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Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? #8850712 05/11/23 07:01 PM
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“Conservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public interest.” – Aldo Leopold

As Texas deer hunters continue to debate the pros and cons of high fence hunting, here's a good read that perhaps brings to mind what matters most.

Who was Aldo Leopold?


"Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons."
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Texas Dan] #8850726 05/11/23 07:23 PM
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yes- HF has been saving wildlife for decades. Desert Sheep, Tule elk, RM elk, Whitetails etc all have used HF to protect species. Wether its breeding pens or 1000’s of miles of Interstate HF protecting animals along migration paths.



instead of quoting savage… read his books,


Bottom line, never trust a man whose uncle was eaten by cannibals.-Sen Joni Ernst
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Texas Dan] #8850749 05/11/23 08:25 PM
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High fences can be a tool just like prescribed fire or prescribed harvest (hunting). Like any tool they can be misused and cause damage. High fences being used to promote species that are struggling or have previously been extirpated or to manage a healthy landscape including limiting whitetail population to prevent over browse and promote natural vegetation, absolutely a tool. High fences being used as to promote unnaturally large antlers through captive breeding of native species that are not considered at risk (i.e. whitetail deer) while also moving around diseases to the detriment of local native deer populations I think Aldo Leupold would cringe.

Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: blancobuster] #8850826 05/11/23 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by blancobuster
High fences can be a tool just like prescribed fire or prescribed harvest (hunting). Like any tool they can be misused and cause damage. High fences being used to promote species that are struggling or have previously been extirpated or to manage a healthy landscape including limiting whitetail population to prevent over browse and promote natural vegetation, absolutely a tool. High fences being used as to promote unnaturally large antlers through captive breeding of native species that are not considered at risk (i.e. whitetail deer) while also moving around diseases to the detriment of local native deer populations I think Aldo Leupold would cringe.



You drank the CWD kool-aid huh?

CWD is the Covid-19 equivalent of the cervid world.



For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Texas Dan] #8850827 05/11/23 10:46 PM
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I think high fence plays only a minute part of the conservation model, if any at all.

Private landowners who spend time, money and effort to protect and promote wildlife and conservation efforts are at the forefront. This bleeds over into public lands as well.

Conservation isn’t a high fence/low fence debate.


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Texas Dan] #8850847 05/11/23 11:20 PM
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I'm plodding through, very slowly, Aldo Leupold's "Game Management" (1933). He cites other works from the late 1800s on up through the 1920s. It's interesting to get a glimpse of game management ideas between the world wars. Amazing how often he states, albeit in a scientific way, "We don't know." It's pretty much a dry textbook, but still a cool book.


...and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Gen. 1:28
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Creekrunner] #8850916 05/12/23 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Creekrunner
I'm plodding through, very slowly, Aldo Leupold's "Game Management" (1933). He cites other works from the late 1800s on up through the 1920s. It's interesting to get a glimpse of game management ideas between the world wars. Amazing how often he states, albeit in a scientific way, "We don't know." It's pretty much a dry textbook, but still a cool book.



Conservation is simply doing what is right. It’s taking 1 animal when the limit is 4. It’s not taking the young animal even though it’s legal. It’s improving habitat at personal expense.

There are much fewer hunters that are truly conservationists. Most hunters are more concerned with getting theirs rather than the conservation aspect


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Texas Dan] #8850933 05/12/23 02:11 AM
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Tough to be sure. Depends on geography. The big animals like animals like elk and moose are now fairly well controlled in their environments. Also mulies.

But it also depends on environmental conditions. Remember the 4 year drought that we had some years back? I’ll never forget it. Speaking of my area around Montague County, the wildlife took a big hit that they have never come back from. We have about 10% of the turkeys that we had. We were loaded with snakes of all kinds and rattlers were easy to find. The deer were much more numerous and larger. Lots of tanks dried up and my spring fed creek that had always run also dried up. Small animals took a big hit. I no longer heard or saw coyotes. I don’t see bob cats on game cams. And, I use them about 8 to 9 months of the year. I sold my cows and horses just in time. The best herdsman is a grass farmer.

Since that time I haven’t had to spray down with Off to keep the ticks off. A Scorpion is now a rarity and I don’t shake my boots down before putting them on. When we down a deer, there are no longer ticks. Also no tarantulas. Gotta admit that we aren’t short on fire ants.

There are more people but not a lot more in rural, out of town, areas. Doesn’t seem to be as many cows but that’s from absentee (new) owners who, like me, live in towns. I’ve owned the place 38 years but live in the Fort Worth area.

BTW, I ran into the retired TPWD Game Mgt. guy from that time and we discussed this matter. He said he is never going to forget it. Said he felt helpless.

Man is a factor but you can ask any Rancher how long he would make it in an extended drought. Game Management and numbers are the same.




Last edited by Dave Davidson; 05/12/23 02:19 AM.

Without a sense of urgency, nothing ever happens.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley, Rancher Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Dave Davidson] #8850965 05/12/23 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson
Tough to be sure. Depends on geography. The big animals like animals like elk and moose are now fairly well controlled in their environments. Also mulies.

But it also depends on environmental conditions. Remember the 4 year drought that we had some years back? I’ll never forget it. Speaking of my area around Montague County, the wildlife took a big hit that they have never come back from. We have about 10% of the turkeys that we had. We were loaded with snakes of all kinds and rattlers were easy to find. The deer were much more numerous and larger. Lots of tanks dried up and my spring fed creek that had always run also dried up. Small animals took a big hit. I no longer heard or saw coyotes. I don’t see bob cats on game cams. And, I use them about 8 to 9 months of the year. I sold my cows and horses just in time. The best herdsman is a grass farmer.

Since that time I haven’t had to spray down with Off to keep the ticks off. A Scorpion is now a rarity and I don’t shake my boots down before putting them on. When we down a deer, there are no longer ticks. Also no tarantulas. Gotta admit that we aren’t short on fire ants.

There are more people but not a lot more in rural, out of town, areas. Doesn’t seem to be as many cows but that’s from absentee (new) owners who, like me, live in towns. I’ve owned the place 38 years but live in the Fort Worth area.

BTW, I ran into the retired TPWD Game Mgt. guy from that time and we discussed this matter. He said he is never going to forget it. Said he felt helpless.

Man is a factor but you can ask any Rancher how long he would make it in an extended drought. Game Management and numbers are the same.






This is a good example of what I’m referring to.

In those drought times, how many were feeding supplemental feed like protein or cotton seed? How many were hauling water to troughs? How many were really trying to help the wildlife rather than just letting “nature take its course”?


For it is not the quarry that we truly seek, but the adventure.
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Creekrunner] #8851002 05/12/23 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Creekrunner
I'm plodding through, very slowly, Aldo Leupold's "Game Management" (1933). He cites other works from the late 1800s on up through the 1920s. It's interesting to get a glimpse of game management ideas between the world wars. Amazing how often he states, albeit in a scientific way, "We don't know." It's pretty much a dry textbook, but still a cool book.


Aldo never saw the game numbers as they stand today. He was born into the worst years for wild life in America. Even with his death in 1948, wild life where barely trending up and still struggling. 1880-1920 was rough times for wild life

I think he would be happy with conservation efforts of private ranchers today.


Bottom line, never trust a man whose uncle was eaten by cannibals.-Sen Joni Ernst
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: txtrophy85] #8851050 05/12/23 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by blancobuster
High fences can be a tool just like prescribed fire or prescribed harvest (hunting). Like any tool they can be misused and cause damage. High fences being used to promote species that are struggling or have previously been extirpated or to manage a healthy landscape including limiting whitetail population to prevent over browse and promote natural vegetation, absolutely a tool. High fences being used as to promote unnaturally large antlers through captive breeding of native species that are not considered at risk (i.e. whitetail deer) while also moving around diseases to the detriment of local native deer populations I think Aldo Leupold would cringe.



You drank the CWD kool-aid huh?

CWD is the Covid-19 equivalent of the cervid world.


CWD has been around since 1967 so why the big deal now, I don't get it. confused2

Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: txtrophy85] #8851062 05/12/23 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by Creekrunner
I'm plodding through, very slowly, Aldo Leupold's "Game Management" (1933). He cites other works from the late 1800s on up through the 1920s. It's interesting to get a glimpse of game management ideas between the world wars. Amazing how often he states, albeit in a scientific way, "We don't know." It's pretty much a dry textbook, but still a cool book.



Conservation is simply doing what is right. It’s taking 1 animal when the limit is 4. It’s not taking the young animal even though it’s legal. It’s improving habitat at personal expense.

There are much fewer hunters that are truly conservationists. Most hunters are more concerned with getting theirs rather than the conservation aspect


His use of the words "conserves the public interest" speaks volumes.

Last edited by Texas Dan; 05/12/23 12:20 PM.

"Some people will never like you because your spirit irritates their demons."
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: txtrophy85] #8851078 05/12/23 12:49 PM
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How many tried to help? No idea, but when the tanks and creeks went, there was nothing that could have been done. I knew people who lost their land in that drought. And, small businesses that depended on them also went under.

I don’t want to get into water table problems due to oil companies slant drilling.


Without a sense of urgency, nothing ever happens.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley, Rancher Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: txtrophy85] #8851081 05/12/23 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by Creekrunner
I'm plodding through, very slowly, Aldo Leupold's "Game Management" (1933). He cites other works from the late 1800s on up through the 1920s. It's interesting to get a glimpse of game management ideas between the world wars. Amazing how often he states, albeit in a scientific way, "We don't know." It's pretty much a dry textbook, but still a cool book.



Conservation is simply doing what is right. It’s taking 1 animal when the limit is 4. It’s not taking the young animal even though it’s legal. It’s improving habitat at personal expense.

There are much fewer hunters that are truly conservationists. Most hunters are more concerned with getting theirs rather than the conservation aspect


Age of the animal should be irrelevant to me in conservation so long as it’s sustainable.


It's hell eatin em live
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Texas Dan] #8851083 05/12/23 12:59 PM
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God bless the land manager who leaves some fence rows and cover for the birds. And God bless the feral hog hunters, too.

Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Texas Dan] #8851085 05/12/23 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas Dan
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by Creekrunner
I'm plodding through, very slowly, Aldo Leupold's "Game Management" (1933). He cites other works from the late 1800s on up through the 1920s. It's interesting to get a glimpse of game management ideas between the world wars. Amazing how often he states, albeit in a scientific way, "We don't know." It's pretty much a dry textbook, but still a cool book.



Conservation is simply doing what is right. It’s taking 1 animal when the limit is 4. It’s not taking the young animal even though it’s legal. It’s improving habitat at personal expense.

There are much fewer hunters that are truly conservationists. Most hunters are more concerned with getting theirs rather than the conservation aspect


His use of the words "conserves the public interest" speaks volumes.


you should probably read his books before you paraphrase him.

by definition most TX HF ranches are created on idealism of a complete wildlife utopia which trickles down to all species on the land scape


Bottom line, never trust a man whose uncle was eaten by cannibals.-Sen Joni Ernst
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: redchevy] #8851093 05/12/23 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by Creekrunner
I'm plodding through, very slowly, Aldo Leupold's "Game Management" (1933). He cites other works from the late 1800s on up through the 1920s. It's interesting to get a glimpse of game management ideas between the world wars. Amazing how often he states, albeit in a scientific way, "We don't know." It's pretty much a dry textbook, but still a cool book.



Conservation is simply doing what is right. It’s taking 1 animal when the limit is 4. It’s not taking the young animal even though it’s legal. It’s improving habitat at personal expense.

There are much fewer hunters that are truly conservationists. Most hunters are more concerned with getting theirs rather than the conservation aspect


Age of the animal should be irrelevant to me in conservation so long as it’s sustainable.


if you manage for an average harvest age class you manage for a ratio and numbers as a bye product. Almost all the western states are managing for average male harvest age. go look Co, NM, NV, AZ, Utah etc and all their tag allocation is based of an average age class harvested. the higher the average age class more animals there are on the land scape. Now in Texas we have vastly more individual control as we aren't under a public land use doctrine compared to states that have double digits percentages of public land and migrations

If you want some more insight Epic outdoors does pod casts with State of Nevada, Az, utah etc and they have the head biologists’ break down what the state manages for in quality vs opportunity units


Bottom line, never trust a man whose uncle was eaten by cannibals.-Sen Joni Ernst
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Nolanco] #8851120 05/12/23 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Nolanco
God bless the land manager who leaves some fence rows and cover for the birds. And God bless the feral hog hunters, too.


My small lease in East Texas is mostly pasture but the fence rows have small forests growing along them. Most have decades old trees growing in them. It's been very eye openings to see how deer and hogs will use them both to bed and as travel routes, not to mention the sheer number of game animals they keep in the area.

Last edited by Texas Dan; 05/12/23 01:50 PM.

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Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: txtrophy85] #8851132 05/12/23 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by blancobuster
High fences can be a tool just like prescribed fire or prescribed harvest (hunting). Like any tool they can be misused and cause damage. High fences being used to promote species that are struggling or have previously been extirpated or to manage a healthy landscape including limiting whitetail population to prevent over browse and promote natural vegetation, absolutely a tool. High fences being used as to promote unnaturally large antlers through captive breeding of native species that are not considered at risk (i.e. whitetail deer) while also moving around diseases to the detriment of local native deer populations I think Aldo Leupold would cringe.



You drank the CWD kool-aid huh?

CWD is the Covid-19 equivalent of the cervid world.



I would say it is not equivalent by any stretch. I am not going to get into arguments about something that is objectively true in the eyes of the majority scientific and wildlife management community. I stated my thoughts on the issue and you deflected. Captive deer breeding enables disease transmission that would otherwise be impossible or improbable, period.

Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: angus1956] #8851135 05/12/23 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by angus1956
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by blancobuster
High fences can be a tool just like prescribed fire or prescribed harvest (hunting). Like any tool they can be misused and cause damage. High fences being used to promote species that are struggling or have previously been extirpated or to manage a healthy landscape including limiting whitetail population to prevent over browse and promote natural vegetation, absolutely a tool. High fences being used as to promote unnaturally large antlers through captive breeding of native species that are not considered at risk (i.e. whitetail deer) while also moving around diseases to the detriment of local native deer populations I think Aldo Leupold would cringe.



You drank the CWD kool-aid huh?

CWD is the Covid-19 equivalent of the cervid world.


CWD has been around since 1967 so why the big deal now, I don't get it. confused2


Game farming and captive cervid breeding/movement were virtually non-existent at that time.

Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Texas Dan] #8851137 05/12/23 02:04 PM
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Well, I guess I've learned my lesson from commenting much on this high fence business. I agree with bobo- it has been many years and today the population has exploded and everything is different. The way things are now done produces good numbers of game animals but the nature of the thing has changed. Maybe that's the best way to view it.

Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: blancobuster] #8851145 05/12/23 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by blancobuster
Originally Posted by angus1956
Originally Posted by txtrophy85
Originally Posted by blancobuster
High fences can be a tool just like prescribed fire or prescribed harvest (hunting). Like any tool they can be misused and cause damage. High fences being used to promote species that are struggling or have previously been extirpated or to manage a healthy landscape including limiting whitetail population to prevent over browse and promote natural vegetation, absolutely a tool. High fences being used as to promote unnaturally large antlers through captive breeding of native species that are not considered at risk (i.e. whitetail deer) while also moving around diseases to the detriment of local native deer populations I think Aldo Leupold would cringe.



You drank the CWD kool-aid huh?

CWD is the Covid-19 equivalent of the cervid world.


CWD has been around since 1967 so why the big deal now, I don't get it. confused2


Game farming and captive cervid breeding/movement were virtually non-existent at that time.


but scrapies was wondering the mountains for atleast 20 years prior to first CWD observation

Same restocking effort that he championed may have had the exact same effect on breeder movements.


Bottom line, never trust a man whose uncle was eaten by cannibals.-Sen Joni Ernst
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: Texas Dan] #8851146 05/12/23 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas Dan
“Conservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public interest.” – Aldo LeopoldWho was Aldo Leopold?


I would say sometimes yes and sometimes no. Look at landowners who don't want to eradicate feral hogs because they sell hog hunts. Look at the landowners (and even ranchers leasing public land from UT) in far WTX. They should be eradicating the aoudad for the benefit of the native wildlife. But many won't because they can sell hunts. And some don't allow any hunting on that state owned land. mad

Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: DonPablo] #8851149 05/12/23 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DonPablo
Originally Posted by Texas Dan
“Conservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public interest.” – Aldo LeopoldWho was Aldo Leopold?


I would say sometimes yes and sometimes no. Look at landowners who don't want to eradicate feral hogs because they sell hog hunts. Look at the landowners (and even ranchers leasing public land from UT) in far WTX. They should be eradicating the aoudad for the benefit of the native wildlife. But many won't because they can sell hunts. And some don't allow any hunting on that state owned land. mad


State owned and Federal are under to total different doctrine's. State owed land falls under state constitutional requirements to provide revenue to the state or state enity like school leases. AL would focus on Federal as its a true public use doctrine where as State isnt, its a revenue generator.


Bottom line, never trust a man whose uncle was eaten by cannibals.-Sen Joni Ernst
Re: Do Aldo Leopold's teachings still hold true today? [Re: txtrophy85] #8851153 05/12/23 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by txtrophy85
I think high fence plays only a minute part of the conservation model, if any at all.

Private landowners who spend time, money and effort to protect and promote wildlife and conservation efforts are at the forefront. This bleeds over into public lands as well.

Conservation isn’t a high fence/low fence debate.



This November will be 10 years I have owned my land.

TP&W had Fannin county only allowed to take one whitetail doe the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving. In 2020 they increased that to two does, and gave us two weeks. North Fannin County is Post Oak Savanah, south Fannin County (where I am) is Black Land Prairie. North Fannin County holds more deer. And I know this because a friend of mine lived on property up there for 7 years. He had way higher numbers in his deer herd than I do. So, based on what I have always seen, I have never harvested a whitetail on my land. And as of today, that is still my policy. The highest number I have seen in a herd has been 8. Most of the time I see 2 to 4 deer on my land. I legally can take two does, but I am still choosing to let all of them pass by. But I kill every coyote and hog I see.

I think a major problem in my area is poaching.


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