Paying to Hunt

Paying to Hunt Sheriff Jim WilsonTexas has no public land to speak of, due to the fact that we kept all of our public land in the treaty that joined us to the Union. Consequently, one must either pay a trespass fee to hunt on private land, or wait to get invited to hunt by a land owner.

Now, I know that this sounds strange to many American hunters. But, consider the fact that when I was a kid we had about 2 million deer in the state. Now our latest estimates put the population at something over 4 million. This is due, primarily, to the ranchers and land owners realizing that deer hunting was a viable source of income for them. It has caused them to be better conservationists and find ways to take care of all wildlife. In addition, our state game department has realized the importance of educating and working with those ranchers to build the deer herds and improve the situation for wild game in general.

Across the country, public lands are being over-hunted and poorly managed. Witness the problem with the re-introduction of wolves and the prohibition on controlling mountain lions in many of our western states. Many feel that the federal government has not been a good steward of much of anything, including the wild game and public land.

So, that appears to be the future of hunting in America. You can certainly hunt public lands and feel lucky if you see one deer, of any kind, throughout your hunt. Or, you can pay for a hunt in Texas—and some other states—and do your hunting on private land where you will have a much better chance of collecting your venison and a trophy. And here, of course, I am talking about free-ranging game. I don’t approve of the canned hunts behind tall fences. That’s not hunting; it is just shooting.

Personally, I come down on the side of the ranchers. I know what it is like to make living on the family ranch today. And I know what the Texas ranchers have gone through during the various droughts and poor financial situations. So I am happy to have conservation-minded ranchers and land owners as my hunting partners. It’s a win-win situation.

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40 Responses to Paying to Hunt

  1. This is all fine and dandy if you can afford to pay what the landowner is asking! If you are poor and that deer (or elk) maybe the entire some of the meat for the winter (or year). By the time you pay for a license, buy ammo, pay range fees to practice and make sure you rifle is in complete order, you might not be able to afford the several hundred to several THOUSAND dollars some landowners want!

    I agree that the feds have done a poor job, especially in our state of Colorado but there are many of us who can’t afford to pay to hunt on private land every year and MUST hunt on public land or NOT HUNT AT ALL!

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  3. Steve says:

    Your partner in that pic…..where did he get his hat. Ha, I know; a question out of the left field bleacher seats! Your partner has a head shaped similar to mine; round! His hat looks like something that I might be able to use.


  4. Jared Larsen says:

    I’ll pass. There’s plenty of deer and other game on the public lands I hunt on in Utah & New Mexico. I’m glad I don’t have to pay trespass fees every time I want to go hunting.

  5. Doc B says:

    I don’t begrudge the ranchers either, but get one thing straight: there aren’t four million deer only because of good conservation…rather, more so because most people I know (and I’m a Dr) won’t pay a thousand dollars (and up) to shoot a danged deer.

    My kids have been deer hunting one time in their lives (they are 20 now), and that was out-of-state, when we lived in NM. How do you think that bodes for the future of shooting and hunting sports?

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