Story by Tom Claycomb III

It will probably not surprise you that as a kid I devoured my Dad’s National Rifle Association, Field & Stream and Outdoor Life magazines from front to back each month. The NRA magazine was strictly a gun magazine but, in the others I read about all kinds of exotic hunting adventures that a school-aged kid in North Texas had never heard of, or had a chance to experience.

After college I worked 10-12 hours per day trying to move up. Then got married and struggled to provide for a small family.  Stories about hunting in Africa were just a pipe dream.

When I was a kid, I only heard of two high fence ranches in Texas. The first one was the YO Ranch that reportedly had all kinds of exotic game. The second was near a lease we hunted down by Tarpley. An old German had a ranch along the highway. We had to drive through his ranch to get to our lease.

The locals told us during World War II he got mad at America for attacking Germany and put up a high fence around his ranch. He holed up on his property and only went to town one time per month to get supplies. He didn’t have any exotic animals; he only built the fence to isolate himself and fence out the world.

Fast forward over 60 years and a drive through some areas of South Texas you’ll see more high fences than not, plus most hold exotics game. On a very few the ranch is managed solely for whitetail deer. They’re feeding protein, not harvesting young bucks so to raise some mature animals with big racks.

About the time a buck is hitting that status, they cross the fence where a neighbor puts the promising Muy Grande down — all of the hard work goes down the drain. So, a high fence is built to keep the desirable in and undesirable out.  There are multiple reasons why a ranch might be high fenced.

Today the trend is to have a high fence to raise a variety of exotics. Now you can hunt animals from around the world in Texas more affordably than just the expense of travel to hunt abroad.

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