, I'm a native Texan and have hunted deer since the mid-70's. I've stalked them, hid in the brush, climbed tree's, used ground blinds, tower blinds, and built me a mobile condo on wheels for my last blind.
I hunt on a low fenced ranch on the Red river (Texas-Oklahoma border). We have protein & corn feeder's all over the ranch to supplement food for the game. That doesn't mean that the deer will "always" be there when you are hunting-especially the mature buck's. It's fair chase, sometimes you see them, sometimes you don't.
We have game camera's set up all over the place, and some buck's you will only see once or twice on camera, then never see them again. They travel large area's since there aren't any high fenced places in the area to hold them.

We also plant food plots - soybeans, winter wheat, clover. That's where the majority of the deer are taken.

Just because you have feeder's doesn't mean it's a point and shoot type of hunt. Yes, it does make it easier to shoot doe's and feral pig's, but big buck's don't get big by being stupid.

High fence hunting is completely different. Most of the animal's are from farm raised genetically altered animals bred to have huge antlers. They are fed from feeder's since they were born, and go to them daily in most cases.

Texas is different than most states since it allows the use of feeder's / baiting. But, the state is mainly hunted on Privately owned land and there's not much Public land to hunt on in the state without a lot of restrictions such as Archery only, or Shotgun only areas.

I'd say the hunting that I do is sporting, I've come home empty handed more than I have with a cooler full of meat. Just because I know they are there, doesn't mean that I will have the opportunity to shoot one. Plus, I've past on shooting plenty. There's something majestic about watching a big mature buck doing what he does best.
I'm a meat hunter, not a trophy hunter!
Good points. Your program is much different that most. Food plots are always helpful because they are there long after the feeder is shut down and they feed much more than deer and provide survival for many animals in bad years. They also keep deer on your property so they are not killed next door.

When I was born my dad had 640 acres pasture and 80 acres cultivated within sight of the Red River, along with about 200 mama cows. I learned to shoot and hunt on that river. In 1995 the biggest deer in Oklahoma was killed near that place. Unluckily he became totally disabled when I was about 8 and had to quit ranching. My buddy's wife have 4 sections near Jacksboro Texas where I hunted for years. I hunted many years near Abilene, Buffalo Gap, Colorado City, San Angelo and Del Rio, so I know Texas hunting in the west half of the state and I lived there several times. Being a 100% disabled vet I can hunt in Texas for free, just do not do so at this time mostly because like you say, finding a place to hunt is difficult and expensive.

As to feeders drawing deer. Most of the year, if there is ample browse, mature bucks are not going to venture far from there safe zone, the thickest, remotest spot the can find. But, when the rut comes, they go where the does are. The does and fawns can be trained to show up within about a half hour everyday, depending on weather mostly. And the bucks will come. If you are not seeing them in the rut something is wrong. I do not place feeders where I hunt, but my other 3 buddies do along with trail cameras. One guy put up a cell phone camera this year. He is a dentist, he sits in his clinic 350 miles away and watches the feeder all day long. The feeder holds 500 pounds of corn so it lasts over a month. In the recent black powder season we saw no signs of the pre-rut. He saw several nice 8 points and smaller and let them walk finally on day 3 taking a shot a a large buck and missed. He has several large mule deer and white tail on the wall, very rare for him to miss, it happens.

I hunting a half mile to a mile away I saw only 2 bucks at distance in the 2 and 1/2 days I hunted. I had to leave as an ice storm killed the power at my house for 4 days and my wife was not happy. LOL I have killed lots of deer the last 51 years and we eat what I kill, usually 1-5 animals so this is not new to me. My question is that being disabled now I cannot hunt like I did for decades but feel like I am cheating if I sit over a feeder. AT the same time, all of Texas, Oklahoma and many other states are sitting in cozy little huts out of the weather with tons of corn on the ground waiting for the right one just to come for his daily ration of food. The deer have sort of become welfare recipients. LOL Food plots and farm crops are totally different in my mind. Anyway, you see my dilemma.

And for further discussion, try and find one biologist that is not selling something that will recommend corn as a supplement for deer food. Some will say a little is not bad or when there is drought or ice but few if any will recommend it as helpful to deer and recommend other things. FWIW Opinions vary. And the discussion will continue--there are those who say feeders have increased deer numbers and that is a good thing.
 

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I have hunted for over 40 years now and actual hunting. I scout and walk at least 4 miles easily. Sometimes 10 or more. I get up in darkness and hit the woods with a head lamp. I usually sit or set up a portable stand. Sometimes I move a bit and stalk slow. I have drug deer I bagged miles by myself back to truck. I do not hunt from a window or from my kitchen or bedroom. Never have. I hear so many people that have properties in secluded areas and get up at sun rise and hunt from window of house. My brother had one of his workers have an accident last week. He was shooting a crossbow from a kitchen window at a deer in his back yard. Evidently when he pulled the trigger the limb smacked the window frame. The crossbow self destructed and the cable cut two of his fingers almost off. Well in my opinion you dont shoot from the window with a crossbow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have hunted for over 40 years now and actual hunting. I scout and walk at least 4 miles easily. Sometimes 10 or more. I get up in darkness and hit the woods with a head lamp. I usually sit or set up a portable stand. Sometimes I move a bit and stalk slow. I have drug deer I bagged miles by myself back to truck. I do not hunt from a window or from my kitchen or bedroom. Never have. I hear so many people that have properties in secluded areas and get up at sun rise and hunt from window of house. My brother had one of his workers have an accident last week. He was shooting a crossbow from a kitchen window at a deer in his back yard. Evidently when he pulled the trigger the limb smacked the window frame. The crossbow self destructed and the cable cut two of his fingers almost off. Well in my opinion you dont shoot from the window with a crossbow.
Wow. Crossbows are dangerous, I am always worried about getting a finger forward of that string. I knew I would invite some discussion but I truly have an issue with shooting a deer while it is at a feeder. I would not have the same issue with say shooting coyotes over a dead cow or hogs at a feeder. All of us will lose our mobility. I salute your resolve.

I once shot a mule deer in Colorado that I had to move 1,700 steps to the nearest lumber road, I counted. The butcher said it was 250 pounds on the nose. Actually, I cut it in half and brought it out in 2 pieces. I did the same thing with a cow elk, in three trips and the land was fairly flat, but it was 1.5 miles, elevation was about 9,600 feet, and the snow was close to 2 foot deep. I walked 50 steps, leaned against a tree, for a few then started again, took most of the day.

The problem is, all of us will lose our mobility and the fact that we once were infantrymen will just become fond memories. So, what to do? Sit close to a road where few deer will venture? I see lots of all my fellow vets on TV out there hunting with no legs. A military base I sometimes hunt on had a few trailers that have scissor jack type lifts on them with a deer blind on top. They just drag them out into the middle of the woods or edge of a food plot and drive the vet out there, wheel his wheel chair into it, raise it and come back and get him when he calls. I applaud their efforts. I have thought about building one for myself for use on private land. For people like us who have a deer hunting addiction, that would be far better than sitting at home and dying slowly.

So, the feeder thing is a way to maybe extending our hunting years. But it seems to me that every 25 year old guy now is feeder hunting also if you believe the TV hunting shows. Don't get me started on them. We had a lease bought out from under us by one of the top Sportsman's Channel shows. Pretty funny, my buddy killed a 174 white tail there and we killed several over 150, so they bought the lease for 5 years and had people coming from all over the nation. They stormed in there for 5 years and never killed a good buck, too many 4 wheelers going in there with feeders and camera guys and driving potential hunters in there showing them the land, the deer left from all the traffic we got the lease back and killed 15-20 good deer there the next 5 years, go figure, they were the experts, we were just hunters.

Anyway, it is what it is. Good luck this year, I go next Friday.
 

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Wow. Crossbows are dangerous, I am always worried about getting a finger forward of that string. I knew I would invite some discussion but I truly have an issue with shooting a deer while it is at a feeder. I would not have the same issue with say shooting coyotes over a dead cow or hogs at a feeder. All of us will lose our mobility. I salute your resolve.

I once shot a mule deer in Colorado that I had to move 1,700 steps to the nearest lumber road, I counted. The butcher said it was 250 pounds on the nose. Actually, I cut it in half and brought it out in 2 pieces. I did the same thing with a cow elk, in three trips and the land was fairly flat, but it was 1.5 miles, elevation was about 9,600 feet, and the snow was close to 2 foot deep. I walked 50 steps, leaned against a tree, for a few then started again, took most of the day.

The problem is, all of us will lose our mobility and the fact that we once were infantrymen will just become fond memories. So, what to do? Sit close to a road where few deer will venture? I see lots of all my fellow vets on TV out there hunting with no legs. A military base I sometimes hunt on had a few trailers that have scissor jack type lifts on them with a deer blind on top. They just drag them out into the middle of the woods or edge of a food plot and drive the vet out there, wheel his wheel chair into it, raise it and come back and get him when he calls. I applaud their efforts. I have thought about building one for myself for use on private land. For people like us who have a deer hunting addiction, that would be far better than sitting at home and dying slowly.

So, the feeder thing is a way to maybe extending our hunting years. But it seems to me that every 25 year old guy now is feeder hunting also if you believe the TV hunting shows. Don't get me started on them. We had a lease bought out from under us by one of the top Sportsman's Channel shows. Pretty funny, my buddy killed a 174 white tail there and we killed several over 150, so they bought the lease for 5 years and had people coming from all over the nation. They stormed in there for 5 years and never killed a good buck, too many 4 wheelers going in there with feeders and camera guys and driving potential hunters in there showing them the land, the deer left from all the traffic we got the lease back and killed 15-20 good deer there the next 5 years, go figure, they were the experts, we were just hunters.

Anyway, it is what it is. Good luck this year, I go next Friday.
I got the point that it was too much dragging deer through thickets and up hills and over this and that to a trail. I bought a nice deer cart two years ago. You can load the deer,, backpack, firearm and more on them and easy to wheel.
 

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I got the point that it was too much dragging deer through thickets and up hills and over this and that to a trail. I bought a nice deer cart two years ago. You can load the deer,, backpack, firearm and more on them and easy to wheel.
Thought about a cart after dragging that last deer almost 2 miles. If the terrain wasn’t so steep, it would be perfect.
 

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I don't have the chance to go hunting. But from an ethical point of view, I have no problem with food plots, including setting up a blind handy to one and leaving it there year round so to the deer it's just a feature of the landscape. Food plots will insure the deer will live to be hunted, and they have the choice of eating from the food plot or not.

Feeders that dispense corn, however, should be reserved for luring feral hogs into a live trap before a one way trip to the processor and the freezer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thought about a cart after dragging that last deer almost 2 miles. If the terrain wasn’t so steep, it would be perfect.
I the last 3 years, I killed 5 deer good bucks , 2 big ones, by that I mean both field dressed 180 and a little more. Not big by Michigan standards but still pretty big. You ain't draggin no 180 pound deer 2 miles. At least not up any grades. LOL When I was in law enforcement we had to drag a 190 dummy 50 yards I think, not easy. Some of you have been in the army and remember the fireman's carry of your buddy. You can go a ways on flat ground but uphill not so much.

I have used those little role up plastic drags, better than nothing. I bought one of those magnum deer carts from Cabalas. They do not work in sand and they are wide, maybe 30 inches and hang up on sage brush and any brush pretty bad. The best I have seen and use today are the little plastic sleds, I have 3 sizes. You need one about 54 x 25 x 10, they work great. I have them bigger and smaller but this is the best for deer. The larger ones are great for hauling wood behind a 4 x 4. They have one size smaller that would probably work on smaller deer but this one works well. They are ice sleds a but are perfect for decoys as well. They drag very quiet and I could see taking them in with you and your gear in some cases. I put long pull ropes on mine and for 2 guys it is easy.
 

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I hunt on public land and i hunt, 95% of the time its spot and stalk or just finding a comfy log to sit on. sometimes i take the ground blind or the climber stand but i dont hunt over bait or stuff like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I hunt on public land and i hunt, 95% of the time its spot and stalk or just finding a comfy log to sit on. sometimes i take the ground blind or the climber stand but i dont hunt over bait or stuff like that.
As I have stated I always hunted that way for close to 50 years, I am now 72. I have shot lots in several states in the middle of the day in their beds. Just something about going out and finding them on their turf and I applaud anyone that goes to that much work. Also, I have shot both deer and elk well more than a mile from a road and sometimes wonder why I did that. And I have shot lots in the remaining minutes of day light, and also wondered why I did that knowing it would be a long, long night. I have left an animal on the ground at night only a few times, just do not do that. Not willing to share with the bears and coyotes and whatever.

As we get older we lose our mobility and we either stay home or change our game plan. The one I shot Saturday was not headed to a feeder but my buddies have feeders on the ranch. The feeders keep the does on the place and the bucks come for the does during the rut. Two does came by and 15 minutes later he came by headed the same way.

Also, we learned over time that if you hunt in a place where other people put out a bunch of feeders on the ranch next door, all your deer go over there, so it is sort of a self defense move.

Four years ago I had no good place to hunt so I just went to public land about an hour away, did not know the area so I got there about 9:00 am. Walked exactly 1/4 mile and like you, just found a comfy log and sat. After a while I had a nice 12 point come walking down a fire break and by noon I had him dragged back the 1/4 mile and on the little rack on my Jeep. So, now my wife questions why I have to drive 5 hours and pay to hunt. LOL

Our lease is a working cattle ranch so we cannot plant food plots or anything like that. I guess you just hunt them however you can based on where your are. All hunting is good, we are carnivores.
 

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The does where I hunt are trained, but the bucks sure aren’t. I see the same does and fawns every sit, but I will see different bucks here and there. I hunt over alfalfa, which ends this year with my Grandma moving next summer.
 

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Up here there a two primary types of hunters, those who hunt out of necessity and those who hunt for recreation and sport. Either way you slice it, it's work (except for maybe the catered too hunter with a guide and staff). There is much truth to the saying "the work starts after the trigger is pulled"...and sometimes that work goes on for days and days just getting your kill out of the bush.
 

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Good thread Ranger 4; it's worth talking about. I have no interest in shooting animals behind a fence nor do I have any interest lobbing bullets at an animal that is 800 yards away. What's the point...to kill something? If that's the goal, then why not head over to the nearest zoo and shoot something big like a lion or a giraffe?

Hunting is either about getting food that is needed or making memories. It's not about the killing in either case. I have shot a couple deer in the moonlight and don't feel bad about it. I stalked them and they were one-shot kills against the snow. The meat was eaten and all was good; I wasn't hunting for horns. My dad shot lots of game in a national park when he was a young man; his family was hungry. That's fine, too.

Nowadays, my fridge is full and I am making memories. Memories for me and for the people with me (when I am not hunting alone). Even now, I take no pleasure in watching something die so the killing part is not the goal. I eat what I shoot and if I get big horns, that's a bonus. What I shoot generally dies quick and never knew I was there. That's how I like it and it's the easiest way any of those animals will die....but I can't say I particularly enjoy the killing. I sure do enjoy the hunt, though. Enjoy....I don't know... more like a compulsion or a way for things to fit.

Not sure if that makes sense or not. It makes sense to me.

As for you, being disabled and all, you can shoot out the truck window as far as I'm concerned. A man has to adjust and overcome. You do what you can and the world will understand.
 
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