23 responses to The Amish and Deer Farming
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    Comment on High fences (April 2nd, 2014 at 07:00)

    High fences

    The high fence craze in Texas started, as this article noted, in the late 70’s to early ’80’s. I am not particularly a fan of the idea of hunting behind a high fence, though many of the “shooting preserves” in South and West Texas are literally tens of thousands of acres; so it is not like people are stalking captive raised deer on just a few acres.

    I am more concerned about what high fences do to the ability of native free ranging deer and other wildlife to migrate as needed to find food and cover. These fences are really an obstruction when animals try to move from one range to another as seasons change, etc. Though the high fences are very good at keeping feral hogs off of your property as they are a mesh field fence design.

    My wife and I were talking about this the other day and I commented that something must have changed in the past 8 to 10 years, because it use to be that people were putting up high fences left and right but you seldom see a new one being put in now. In fact a couple of them in our area have come down recently.

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      Comment on High-fence deer hunting - prices (April 2nd, 2014 at 10:42)

      High-fence deer hunting - prices

      Oldkat ranches of thousands of acres do sound like a different animal than the ones described in the article/video. The Clear Creek Hunting Ranch in Holmes County is only 128 acres.

      Not being a hunter, their pricing was interesting to me, based on how many points each buck rates. You must show up to these places expecting to shell out thousands of dollars, even if you only get the lowest-rated buck:



      Bucks scoring up to 139……………………..$2000.00
      Bucks scoring from 140 – 149……………..$2800.00
      Bucks scoring from 150 – 159……………..$3800.00
      Bucks scoring from 160- 169………………$4800.00
      Bucks scoring from 170 – 179……………..$5800.00
      Bucks scoring from 180 – 189……………..$6800.00
      Bucks scoring from 190 – 199……………..$8000.00
      Bucks scoring from 200 – 210……………..$10,000.00
      Bucks scoring 211 plus are individually priced.

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      Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 2nd, 2014 at 10:49)

      The video attached to the third article features both detractors and supporters of high fence hunting. Someone argues that it provides a hunting option for wheelchair-bound individuals. I have a hunch by the way it’s discussed that most high fence hunters aren’t wheelchair-bound, but for those hunters I can see the value in that.

      Also just added a few Amish deer farm photos above, shared by contributors, from Lancaster Co and Illinois Indiana.

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    Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 2nd, 2014 at 15:52)

    We have a number of these types of “game ranches” or preserves here in Michigan. However the prices have come down for the hunter due to the economics of our time. This said, the fact is, very large antlered deer such as the ones seen in the photographs are very rare in the wild. Aspiring hunters (especially older ones) have the money but not the youth or time to chase wild trophies. A 210 B&C buck is a once in a life time deer and while expensive to shoot at a preserve you could easily spend that much and much more to try to find one in the wild.

    I’d like to see Amish start bird hunting preserves like for pheasants and quail. It would be a natural for them especially if combined with a B&B type operation.

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      Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 3rd, 2014 at 11:18)

      Thanks for a hunter’s perspective Derek. As a non-hunter I had no idea how common or rare getting bucks at the various levels might be. As far as bragging rights go, it seems there’d be a premium on being able to say you got yours in the wild. Of course maybe some hunters have something in common with the proverbial fisherman and his embellished “fish tale”.

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    Comment on DEER KILLINGS ARE PSYCHOTIC (April 3rd, 2014 at 08:58)



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    Comment on Amish-made pens (April 3rd, 2014 at 11:49)

    Amish-made pens

    It is surprising to me that an Amish man would make earrings.

    Another Amish pen maker from 2009 can be watched for 5:14, although it may not be real clear. Toward the end of Amish Pen Making “Haiti Benefit Sale”, you can see the wooden rectangles he starts out with and the finished pens.


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    Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 3rd, 2014 at 12:28)

    My husband grew up the son of a professional hunter and trapper (and his brother still is today), but other than poaching the occasional young buck at one farm where the farmer kept one field sowed in winter wheat so that meat would be available during the winter for folks like my husband’s family, who literally *never* bought meat at the store (and also grew all their own vegetables, raised their own chickens, etc. — all by “renting” land from farmer friends since they lived in an admittedly small town!), they never, ever hunted animals that weren’t actually wild.

    My brother-in-law still traps today, and he and his daughters always get at least one deer during hunting season, but almost all his wild animal work now is conservation work — live trapping and moving healthy animals, only actually trapping aging or unhealthy animals for their fur, to help keep the wild populations stable and healthy. I used to be utterly opposed to all hunting, but it’s hard to argue with what my BIL does. He works with the wildlife management folks to ensure that there’s good land and healthy animal populations, which is what I think we all want to see!

    Derek’s suggestion of bird hunting is actually an excellent one — that’s one of the premises behind the organization Ducks Unlimited, which encourages farmers to allow small pond areas on their property to “go wild” to provide homes for wild birds. That way the hunters can still get their wild game, but the populations aren’t harmed in the process. I wonder if Ducks Unlimited has ever approached any of the Amish farmers to provide a small birding area on their property? The two groups would go hand-in-hand, I would think.

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    Alice Mary
    Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 3rd, 2014 at 13:50)

    I tend to feel like Jean much of the time, though I can understand Laura’s BIL’s job in wildlife management as it pertains to keeping wildlife populations “healthy and stable.”

    Yet, I feel that mankind has, for the most part (and despite “good intentions”), interfered with wildlife to their (and OUR) ultimate detriment.

    I hope there are still animals left in the “wild” for my grandkids (10 mos. & 3 yrs. old) to enjoy observing and “shooting with cameras”, not ammunition.

    Alice Mary

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    Lee Ann
    Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 4th, 2014 at 12:02)

    Although Jean expressed it in a different way than I would, I happen to agree that killing innocent, penned-up animals who have no say in the so-called “sport” of hunting is, well, murder. What else can you call it? And I really, really question the mentality of anyone who would enjoy taking such a life. Where is the compassion? Where is the empathy?

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      Comment on Meaning of "murder" (April 4th, 2014 at 12:24)

      Meaning of "murder"

      While this practice may be repulsive (I am not attracted to hunting in the least, though I don’t have any argument on principle with those who do it, wildlife management is a thing that needs doing), “murder” is by definition the killing of another human being, and has meant just that for ages.

      The language we use matters and calling it murder, as I notice many are starting to do, subtly elevates animals to the level of humans. There are other descriptive terms (“slaughter”, “killing”, etc) that I think convey the meaning without twisting the language.

      I also don’t think it is thoughtful of those human victims of true psychotic killers and mass murderers (to use the terms Jean uses above).

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    Lee Ann
    Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 4th, 2014 at 15:57)

    I suspect that the deer, whose life is just as important to it as my life is to me, and who is as capable of feeling pain and fear as I am, may not share your definition, Eric. I do understand your point, but I think that this species-centric vocabulary helps to justify doing unspeakable atrocities, as long as the atrocities aren’t done to humans. I think it is time we broaden our circle of compassion to include all living beings.

    I do not think, however, that it is appropriate to consider those who kill to be psychotic. Psychosis is a serious mental illness, and most atrocities are not committed by psychotic individuals, but by those who lack compassion or a conscience, individuals who are otherwise considered to be “in their right mind”.

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      Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 4th, 2014 at 17:32)

      Just to clarify, it’s not “my” definition, it’s the widely accepted definition of the term found in any major dictionary, and what the word has long been understood to mean in society.




      I take your point about the deer’s desire for self-preservation, but there is a difference between humans and animals and I believe our vocabulary is part of maintaining that.

      This is not a justification of cruelty to animals (I am sympathetic to the argument that hunting is a form of cruelty particularly in cases when there is not an instant kill)…how animals are used for food and in other ways by humans is another discussion in itself. For that matter all of us who eat meat or wear animal products implicitly accept the killing of animals, even though we might not spend much time thinking about it.

      I do appreciate your points about psychosis and compassion in general.

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        Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 6th, 2014 at 00:13)

        As a hunter myself, I totally like the bolt action pen (above).

        As a naturalist in my own rite — having spent hours upon hours in the woods (as a hunter, trapper, and camera-jockey) — I get totally amused at the misconceptions of what goes on in nature by people who have never spent time in nature. While working in the field one day I heard an ongoing squeal…, and eventually found a field mouse that was being murdered* (via constriction) by a king snake. So now no matter what I did, I was an accessory to murder — either the murder of the mouse if I did nothing, or the murder of the snake (via starvation) if I made the snake free his meal. I don’t go for malicious cruelty to animals, don’t get me wrong; but anyone that thinking that without the hunter bambi is just going to live a long and happy life and one day peacefully slip away to that great forest in the sky — well, they don’t know Mother Nature.

        *Said tongue-in-cheek. Your cited definition and explanation of murder is spot on, and the difference between humans and animals is equally accurate.

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    Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 5th, 2014 at 18:42)

    Those against deer hunting in whatever form, should bear this in mind.
    Throughout the world, wildlife has always lost the war against urban development and the need for farmland, where most wildlife dies out because of the destruction of their habitat and those that don’t, are killed off being regarded as vermin.

    The only wildlife that really has a chance of surviving this onslaught from humanity, are those that people regard as valuable for one reason or another and thus propagate.

    Deer only need one buck in twenty to survive to form his harem. The other nineteen bucks are deer surplus.
    I’m sure if the deer were asked if they would prefer to become valueless wildlife through a ban on hunting and thus face extinction through becoming classified as vermin, or if they would prefer to sacrifice their surplus bucks to hunters so that they would retain some value to humans as a species for hunting, I’m sure every single deer would vote for the hunting option.

    Deer lovers mean well, but they are not buying up farmland to turn into deer preserves where does can live and reproduce, the hunters are. For without reproducing does, they have no bucks to shoot.
    The continuation of the deer as a species in any great number, lies with the hunters and not the deer lovers.

    A ban on deer hunting, whether natural or caged, would seriously harm their ultimate survival.

    FYI – so long as we have mutant farm animals for meat, I am personally against killing Bambi, however for the sake of increasing the number of deer kept and bred in captivity, I will painfully turn a blind eye to hunters.
    I will also support caged hunting over natural hunting. The caged deer have been bred to be shot, they know nothing about being free on the range and are just one step ahead of a farm animal.
    The wild deer are a natural beauty and killing them destroys just a bit that natural beauty.
    If caged deer selectively bred for their large antlers keep hunters away from the wild deer, then I’m sure every wild deer supports caged hunting as well.

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      Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 5th, 2014 at 19:06)

      I have to disagree with you on one point, Dirk. If wild deer weren’t hunted, they would rapidly become overpopulated for their habitat and start starving to death. I learned this many years ago from a deer-hunting coworker in Texas, where if it weren’t for hunting, there would be many, many starving deer — and this was in an area where there were vast areas of habitat for deer; they are a species that, as I’ve heard it put, are “meat on the hoof” and prey animals, intended to be eaten by predators.

      Plus deer are extremely adaptable to urban areas; they’ll eat grocery store garbage as happily as their wild food. We used to have a troop of deer that tromped by our home early every morning to go feed at the grocery store next door out of their garbage! And this was in an *intensely* suburban neighborhood just north of Washington D.C.

      Currently in the D.C. area, there are so many deer thriving in this urban environment that they frequently overrun, for example, the runways of airports. While I appreciate people’s desire to keep beautiful deer alive, they are intended as food for predators, of which humans are one, and frankly, when it comes to a fight between a few deer vs. an airplane full of humans, I will prefer the airplane’s survival any day.

      Deer, like coyotes and raccoons and gophers, are species that not only survive living among humans but actually thrive. Their populations aren’t in danger from humans; they’re more in danger from their own breeding habits. So hunting wild deer is actually the more humane act that permits these lovely animals to live with adequate diet rather than starve themselves out to the point where they become, as a friend put it, “pestiferous,” endangering the humans among whom they live.

      Thanks to my husband’s family, I’ve learned to temper my love of the beauty of deer with the realities of their existence. I suggest that those who believe humans are endangering deer populations learn some of the facts, as I did, before condemning all hunting. (And, mind you, I am a confirmed non-hunter, but I can see both sides of the issue now!)

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    Lee Ann
    Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 6th, 2014 at 10:35)

    Erik, you are quite correct that the word “murder” presently refers to killing of another human being. I don’t disagree with you. But language is dynamic, ever changing. I can no longer use the lovely word “gay” to mean happy, bright, as it has now taken on an entirely different meaning.

    Many people choose to use the word “murder” to apply to the unnecessary killing of animals – especially under the guise of sport – to make the parallel that such killing is wrong, whether one is killing a human or (another) animal. Speaking of word meanings – when did the word “sport” as in “sport hunting” take on the meaning of killing a participant who DOES NOT CHOOSE TO “PLAY”? Handball, tennis, baseball, hockey, etc. are sports between CONSENTNG players. Hunting/trapping etc. is no sport for the animal.

    And finally, what does it say about an individual who ENJOYS killing? Many of us look at a deer – or any of God’s creation – with admiration and respect – not with a desire to destroy. Some killing may be necessary, at times, but for any compassionate individual, it is a sad occurrence, not one to celebrate and whoop and holler about.

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      Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 6th, 2014 at 13:38)

      Lee Ann you are certainly right that language does change, however I’d argue that not all those changes are necessarily good nor to be encouraged, this being one of them.

      Hunting is an activity which I have never been attracted to on a personal level, probably for similar reasons to your own–killing is unpleasant to me and so I avoid it or outsource it to other people (e.g. for the food I eat). But I think it fulfills a certain need, as pointed out in some of the comments above by Laura, Dirk and Don and so I don’t begrudge hunters as long as they are professional about how they go about it.

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      Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 6th, 2014 at 15:20)

      Lee Ann, I work in a word-related vocation, and am at times even painfully aware of the evolution of terms within the English language. You are quite right that the language and its terms are dynamic. However, I must side with Erik in the current definition of the term “murder.” The modern-day habit of warping definitions by a few agenda-driven individuals does not necessitate vocabulary retooling for the rest of us.

      You ask “what does it say about an individual who *enjoys* killing?” — a reasonable question, and worthy of a reasonable answer. Have you ever had a fly that annoyed the stew out of you…, and then relished the moment when you finally “dispatched” it with the fly swat? Or gave an “A-Ha — gotcha!” cry when stomping the cockroach that ran out from under your kitchen sink? Have you ever taken medicine to kill something that had made you sick from some “bad” food that you ate or a parasite that you got? All of these are “enjoyable”…, yet all involve killing. A fly or cockroach is no less a life than a deer…, unless one would be so bold as to assume that cuteness makes one life more valuable than the life of an ugly creature. Anyway, the enjoyment is not in the killing itself, but in accomplishing one’s goal. Stopping the pestiness is the enjoyable goal accomplished in killing the fly. Cutting down on germs is the enjoyable goal experienced in killing the roach. Shooting game is enjoyable in the same way — and for various reasons for various people. It’s the joy of putting meat on the table for many; it’s the joy of being self-proficient (to a degree) for others. The list goes on…, but it’s not the kill per se that is the enjoyment. I know a *whole* lot of hunters, and not a single one of them are driven by bloodlust. And if all life is truly meaningful, then one will find no more fault in the enjoyment that is somehow related to killing a deer than he/she will find in swatting a fly or stomping a bug.

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        Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 6th, 2014 at 18:56)

        ^ self-*sufficient*…, not proficient. (Oops)

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    Lee Ann
    Comment on The Amish and Deer Farming (April 7th, 2014 at 14:20)


    I can truthfully say that I feel no pleasure in killing a fly, or a mosquito even, although I must admit to having killed both, though rarely. And I catch household spiders in a jar and release them outside.

    And, having personally known a hunter – my brother – I know that, although he didn’t talk much about bloodlust, he did enjoy getting his trophies (even though he did use the meat). He was proud of the bear skin he had hanging on the wall – a bear that “inttruded” on his camp even though he was the intruder in the northern home of the bear. But we all felt some pleasure at the quick demise of the bear by my brother, when we learned that it had previously been shot, but didn’t die, and would have been in excrutiating pain – another problem with hunting. I don’t think all hunters are rotten people – certainly I loved my brother and found so much good in him. But I am also aware that, shortly before his death, he confided that he had lost his interest in killing. I see that as growth, and I am proud of him for that and more – but not for the hunting.

    And now, enough said. I don’t need the last word, and will say no more on the subject.

    Lee Ann

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    Comment on Amish (January 29th, 2018 at 22:07)


    To settle a debate at home, are the people that own this ranch truly Amish? What percentage of these deer ranch’s would you say own these ranch’s? Do the Amish slaughter these deer? I have been told that the Amish own 500 or more of these farms.The other debate was about the puppy mills, what percentage do you think the Amish have puppy mills.?

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