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Trophy deer for sale: Killing, not hunting

by Mike McFeely

And we wonder why hunting gets a bad name.

A deer farm owner from Vergas, Minn., is trying to sell the opportunity to shoot a captive trophy buck for $9,400, according to a report on WDAY-TV in Fargo.

Mike Summers is advertising on Craigslist, offering 4-year-old buck Tarzan (yes, it has a name) to any "hunter" who wants to kill the fenced-in animal. Summers Game Ranch is about 25 acres. Click here to see the actual Craigslist ad.

 Tarzan, the trophy captive buck (note fence in background)

To be clear: There is nothing illegal about what Summers is doing. There are about 500 deer or elk farms in Minnesota and owners can sell the right to shoot the animals on those farms.

To also be clear: I support hunting. I personally am not a deer hunter, but fully back any sportsman who wants to legally and ethically hunt deer with a firearm or a bow-and-arrow (or any other legal, ethical means of harvesting a deer).

But shall we talk ethics, sportsmanship and public relations? 

Hunting is already frowned upon in many areas of the country and to have this "hunt" of a fenced-in, captive, named deer get lumped in with actual fair-chase hunting won't help. For that, Summers deserves some scorn.

But for the actual shooting of the animal, that scorn should be reserved for any "hunter" who would take up Summers on his offer. There is a place for fenced-in hunting if the shooter is disabled or otherwise unable to participate in fair-chase hunting. But if some dude from Minneapolis, Chicago or Texas wants to shoot Tarzan strictly to hang the deer's head on his wall ... that is pathetic.

If an able-bodied hunter believes that slaughtering a captive deer is somehow equitable to real hunting, then that person believes that hunting shows hosted by Bubbas on certain outdoors TV channels show real deer hunts.

Come to think of it, chances are pretty good Summers will sell Tarzan to a Bubba with a southern accent who will record the killing and breathlessly pass it off as a trophy deer hunt.

(Mike McFeely is a talk-show host on KFGO-AM in Fargo, N.D. He can be reached at mike.mcfeely@mwcradio.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcFeelyKFGO.)