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Anatomy of a Deer Lie

June 21, 2015
William Chase Clark - President, TDA

In Texas, we hunters enjoy the kind of freedom that many in other states can only dream of… not to mention the tremendous opportunities to harvest spectacular bucks year after year.  Our sporting way of life—and the right to hunt as we see fit—is a unique part of our heritage as Texans, so much so that it would be quite easy to take all of our opportunity and freedom for granted… and often, we do just that.  But then jealously and divisiveness begin to rear their ugly head, making trouble for all of us. 

Those driven by an extreme environmental, philosophical and/or hidden financial agenda have attempted to limit our hunting liberties in the past, but have found little success in doing so.  Our “Don’t Mess with Texas” attitude has historically prevented anti-hunters and anti-private property rights groups from muddying the waters of the unspoken alliance we have shared in the sporting community. 

The latest attempt to undermine your hunting freedom and your right to manage your own property the way you best see fit comes from a familiar foe.  The continued success of deer ranching in Texas has been the driving force behind the creation of a Facebook page called “Texans for Saving Our Hunting Heritage.”  This group is not new; it just has a new name.  A creative nomenclature to garner support from more than just a small group of elitist landowners who have realized that the success story of deer ranching is not going away.  Lipstick on a pig. 

Their plan is deceptively simple.  First, make the reckless decision to divide the strong sporting community of our state over philosophical differences and a financial agenda, in order to harm the deer ranching industry.  Demand that it’s your way or the highway.  Use arguments echoed by the anti-hunters to make your point, putting our freedoms and the hunting industry as a whole in jeopardy. 

Second, lie. And herein lies their story.

Lie: Attempt to undermine the more than $700 million contribution the deer ranching industry makes annually to the Texas economy by casually referring to them as a “cottage industry.”

Lie: Assault the character of deer-ranching families across Texas who pour their lives and investment into managing their wildlife resources, ensuring the health of both the land and the game therein.

Lie: Assault the business practices of deer ranchers by repeated suggestions that their operations—though perfectly legal—are somehow unethical.  Ignore the fact that ours is a highly-regulated industry that has to be accountable to the state for our operations, and instead repeat the phrase “extreme practices” to describe what has been legal in our state for many years and mirrors practices common to other livestock industries.

Lie: Sound the alarm bells in an attempt to create panic over the safety of venison being eaten by humans—all with absolutely no facts, data, research, or science to back up your claims.

Lie: Define hunting on your terms.  Demand that others define their sport according to your definition.  Paint a picture of “real” hunting that is overly-romanticized and highly UN-realistic, pretending that anything other than hunting YOUR way is simply not “real” hunting.

Lie: Start a Facebook page and pretend that it is a legitimate “organization.”  Call yourself the executive director for added importance.  Assert that you represent thousands of “concerned” Texans, and hide that fact that your elitist group has a specific agenda–one that is driven by financial motives without consideration for what is best for Texas landowners and hunters.  Block anyone from your page who expresses a dissenting opinion.

Lie: Repeatedly imply that you are a grassroots organization, while hiring a well-known liberal PR firm to help spread the lies.  From where did that money you spend come again, exactly?

Lie: Spread your propaganda as “news” through the media, well-timed to correspond to the legislative session. 

Lie: Encourage the legislature and state regulatory agencies to hamper the industry on every level, suggesting regulations that have no basis—either in fact, need or real public input.

Repeat above steps with a louder voice and a more insistent tone until you get your way…

Here’s the real story in a nutshell: Deer ranching and intensive deer management have a tremendous positive impact on this state, both in terms of the economy and on the health and strength of our whitetail & mule deer populations. Through innovative management techniques, this state’s wildlife resources have thrived after decades of mismanagement.  Texas deer ranchers and hunters have seen incredible gains in both the quality AND quantity of deer.  This translates to increased opportunities for hunters, as well as an increase in value of Texas agricultural properties. 

Deer ranching is good for Texas landowners, good for Texas hunters, and good for the Texas economy.  And that’s the absolute and honest truth… with the facts to prove it.