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January 30, 2008


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Mike, my favorite antler characteristic is mass. I love mass more than height, width, number of points etc. I have to say, I enjoy looking at the pen-raised super racks but all the while realizing they're unnatural in nature. Kinda like looking at a Playboy. Fun to look at but you'll never see it on the street. lol.

Mike Hanback quote:Another obvious question: Wonder what the shooters paid for them?

I think the real question should be, "How could anyone get any satisfaction from killing a pen raised and captive deer"?

This is "hornography" @ it's worst. It's like having sex with a hooker. Yeah money will buy you just about anything, but what have you accomplished?


I doubt I would feel much satisfaction in buying a deer like that on the hoof and killing it. But I won't condem someone else for what they want to spend their money on as long as it is legal.Nor do I blame the deer farmer for selling a product
Am the only one whom feels like outdoor media has created this antler envy craze at all costs for little more than money? The very root of issue in the two isn't that much different is it?

Hey Mike,

The dollar figure on the bottom buck was over $200 per inch. Assuming the buck was 170+" that would be $34,000+.

In yesterday's mail I recieved a brochure from some high fence outfit in Sask. that had 303" buck pictured on the front cover along with several 200"+ bucks.
In the Pennsylvania Outdoor News there is another that advertises "coming soon watch our bucks grow" via their updated web site starting in March, "see your trophy as he grows thruout the summer..."

Not quite the old log cabin, crackling fireplace retreat I dream about 9 months out of the year.

Big Daddy,

You might not condemn this crap, but legal or not, I will.

This is just morally wrong! Buying a pen raised animal to kill and mount his head isn't something to be proud of. The person didn't accomplish a thing other than writing a check.

If you can't hunt fair chase, then don't hunt. These deer were killed in a 100 acre pen. That's not sport, it's not hunting, it's just slaughter and it's what will kill hunting for all of us if it continues.


Just as with my last old blog, we have a great group of thinking deer hunters here--thank you all for your great comments, we will not/should not agree all the time, but we listen, blog and learn--that's the new hunting media at its best.

that top rack in this post is just freak nasty--God knows what they shot that thing up with before the guy blasted it

These are only interesting to see. To me ANY deer killed in the wild would be far and away more deserving trophy ststus then any pen raised deer. Isn't the penned deer/ elk/ etc said to be the root cause of CWD? Dean- do you know?

no one knows for certain where CWD started many think it started in the bovine industry, others in deer/elk farming, still others believe it was a lab experiment gone bad...whom will ever know for certain? Fact is it is here and game farming aids in spreading it.
The outdoor recreational industry, in this case hunting, took up the horn craze just as strongly as they took up the bass fishing craze. IMHO they've done the majority of promoting the " get YOUR trophy for your ego" menality for little more than to make $$. The quick buck (pun intended) capitalizing on hunters whom with money in hand want to boost their egos, could possibly be the start of a downfall to the very industry making the $$ now.

i get more satisfaction in managing deer on my familys land in southeastern WIsconsin and watchng em grow up passing em during the rut and watch my younger brothers or other family members benifit form my mine and my dads hard work putting in food plots, trimming shooting lanes,snd putting out mineral licks
i have nothng against free range hunting with guides on other land some people just don't have there own land to hunt let alone manage but its not the same as when you raise em yourself and hunt em on your own property and know bucks by first name basis

High Fence hunting is not hunting...it is shooting. I thoroughly disagree with it, but I guess who am I to say how a person makes their living. Most of those ego maniacs that pay to hunt those deer are the ones who are really missing out. They don't get it. A lot of them won't even tell people they shot it in a pen...they hang it on their office wall a thump thier chest. Pity them. They have accomplished nothing other than proving that are completely morally bankrupt and lack absolutely no skill what-so-ever to acquire that animal. A lot of those places have to cut the tags off before or after they kill them. Another thing...nearly everything is driven by money, don't you know? Being in the business I meet a lot of people in all areas...The testicles to that buck are probably worth 30,000 if cared for properly after it was killed...the deer itself had to be worth a might more than that I would think. Pretty gut-wrenching disgusting. No respect for the animal, lack of class for the shooter. I hope someone sent thier grandkids to college with that or something.

Here's another thing that really gets me...the shooters that shoot deer in these pens (I refuse to say hunter) claim that they are just as hard to hunt there as the wild...they are just as wiley, just as smart, blah, blah, blah. Here's my argument: THEY CAN'T GET AWAY!!! No matter how bad you stink, how noisey you are, how many times they run away from you...THEY CAN'T GET AWAY!!! I don't give a rip if it's 10 Billion acres or 1 acre, THEY CAN'T GET AWAY!! You always now where they are...in the pen. They didn't run over the the neighbors, they didn't cross over to public ground...they are in the pen! I drive this point home by this; "Mr. Shooter, lets tape a big red X on your back. I'll give you a day, a week...whatever, to hide. Then I will come after you with...a potatoe gun with big potatoes; would you rather I let you loose in a high fence, or the wide open, free-range. Oh! But I thought they weren't any different!" That's what I thought. Feel free to substitue whatever for the potatoe gun. Ok, I'm done.

I think a few of you have vastly over estimated the cost to purchase a hunt for a buck of such caliber behind highfence. I live in Pa where high fenced hunting remains legal. One can pickup nearly any hunting related publication an find advertisments for preserve hunting for everything from exotics to deer and elk.170" whitetail are frenquently advertised for $7000 with an addtitonal $100 per inch over that.
With that said I have several 150"-185"+ whitetail racks I've taken thruout the USA on free range hunts. A few are shoulder mounted that I'd sell in a heartbeat at the rates some of you are estimating their value at.Just to finance my next couple of hunts.

I've been trying for years to turn my 95+ Ozark Missouri acres into a better place for deer. Creating a green browse food plot (clover field) in the middle of the woods, making a oak savanna ecosystem with native grasses and wildflowers out of a mess of mainly blackjack oaks, doing hundreds of man hours worth of timber stand improvement efforts to improve the mass production and providing more native browse with controlled woodland burns, all done in hopes of seeing deer of any kind during the year, especially during deer season. Now, through this blog, I find out I can just go out and shoot a scary looking pen raised buck? No thanks. I've got to look in the mirror every day and that's tough enough.

I've been trying for years to turn my 95+ Ozark Missouri acres into a better place for deer. Creating a green browse food plot (clover field) in the middle of the woods, making a oak savanna ecosystem with native grasses and wildflowers out of a mess of mainly blackjack oaks, doing hundreds of man hours worth of timber stand improvement efforts to improve the mass production and providing more native browse with controlled woodland burns, all done in hopes of seeing deer of any kind during the year, especially during deer season. Now, through this blog, I find out I can just go out and shoot a scary looking pen raised buck? No thanks. I've got to look in the mirror every day and that's tough enough.

the last post was mine about costs.

Luke: What do you call hunting on an island, a Military base,most quality ranches in Texas,etc.?

Luke: Do you watch hunting videos, the Outdoor Channel,etc. Where do you think a majority of those shows are taped/ Free range..guess again.

Mike, I love ur blog. Im gonna sit this one out and let these fellas nip at each other. Sick em Luke!!!!!!!

Luke, love your analogy of with the potato gun..cool way to look at it. I don't agree wiht hunting penned deer for the same reason, there is no way that deer ccan get away from the hun..shooter. These people pay thousands of dollars to shoot someones pet and get it mounted. They put in their office or living room and whoever asks about it gets some wild hunting story about how Ego Joe hunted SOOOOO hard to get and he almost got away but Joe was able to put a 3 mile stalk on and stick one him for good. It ain't right. No way you look at it. It is murder is what it is. Sitting in a tree stand in a pen is not hunting, I don't care if its legal or not. Hunters shouldn't even show an interest in the deer people do shoot in these pens becuase like you said Hanback, its grotesque. It's just like lookin at athletes do amazing things and finding out there on steroids. It ain't right. Big Daddy, I think you're probably right about the majority of hunting shows we watch. I just said we shouldn't show any interest in the deer shot in pens but I watch hunting shows on the Outdoor Channel and Versus daily. I love them. It's my source of hunting when there aint nothing to hunt bc there aint nothing in season. Hanback's show Whitetail Revolution and The Drury Bros. stuff are two of the few that actually promote fair chase. All of the Drury's stuff (so they say) is wild fair chase and I believe them. I feel like they are very down to earth God fearing people and I commend them for their hunting ethics and morals. Hanback is the same way, love the show love the blog. I watch a lot of the Team Realtree stuff too and to be honest, I don't whether their fair chasers or leash hunters..I don't know. BUt I have to be honest and say that of my favorite people to watch on the TV is Michael Waddell. His reactions after he shoots a buck are priceless. David Blanton is one I enjoy and I really enjoy watching Tyler Jordan hunt. He is a kid out there hunting on his own( with the exception of a camera man) and gettin it done on big bucks. But I would never condone pen hunting and if I knew anyone that was going to do it or had done it and bragged aobut what they murdered, I think I would sever all hunting ties with them, maybe all ties. I don't know. BUt I strongly disagree with the high-fenced operations and I hope that if anyone who reads this that is a loyal Hanback blog viewer that has hunted or would like to hunt or doesn't see anything wrong with high fences their opinions would be changed by my comments as well as the ones by Luke Strommen and Jstreet. Jim(Jstreet) is usually spot on with the way I feel and Luke is on this topic. Read their comments if you haven't.

I would rather spend the money on buying more property, so i could have more fun hunting and scouting.

to add even more to the topic on unfair chase i belive any of the mega long range rifle shots aren' t hunting they're an assination!!! how fair is it to set up 600 yards away from a deer and blast it compared to a 5 yard bow kill on the same deer buck or doe its simply not fair to the animal


Thanks for the kind words. I too, like Hanback's show and the drury brothers as well.

Fair chase hunting is they way it's supposed to be. I agree with Luke. Put these "hunters" in a pen and let someone chase them around with a gun (potato, paintball, dart) whatever and let them see how "fair" this is.

If you can't hunt fair chase just go fishing (and leave the dynamite @ home).


Rifle? Not fair chase? I love takin deer with my solocam, but if its gun season and i aint filled my tags, my 270 is fixin to go boom. My little boy tells me to put some meat on the table, I break out the Browning.

Who on this blog would, however, turn around and sell their giant, world-class, free range hunted rack?

It appears that everyone is against fences. And, I agree, it ain't for me. I personally have no desire to hunt behind any type of fence. This is my own personal feelings on this topic. But, I am disgusted when these same "ethical" folks would turn around and sell their hard earned rack for "big bucks"??

Is it not also "hornography" when the person who shoots a giant, world-class rack sells it to the highest bidder?

i never said rifle hunting is unethical becuase i also shotgun and rifle hunt just mega long range assinations of any game animal is almost as bad as chaising them in a fenced in farm

I sure cant hit anything over 250 yds, now trying to hit a deer at 600 yds, I think deer has pretty good chance no matter what rifle you shoot. Seems like pretty fair chase to me.

Dirty, a deer may have a pretty good chance at 600 yds with you shooting free hand or leaned against a tree but I've seen videos online..youtube.com..titled "Long Range deer hunting"..the descriptions say that they're shooting 8 or 9 hundred yards..been a while so I don't remember which..and they're shooting off an extremely solid rest with guns(which are probably custom made per shooter) in gun vices..all it is target practice..sure you have to have skill to hit a target at 800 yds as far as trajectory judgement and windeage and whatever else..but my opinion of hunting, fair chase hunting anyway, is that the skill involved should be in making a clean ETHICAL shot well within gun range. The longest shot I ever took at a deer was 200+ across a field but i was in a kneeling position and very steady in. In my opinion it was ETHICAL. I would never have taken it free hand or if he had been movin. Every other deer I've killed has been inside of 80 yds because I don't want to take a chance in crippling one. Overcoming buck fever is another skill asociated withhunting. Shooting a deer at 800 yards doesnt give you the chance to really mess up and spook him. It doesn't give you a chance to see his ribs moving with each breath, the acorns crunching as he eats, the leaves beneath his body, his eyes catching you preparing for the shot and nose smelling you as you start to sweat from excitement. That is all part of the hunt and you get that when a deer is close. Again it comes to ethics. Giving the deer a chance to get away is ethical. Deer become aware of our presence when were in their neck of the woods and if they don't feel safe, they leave. A deer sees us at 800 yds he has no idea what we are and isnt worried about us. It all comes back to ethics and we do have for decide for ourselves what is ethical and morally acceptable but I think that most everyone on here has the same basic opnions. I think this has actually been one of the best discussions on here lol

anyone who read my last comment and cares to see for themselves what I was talking about, copy and paste this in your adress bar..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwIJOkFb4lg...it actually says a half mile away but thats like 1700 yds or something isn't? don't know about that but look at what the guy is shooting off

thanks for the back up cody finally somebody understnads what i was talking about

Dean Weimer Quote:
Is it not also "hornography" when the person who shoots a giant, world-class rack sells it to the highest bidder?

No Dean, I don't think it is. If you shoot a "world class" buck in a pen and pay huge money to do so that's "hornograpy".

If you sell a "world class" rack to someone for big money. That's just taking advantage of a "hornographer".

The reason that is true is because neither person earned the rack and has more money than sense.


Well stated jstreet-and sorry Dean, but he`s right. No shame in making money off a fair chase, free ranging kill, but plenty of shame in killing a deer in a play pen-and I don`t care how big it is, if it`s not free ranging deer, then it`s a play-pen.

I enjoyed the analogy about hookers too, because that`s a fair one I think. Sure, there`s a customer base for prostitutes, just like the play-pen hunting, but it doesn`t make either of them any less sleazy or seedy.

I'd sell my bow killed 185 6/8" whitetail rack PDQ if some fool wants to make up a story and put it on his living room wall. Then use the cash to head off on a few more hunting trips. A couple 8x10 photos are enough to give me satisfaction...nothing can erase the memories of that morning from my mind.

I don't know why this topic interests me so..I would think because I'm intrigued by the "hunt" for what makes some of you feel your opinion on high fence hunting and those whom pursue it is the correct one.
Make no mistake about me I don't do fences. I also don't collect much of anything other than hunting gear. I rather find collecting anything foolish.... God knows my wife collects leather Italian shoes which humors me until I see an errant price tag on a shoe box in her closet, some people collect NASCAR stuff which I also find ridiculous,still others (some of the best known names in the world of hunting) persue B&C antlers for their private collections...paying their owners inane sums of cash for them.What all these "collectors" have in common with those whome chose to harvest their venison from enclosures is it makes them happy and their collections hold value in their eyes, though not mine.
Be careful what you may be quick to call unsporting vs unethical for the high fence hunter may be looking back at you too proclaim at his highest voice that bidding $200 on EBay for a die cast stock car with a #3 decal is an unethical mode to pay homage to Dale!

Wow. Good comments everyone. And thanks Cody. Hey Big Daddy! I have been involved in 10 or so high end hunting shows here in MT, all fair chase, including Mike's Whtl Revolution, again very fair chase. However...when you know some in the business it is sick what you discover about other notabbles in the biz. I won't sink low to name names, but most of you figure it out anyway. Yes, a lot of those shows are fences. I don't know if VS channel airs any high fence or not, though? Hey Mike, do you know? I don't watch much t.v., by choice, can't stand most of it. You guys are all nuts and I love ya!

Done a few too myself guess that's why I raise a brow at so many in the TV hunting industry. Had to kill a bull caribou with my bow for a big name TV hunter (with years of shows of his own) in Quebec cause he couldn't hit an empty beer case at 20 yds with his compound bow!

Good discussion, I've been checking in. Three comments: One, high-fence hunting ain't for me and I think most of you know that. But like a couple of guys have said if some guy wants to drop 10K or more and go shoot something in a pen, it's his right, this is America. BUT overall, it does not portray hunting well, no doubt. Two, some TV shows used to shoot bucks in enclosures no doubt, but it not prevalent anymore with the quality shows and the quality hosts I know. I can assure you that none of the bucks I have shot on Whitetail Revolution on VS in the last 3 years were from a pen! Wild chase man! Three, I like this Hornography thing, good call Jstreet; we'll blog on that in a week or so, is there anything wrong with selling your big rack? Think about it.

Good to hear some good about the high fence on shows debate going here...thanks Mike. They are still a couple of big names using high fence though. As far as selling your rack or racks...fine by me. Its a possession, an asset and it that is what one needs to do for whatever reason, then great. I personally won't sell anything that I have killed. What really does bother me though is that as soon as these kids kill a monster (everywhere it seems), a big name brand is trying to buy it for 10's of 1000's of dollars. What does that teach a kid who hasn't had the oppurtunity to experience the deeper, soulful meaning of hunting. It turns monetary. Then again, they prob think "Holy Moly, to heck with working for a living, I'm gonna kill me some more monsters!" I don't know, kinda sad really...or maybe they have it figured out. I guess that is where responsible parents come in. I most assuredly give them the benefit of any doubt.

Cody and Ian, I took a look at that you tube stuff, never saw anything like that before.Pretty crazy. Dont think its for me. Dont think its that big of a problem. I respect yalls opinion,But if you and your equipment are capable of making a half mile shot, then more power to ya. I understand your opinion on smell and sound and the enjoyment of grunting or rattling a deer into close range, but you didnt expierence any of that when you shot that deer acros that field at 200plus yds did you? Not that big of a diference to me. . . Im just glad its still bow season here.

Dirty, I did experienc some excitement when I took that deer at 200 and some odd yards but to me there is still nothing lke having one in on top of you. I'm not saying I wouldn't take another that far, I just don't think it is very ethical to shoot much farther(in m part of the country) than that and it takes away from the ejoyment of the hunt. I know what I can do at 200, 300 and een 400 yards but a deer becomes a small target and in my opinion it becomes just that, a target. Out in the plains country where it is nearly impossible to get within 200 yards of game sometimes then that is the hunt, but the way I've grown up hunting I enjoy being close and feel that that is a huge part of the hunt

Cody, I prefer them to be close enough to spit on, I hunt the thickets of south Arkansas , So none of this would apply to me. My best bet is to use a bow or shotgun, but as far as being unethical to shoot a dear at a half mile, I think ther are alot more worthy topics.

Obviously a hot button topic Mike, with over 40 posts so far-and you`re right, play-pen shooting is, and will be bad for true hunting. And unfortunately, you`re also correct that it`s America, and until all states outlaw play-pen hunting, it`ll continue to be a blight on true, fair chase, free ranging hunting.

That bottom buck looks to score darn close if not over 200". The mass on that thing is huge, this great mass also downplays the lengths(mainbeams & tines) of this rack. Biggest downfall=pen-raised...pathetic

I'm new here, just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.

I love youre show

i loveyourshow

thanks buddy, MH go to my new website at www.mikehanback.com for more info on my new TV stuff!!

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