Pen hunting. What are your thoughts on this type of hunting? Before I started this column, I wasn’t really sure what category to put this under. But as I go along, I am sure you will see why I chose “How To”.

There are many pros and cons we can all add to this subject matter. The places that advertise “fair chase” will argue with you all day about it. Fair chase for the animal is usually defined as “nothing can restrict the animal’s movement and travel plans”. In other words, the prey can run forever if it wanted.  Pen hunting is quite different.  Usually you have a fence around five or more acres, thus restricting the animal’s movement and travel routes.

Okay, lets look at some pros for pen hunting. Number one is you know what you’re hunting for, and you know it’s there. You have a set price for the animal you want to harvest, and the odds are in your favor for a good success rate.  So if you have a tight budget, you will most likely spend your money well. Some places don’t charge you if you fail to harvest an animal. Basically you are food shopping, but this time your shopping list and trip will be a fun time!

To compare, let’s look at some pros for fair chase hunting. Fair chase hunting basically gives you the satisfaction of knowing you did everything right when you harvested your animal: all your hard work and scouting paid off. Some just say all the stars were in alignment (haha), I personally believe God blessed me.  Out of this whole planet, you had the animal you were hunting for right in front of you, and you finished the job.  No better feeling!

Let’s look at some cons for pen hunting.  I personally have been on one pen hunting trip. I had a blast! The food at the lodge was outstanding.  The staff was very pleasant, people who truly enjoyed their chosen profession.  The only con I can possibly come up with is the reaction that other hunters gave me when I told them where and how I shot my animal. I can not even begin to tell you some of the harassment I got from other hunters and friends! These are the same men that go into a store and pay $15 for one steak that someone else killed and butchered. No one takes in account how much meat I put in the freezer, or the memories I made with my cousin. But, so be it.

That leaves us with the cons for fair chase.  I thought of this a long time, and my opinion is the only low point to fair chase is that possibility that you’ve wasted your money and there are no guarantees that you will come home with meat. Whether you harvest anything or not, you are making memories you will never forget.

This brings us to the heart of this column. Both types of hunting have good and bad points. The point I want to get across is that they are both hunting. We need to “Stick Together” on this fact. You don’t have to like it, but don’t put it down. That’s a weak link in our hunting rights chain. PETA loves this argument! It’s a way they can worm their way in between us.

I work in a prison. One rule we have is never argue with another staff member in front of an inmate. How many hunters argue pen hunting and fair chase in front of animal activists?! It gives PETA fuel for the fight, which can be completely avoided. Pen hunting is no different than me going into my chicken coop to get a chicken for dinner. I don’t have grand children yet, but I want them to have the same opportunity to enjoy the outdoors like I have. If we stay separated in any area of hunting, it could be the demise of the sport we love. We need to be together as one in this battle. Embrace every aspect of hunting. Like it or not, be supportive. Whether you believe it or not, when you put down any aspect of hunting you’re siding with the antis. Do you want to be that man or woman?

Ken Baney is a Western States Sportsman Pro Staff member and experienced hunter and outdoorsman.

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  • Buck Whacker

    this is truly a bad a– article! I could not agree more! So well stated and such a positive message for the brotherhood of all who hunt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Charles Walthour

    I couldn’t agree more, Ken!

    We are so disjointed in the Outdoor
    industry that we are effectively out-spent and out-maneuvered by the
    consolidated, organized and focused anti-hunting and animal rights
    groups. We have the NWTF (Nation Wild Turkey Federation), DU (Ducks
    Unlimited), Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, QDMA (Quality Deer
    Management Association), BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsman Association,
    Quail Unlimited, NRA (National Rifle Association, and on and on ad
    nauseum.

    The Anti’s?
    They basically have 2 groups (PETA and
    HSUS) that they support and they are all in one or both and they are
    against us.

    The threats to wildlife are real and
    growing. The attacks on our outdoor heritage are increasing. Now is
    the time for unity rather than division among sportsmen. Now is a
    time to protect what we love through increased sportsmen involvement.
    We can solve difficult challenges But all sportsmen whose
    dedication is for the improvement and preservation of our wildlife
    resources have to unite under one umbrella as one army representing
    all facets of fish and game or we will eventually lose the war.

    There are approx. 12.5 million hunters
    nationwide according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the number of fishermen is probably twice that.

    The reason hunters and fishermen belong
    to association, clubs, and affiliations is because they identify with
    a cause that relates to their passion or passions.

    We need one defense organization that all sportsmen are loyal to and will work for. The creation of loyalty and
    dedication usually involves personal motivation brought about by the
    love of something or the strong belief in something.

    The causes of involvement,
    participation and service is usually brought about by reward,
    fulfillment, the desire to create or grow something, or the threat
    of having it changed, withheld, or eliminated.

    The need for a hunting and fishing
    defense group is based on the huge number of small organizations that
    exist for each need assessed. NWTF (turkey), North American Elk
    Foundation (elk), QDMA (deer), BASS (bass), Trout Unlimited (trout),
    Pheasants Forever (pheasants), Quail Unlimited (quail).

    Anti’s defense is legislation against
    hunting and fishing that sounds nice and seems like it is for conservation. The guys in Washington who sign the legislation think that they are helping a group to restore the natural
    balance to nature (introduction of predators (wolf/coyotes); stop
    fishing by banning lead in fishing tackle, setting size and creel
    limits (throw back death), Closing area waters (Biscayne Bay),
    moratoriums on species (Red Snapper/Grouper) rather than building
    more fish habitats and regulating commercial fishing areas). The folks who sit in Washington and your state capital probably never wet a hook or pulled a trigger. They have been lobbied into thinking it was the right thing to do. We need to educate them in numbers!
    There
    is power in mass numbers with a unified voice!
    Bottom line is that is really doesn’t matter how you hunt or where you hunt or that you fish catch and release or eat everything with eyes and a tail…we need to discuss those ideals behind closed doors and stand unified as sportsmen under one organization that is funded by $1.00 per month ($12 per year) from all license holding outdoorsmen! Think about that as a membership defense organization that could have $13 million a month for a lobby in Washington and at your state capital! You just can’t argue with that kind of backup and those who want to get reelected will listen.

  • Ken Baney

    Both great points, thank you!

  • Clay Hayes

    Ken, it’s not the argument that gives PETA fuel, it’s you and this type of “hunting”. This is embarrassing… it’s not the anti hunting extremists that’ll determine the fate of hunting, it’s the non-hunting majority. Behavior like shooting animals in a pen only serves to convince them that we’re all a bunch of lazy slobs.