Bruce, I'm not defending these Shields River outfitters, but the genes and food sources out here produce really big bucks. There is lots of agricutural land where deer can eat everything they need for maximum growth. These fields are not set up as feed lots or attractants for deer, but as a matter of fact, draw and produce big deer without that goal in mind. A person would only have to control a large tract of land and limited hunting access, to easily claim trophy size deer. I do all my hunting on public land and always get at least a 4x4 with a 15 inch or better spread - it's not hard. These deer are 2 1/2 year olds - the genes and food are that good. If I had enough patience and discipline, I could be shooting much larger deer. So, although I hate to say it, I believe that in this part of the country, these outfitters are probably not feeding steroids, etc. to produce big deer. That would not be good business sense as they would be wasting their money on unnecessary expenses.
Another point on "pay-to-hunt" practices:
In Montana we have the Block Management Program where the state takes money from licenses fees of nonresidents and pays it to land owners to allow the public to access their ranches to hunt. So, in effect, the ranchers are being paid to let people hunt, just like the outfitters are getting paid. The only difference is that the ranchers are paid indirectly by the hunters while the outfitters are paid directly. So, if I set up on a piece of this land that borders an alfalfa field and get a really big buck (I've at least seen them), would that buck be OK in your Record Book?
I would say its no problem cuz its fair chase.Im glad to see everyone voicing there opions in a non argumentive manner .THANK YOU .like one person said theres fences and then theres FENCES ifor one prefer to bust my butt hunting state land going toe to toe with deer that have seen it all.i hunted private property and it seemed that the deer knew where the stands were.On top of that some people adopted the idea that they could shoot anything ,no tagging ,letting the meat go to waste.I cant be friends with people like that and i still am in torment over wether or not i should turn my so called hunting buddies in.Im a meat hunter am im proud of of the yearling does that feed my family.Ive yet to find a recipie for antlers.Fair chase is the only deer that should go in the books .Personaly ,Ive never even opened either book .Who cares.Its like comparing the size of your ,.....shoe .Thats my two cents
Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison.
Genesis 27:3 "The thinking deer hunter should mature through three phases during his hunting life. First phase, "I need to kill a deer." Second phase, I want to harvest a nice deer. And last phase, we must manage this resource so our children and their children can experience the grand tradition of good deer hunting." - Jim Slinsky