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    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2762

      I especially like the comment, near the bottom, about “messing up hunting ethics.” Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! This world has gone absolutely insane.

      GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE

      January 31, 2012

      Smuggling brings down deer breeders

      By MOLLY HENNESSY-FISKE

      McClatchy Newspapers

      NEW SUMMERFIELD, Texas — Texas’ hunting sea­son for white-tailed deer draws to a close this month. Normally Billy Powell would be counting his profits from catering to “hornographers,” hunters who will pay as much as $100,000 to bag a monster buck with impressive head­gear.

      Instead, the 78-year-old deer breeder is under house arrest and wearing an ankle monitor.

      Meanwhile, hundreds of his deer, part of a herd that had included two big bucks named Hit Man and Barry, have been put down in a scandal that has rocked Texas’ $2.8 billion deer hunting and breeding industry, the largest in the nation.

      Powell is one of 1,236 regis­tered Texas breeders. Some have paid up to $1 million for first-rate bucks they mate with captive does. Their prog­eny, 103,155 registered this year, are raised in pens and released on high-fenced ranches before the start of hunting season, which runs from October to late January.

      But Hit Man and Barry were smuggled into Texas from northern states where two deer diseases are found.

      After a four-year federal investigation, Powell paid $1.5 million in fines and restitution and pleaded guilty to charges of smuggling more than three dozen white-tailed deer worth

      more than $800,000 from Illi­nois, Indiana, Ohio and Penn­sylvania over a three-year period.

      Mitch Lockwood, big game director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said Powell put the state’s 4 million wild deer “and the entire Texas deer breeding industry at risk.”

      Powell and other breeders say regulators have become overzealous, out for hefty fines that become their agency’s cut of the burgeon­ing corvine industry, or deer farming business.

      “Parks and Wildlife don’t like deer breeders, and they’ll do anything to get you,” Pow­ell said earlier this month, wearing a western shirt adorned with bucks and rifles outside his ranch in New Sum­merfield, where deer blinds and “Deer Lease” signs punc­tuate the piney woods. “I did wrong, but they did more wrong.”

      Hunters rate trophy bucks according to a scoring system developed by Theodore Roo­sevelt’s Boone and Crockett Club in 1887, even though the club does not recognize farmed or high-fence hunted deer. The score includes antler length and circumfer­ence, with the best Texas whitetails traditionally scor­ing 150 to 160.

      Today, thanks to breeding, mammoth deerzillas are scor­ing 200 or more.

      Breeders say they can sell semen from outstanding bucks for up to $35,000 a sam­ple, or “straw,” to engineer the next generation of Dr. Seuss-worthy antlers.

      The breeders advertise pedigreed Texas bucks with storied names and bloodlines like those of racehorses: Stickers, Dinero and Golden Boy.

      “It’s like a rock star: The whitetail is the most sought ­after animal in Texas,” breed­er Roy Malonson said while checking on his herd of 168 deer recently at RS Deer Ranch outside Houston. “We have the challenge to produce that.”

      Many breeders rely on arti­ficial insemination partly because Texas outlawed importing out-of-state deer seven years ago to prevent the introduction of bovine tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease, a neurologi­cal disorder similar to mad cow disease. Texas has never had a case of chronic wasting, which can be spread by con­tact, but regulators are con­cerned because 17 other states have, including neigh­boring New Mexico and Okla­homa.

      Still, some breeders have ignored the ban.

      Powell, who made his money running successful nurseries, became interested in whitetail deer as a hunter, and started breeding them as a hobby at his 5 P Farms in the 1990s. By 2008, his buck Barry, named after Powell’s eldest son, had scored 440 on the Boone and Crockett scale, well above the white-tail world record of 333. But Barry was among the bucks Powell had smuggled from Pennsylvania, distinc­tive enough to draw the atten­tion of regulators. (In Penn­sylvania, the buck was known as Fat Boy.) After Powell placed an ad in the Texas Deer Association magazine to sell semen from Barry and another monster buck Hit Man, the investigation began.

      Hit Man, it turned out, was actually Silver Storm, a well-­known buck from Indiana.

      Barry and Hit Man died of natural causes before authori­ties brought charges against Powell last year, but their presence helped establish the government’s case. Powell pleaded guilty in June to smuggling 37 deer into Texas. “I brought it on myself,” Powell said.

      Karl Kinsel, executive director of the San Antonio­ based Texas Deer Associa­tion, said the group has expelled Powell and about 20 other breeders in recent years for smuggling and other violations of its ethics policy.

      This business has gotten so lucrative; we don’t want somebody messing up the ethics of hunting,” Kinsel said. “We don’t like to be con­sidered a bunch of Billy Pow­ells.”

      There is no way to test live deer for chronic wasting dis­ease, and Powell had to pay regulators about $28,000 to kill and test his 334 deer in April and May. They mostly dispatched the deer with bolt guns, beheading them to test their brains. It took five trucks to haul away the car­casses.

      Regulators also euthanized and tested out-of-state deer Powell sold to breeders. None tested positive for chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis.

    • Stephen Graf
      Member
      Post count: 2313

      On the bright side, at least it sounds like the wildlife dept is giving these guys some trouble….

      Maybe you could send Ms. HENNESSY-FISKE a copy of Mr. Leopold’s book and a cliff note summary of why she should write articles questioning the very existence of these operations…

      When I think back to the folks that I went to college with that majored in mass-com, it’s no wonder these things get written.

      I expect nothing speaks louder than money though. Can you imagine giving a hundred thousand dollars to some guy to shoot a pen raised cow eyed buck that can barely lift his head, just to have the deformed antlers? It does make me feel like a stranger in a strange land.

    • bruc
      Member
      Post count: 476

      “What’s the world coming to”. Is all I can say.

      Kindda sad.

      Bruce

    • Charles EkCharles Ek
      Moderator
      Post count: 550

      If there’s a buck to be made, some will always seize that chance, regardless of the consequences to others. Or in other words: Radix malorum est cupiditas.

    • james gilmer
      Member
      Post count: 131

      the only thing that surprises me is the amount of the fines. Good to see the gov’t is finally hitting these guys the only place it hurts, their pocket books!

      I have been arguing for years that deer/elk breeding farms will eventually be the end of all wildlife.

      MN had one of the largest captive elk herds destroyed recently due to an outbreak of CWD.

      this one farm has cost taxpayers $$$$$ making sure it hasn’t spread into the wild deer population.

    • CareyE
      Member
      Post count: 111

      Sounds like ethics went out the window long before Billy Powell.

    • FallguyFallguy
      Member
      Post count: 317

      It is the faster, bigger and easier mentality. The guys that pay to kill these captive deer believe they are deer hunting and they call themselves sportsman. I’m surprised the Texas Game department did not get orders from above to look the other way. That seems to be the trend in my state.

    • SteveMcD
      Member
      Post count: 874

      Well it’s Texas. So that explains a lot. I’ve seen some of those Texas monster buck trophy heads at sport shows and they are laughable. Franken-Deer with monsterous horns and a head no bigger than a beagle dog! Nope I wouldn’t hunt Texas Deer if you paid me!

      I liked things better 40 years ago when even a forkhorn was worth a slap on the back. ThattaBoy!

    • Don Thomas
      Member
      Post count: 339

      Just think. You could have “He bought the biggest deer in Texas” on your tombstone.

    • hrhodes
      Post count: 31

      THAT AIN’T HUNTING.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      hrhodes wrote: THAT AIN’T HUNTING.

      No, it definitely isn’t. But sadly, for people who only care about the end result – a “hero” pic and a big rack on the wall, I think that’s a minor detail.

      In too many states, this is becoming “hunting.” Even where I live, with healthy elk herds and lots of public land, there’s a private “elk preserve” not far away where, for some ridiculous amount of money, one can go shoot their elk behind a high fence. I just don’t get it. What an empty accomplishment.

      I didn’t see anything in the article about Powell losing his license. Too bad.

    • Rogue
      Post count: 84

      I loved the Dr. Seuss analogy. Not sure how to even feel about using the word “ethics” in this article.

      I believe I feel a lymric comming on that is not suitable for this site.

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2231

      This whole situation is very sad and is just part of a much larger problem. I’m in Pennsylvania where that one buck came from. On the other side of the ridge here is a 12′ fence surrounding some acres that you can pay to play in. There was a piece in the local papers a few years ago about how someone stole this guys buck worth thirty grand. Hold up a few bucks and the herd will follow. It’s sick.

      In my state baiting is illegal, but go into any “sporting” goods store and the shelves are lined with crap to feed deer to bring them into your area and make their antlers grow. You can plant round-up ready food plots so you can spray the crap out of the plot and the crop won’t be affected. But is there anything wrong with the crop itself?? There seems to be very little clue that something is amiss.

      Really now, think about it. Would you feed an animal hormones to alter their natural state and then feed that animal to your children? Well, of course we do. Chickens, beef, pork, turkeys, corn, etc. and now deer. Pretty soon we’ll have squirrel feed to make the tree rats the size of baby rhinos.

      It’s a sad state we’re in now, guys and girls. I wish I were more optimistic, but I’m beginning to loose that fine attitude that I’ve had all my life.

      That said, I’m reminded of the old saw, who said it? Don’t let the bastards get you down.

    • kingwouldbe
      Member
      Post count: 245

      One pill makes you larger

      And one pill makes you small

      And the ones that mother gives you

      Don’t do anything at all

      Go ask Alice

      When she’s ten feet tall

      And if you go chasing rabbits

      And you know you’re going to fall

      Tell ’em a hookah-smoking caterpillar

      Has given you the call

      Call Alice

      When she was just small

      When the men on the chessboard

      Get up and tell you where to go

      And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom

      And your mind is moving low

      Go ask Alice

      I think she’ll know

      When logic and proportion

      Have fallen sloppy dead

      And the White Knight is talking backwards

      And the Red Queen’s off with her head

      Remember what the dormouse said

      Feed your head

      Feed your head

      This sounds like an acid trip from the 60’s 😯

      attached file
    • hrhodes
      Post count: 31

      Kingwouldbe wrote: One pill makes you larger

      And one pill makes you small

      And the ones that mother gives you

      Don’t do anything at all

      Go ask Alice

      When she’s ten feet tall

      And if you go chasing rabbits

      And you know you’re going to fall

      Tell ’em a hookah-smoking caterpillar

      Has given you the call

      Call Alice

      When she was just small

      When the men on the chessboard

      Get up and tell you where to go

      And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom

      And your mind is moving low

      Go ask Alice

      I think she’ll know

      When logic and proportion

      Have fallen sloppy dead

      And the White Knight is talking backwards

      And the Red Queen’s off with her head

      Remember what the dormouse said

      Feed your head

      Feed your head

      This sounds like an acid trip from the 60’s 😯

      Far out.

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Member
      Post count: 2762

      And definitely a BAD trip.

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2231

      King,

      Great addition to the post. It does get weird and I wish it was only a bad trip, but it’s really the world. Optimism is at bay. Money leads the herd. I’ve believed for years that as long as beer and potato chips are cheap you won’t see any real turn around any time soon.

      Just ask Alice. dwc

    • kingwouldbe
      Member
      Post count: 245

      I’m glade you guys got my warped sense of humor. 😀

      As I read the post, this was all I could think of.

      Now lets not be naive about how the world runs, MONEY has always ruled, and if you have the money and you want a 400″ whitetail you can buy one.

      Now we as Traditional Bowhunters have, buy choice, chose a different path, for us, it seems that we want to connect more with the whole experience, that just the killing of something big, is not the whole for us.

      By choice, we have made it harder to even get a kill, let alone a monster, it’s the journey, not the destination.

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2231

      King,

      No doubt that money has always been running things and lubricating the rest of it. And, I would be plenty happy to have much more than I do, without question. As warped as I might think it is, I’m not that upset about somebody paying to hunt inside a fence. After all, it keeps that joker out of the woods where a more ethical crowd might be. The thing that really bothers me is that by playing with the herd, especially with chemicals, it can affect things for the rest of us.

      There’s a club in central PA that bought a monster buck or two from Minnesota many years ago and turned them loose on their property to up the gene pool. Seems silly to me, but I doubt they were really hurting anything.

      I mainly object to putting the natural herd at risk to disease and by introducing chemicals that change the deer and make the meat less natural. I love venison not just for the taste, but also because of the free-range organic quality. That said, being in eastern PA, I’m sure my “natural” herd is grazing on some chem lawn, too.

      Tough to get a way from it all.

      We are making a personal choice and that is truly the point. The journey is the destination. Thanks, dwc

    • sagebrush
      Post count: 52

      I guess I just don’t get it. Why would anybody want to kill a deer in a fenced in area. I wouldn’t do it if it were free. There’s no accomplishment in that. What a hollow victory to shoot one of these deer. Reminds me of a farm down the road. Some guy paid them to shoot a large Jacob’s ram in their field with his compound. Why not just use a hammer? Gary

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2231

      In the same vein, I read a story a few years back about how one of the better known black powder expert writers shot a bison with his reproduction long range rifle to get the feel for what it was like way back when. Apparently, the buf needed culling. That was pretty strange, too. When we go to our friends’ farm to buy beef, they don’t ask me if I want to shoot it at 400 yards to pretend I’m Beefalo Bill.

    • sapcut
      Post count: 159

      Ok…that’s it…I’m getting on the fast, flat, NO FOC arrow train. The LSD poem did it. Choo-Choo.

    • RI Swamp Yankee
      Member
      Post count: 20

      Okay, if you’re reading this forum you probably know what hunting is about, and that paying $100,000 to shoot a captive animal is in no way, shape or form “hunting” in the true sense of the word. It’s simply paying money to kill captive animals with big antlers.

      The real sad part in my view, is that the animal rights groups and general press in this country often don’t make the distinction and throw us into the same cesspool with some of these idiots. I worry what will happen to real conservationists (thinking people who make decisions based on science) if the entire world gets divided up into two groups: PETA and Dollars for Antlers. 🙁

    • Jason Wesbrock
      Member
      Post count: 761

      DWC,

      We have a similar situation in Illinois with respect to feeding and baiting deer; it’s banned year round. Regardless, you’d be hard pressed to find an outdoors store here that doesn’t sell bags of mineral supplements and prepackaged bait (C’mere Deer, Deer Cocaine [that’s a lovely name], etc.). It’s illegal to use, but not to buy and sell. A solution to that problem may seem simple, but it’s not.

      The products marketed to grow big antlers are the ones that make me chuckle the most. The previously mentioned P.T. Barnum quote comes to mind. They remind me of something my maternal grandmother was fond of saying about how most fishing lures are made to catch fishermen, not fish. As if there was any doubt, I figured folks had lost their collective minds when I saw one of the major hunting industry companies started selling little packages of deer poop to hunters as an attractant. Seriously…deer poop. Yes, the proverbial shark has been jumped.

      Forget the timber value of my property, now I have to rethink the acrage in terms of deer poop value. Maybe I can start selling poop harvesting rights like other folks make money off mushroom hunters. I can be the first deer turd outfitter in the state of Wisconsin! 😆

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2231

      I like that idea. Just tell them, big turds means big deer. TurdScout.com….. dwc

    • Chris Horsman
      Post count: 2

      The way I see it is, these farms are not illegal. They don`t fit into some folks idea of right and ethical, but what right do we have to say what is and isn`t ethical. My ethic`s are mine and mine alone. Whilst I don`t condone high fences, tame deer, etc etc I do respect that persons right to choose. And isn`t that the fundamental right? The right to choose.

    • tombow
      Post count: 103

      CH doth have a point, regardless of how much we HATE that there is such B-U-L-L oney as purchasers of $100,000 deer “tags” and those who are all too willing to take their money. It is Free Enterprise in it’s most perverse state (of so called “deer hunting”. Let’s face it: there is every shade of color to what people think is acceptable behavior or ethics.

      Let me go on the record as saying I whole heartedly disagree with this practice of engineering antlers. When’s the pedigree’d dog show going to be replaced by the pedigree’d DEER show?

      Personally, I have numerous bow trophies to my credit and most of them have no horns at all and that suits me just FINE.

      Oh and I WILL be chasing rabbits…..

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      I can see your point, Chris, and I tend to agree with it. When it comes to preserving freedom of choice versus having decisions dictated, I tend to fall on the side of choice.

      But I think it’s also important to realize that what is currently “legal” or not, or considered “ethical” or not, is a continually shifting landscape and an ever-evolving collective process. Numerous things are now illegal that once were legal, because enough people in our society eventually came to the conclusion that it was unethical. And there are plenty of examples of the opposite being true as well – things that were once illegal, and aren’t anymore, because our culture no longer considers them to be unethical or immoral.

      And I guess I would disagree that ethics are always an individual thing. Like it or not, we live in a society, and that means that in addition to individual ethics, there are also collective ethics, at least some of which are required to keep things cohesive and not a Mad Max free-for-all. Of course, some of these collective ethics can actually be a good thing too.

      So yes, these sorts of fake, canned, ego-hunts are currently legal (in some places). But regardless of current legality, if enough people agree that they are unethical, that could change. Same with “wild” game farming. Particularly where these sorts of practices have the potential to negatively affect neighboring wild populations, I would certainly support them being made illegal, as they already are in some states.

    • rwbowman
      Post count: 119

      I LOVE THIS BAR!!

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      rwbowman wrote: I LOVE THIS BAR!!

      Where the sprits are conversational and the conversation is spirited!!

    • tombow
      Post count: 103

      rwbowman wrote: I LOVE THIS BAR!!

      Where we can thoroughly discuss the supreme absurdity which surrounds us each and everyday. But it is so great to be able to share these thoughts with like minded individuals. Crimeny Sakes Alive who’d a thunk there’d be others who, like a bow string, are just a little bit twisted like I am. Uh, sorry if I have insulted you….I done gone bow crazy!!!

    • Lawrence Hansen
      Member
      Post count: 16

      CUDDOS MR. ELKHEART!

      We have lost a moderator and gained an awareness advocate. Legislation, rules, laws et-al only provide bridges to the growth of individual consciousness and response-ability. Time is the cure and awareness the salve.

      You thoghtful posts that seed lively forum discussions are the organic food of conscious growth.

      KEEP ‘EM COMING.:D

    • wildschwein
      Post count: 581

      Sad…so sad.

    • Ben M.
      Post count: 460

      Wow. You folks are a headsy bunch. I should have read more of this forum before I posted my first kill.

      Thank you all for the fodder. Much to ponder with my children…

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