I have no problem with high fence hunting as long as its a good ranch dedicated to keeping the hunt as challanging as possible.
I hunted a high fence ranch last fall that had a 180" typical 6x6 on it. The ranch owner had seen it several times throughout the year. We hunted HARD for a week solid and never saw a hint of the deer and on the last evening at last light I shot a nice 5x5.
Conversely, I can sit on my deck every morning during hunting season and have 140 to 150" whitetails wall by my house at less then 50 yards, every morning and evening. Hunting that high fence ranch is MUCH more difficult then hunting wild deer at my house.
Just depends on the ranch and how its set up, some high fence ranches are very bad and give the others a bad name, many have no experience hunting on a good high fence ranch and have opinions based on what they think its like hunting on a ranch like this. Others have hunted on very poor quality ranches and feel all are the same, this is hardly the case.
Me personally, living here in Montana, I am sad to say that hunting is taking a rapid path toward pay to hunt situations. In 7 years when my daughter can hunt, there will likely not be any local farmers that will let us hunt because they are leasing their land out to out of state hunting groups. Here pretty soon it will be pay to hunt only and that is a very sad thing.
As far as the deer that was posted on. Personally, I beleive that once a whitetail gets much over 210", they just do not look good anymore. A 160 to 180" typical whitetail is something to behold and in my opinion. Add 10 to 10" of trash to a solid typical frame and you get a deer that is nearly perfect in my opinion. These huge non typicals are just not that appealing to me as far as appearance.
If I never improve on this one I will be more then happy!!!
Yes, this is a high fence buck. Took three days to kill him and we knew where he was at every day. Finally got lucky and put a bullet in him at a full run at 250 yards. Only way we got a shot at him was to do a deer drive through a small patch of bush, otherwise we would have never seen him again.
He had a typical score of 175" as a clean 5x5 and then 24" if kickers and drops for a final total of 199 1/8".
Now do I hold this deer in the same class as a 200" free range deer, certainly not but I can sit back and look at the mount and enjoy the memories of that hunt with good friends and family just as I do with every other mount in my trophy room. I can sit down there and just relive each and every hunt including the high fence hunt for the big boy on the pedestal mount. The rest of them are all free range local deer, biggest two being in the 161-162" range. All great memories and none more so then any other one simply because they remind me of great hunts.
One more free range whitetail and I will have my 1500 club finished. That being 10 deer whoes combined score is over 1500 inches. The nine on the wall average 152". Maybe my Oklahoma hunt around the first of the year will turn up number 10. Still, each and every one are very dear to me memory wise and I would have no problem hunting on a quality high fence ranch but one needs to remember there is a huge difference between a "deer farm" and a quality Hunting ranch.
The "deer farms" supply blood lines to ranches so that they can keep healthy lines on their property, some have taken genetic manipulation to the extreme for sure but the same can be said for many "free range" ranches that are common on the hunting shows. When you see a couple in IOWA routinely take 160 to 200" deer, and several of these deer each EVERY YEAR, something is not natural and I would bet money some of these super bucks from deer farms have found there way into wild populations.
Most likely simply by buying does that carry these super genes and there is no way to prove that. In just the past 10 years you see hunting shows going from shooting 120 to 150" whitetails to routinely shooting 180 PLUS monsters with every video showing at least one or two +200" deer. How do you think that is happening, simply food plots..... I do not think so.
To each their own, just enjoy what you do and as mentioned take the young ones out with you whenever you can, that is far more valuable then anything else, especially antler size.