Fair Chase? Challenging?.....you bet!
From the get-go of Silvertine development, to feedback I have received from my guests. My objective was to create a high fenced hunt ranch that totally duplicated a "Free Range" hunt, while utilizing all the principals of "Fair Chase". I know it's a high standard to set, and an even bigger mouthful to chew, to say Silvertine is "Canada's Most Challenging Hunt Ranch" based on the concept of "Fair Chase" hunting as it pertains to recreational Hunting in the wild, but how does one constitute "Fair Chase" hunting as it applies to a high fenced area? I truly believe Silvertine has achieved this. Let me try and clarify my companies objective.
Prior to Silvertine I have owned two "Free Range" hunt outfits in British Columbia, and had been guiding hunts in British Columbia, Yukon, Alaska, Idaho and Montana for over 30 years. When I decided to start Silvertine I wanted my hunt ranch to have the conditions and concept of "Fair Chase" hunting of Big Game mammals to be sporting, and above all ethical. So selecting the right properties to start our hunt ranches was the first thing I looked for. The property must be a true "slice of wilderness" as I call it. From there no internal fencing and an environment that allows the game that we introduce 100% access to escape cover, in the form of rugged terrain, topography, dense thickets, and stands of timber, so they have the advantage and have as much opportunity as possible to elude us for extended periods of time and forces us to have to utilize all our skills as hunters. Thus I have created Silvertine Wildlife Co. Since it would not be politically correct to say we offer 100% "Fair Chase Hunting", because of the perimeter fence around the properties, but within the guts of the property it's a real hunt, and the animals will test our skills as hunters just like their cousins will on public ground. It's this perimeter fence that allows us to control our genetics, protect or Big Game from over harvest by other hunters, allowing the game to reach peak maturity, and have a controlled feeding program to allow my managed herd to produce exceptional trophies. The fence also allows the stocking density to be higher than normal to offer the "Guarantee" to my guests that is industry standard.
Our property is, slices of wild lands big game would choose to live it naturally, we introduced genetically stronger game to create a managed herd for exceptional trophy quality, thus creating the best of both worlds. Ranch raised Game like Deer and Elk have only been raised on farms for roughly around 40 years, unlike cattle that have been domesticated for thousands of years. When these animals are re-introduced to an environment like Silvertine's at an early age, their instincts return, and majority of them become truly "Wild" again.
There are many “hunt preserves” across North America, but unfortunately there are very few that are owned and operated by someone who is a professional hunting outfitter. Many of them are commercial farms or ranch’s that sideline as a hunt preserve, to supplement their income, and are operated by farmers, not professional outfitters who understand the traditions of hunting and the guiding business. It’s preserves like this from which the term “Canned Hunt” came about, and offer basically an “on farm slaughter of a trophy quality animal’. The majority of the time, the client leaves without a great experience. Silvertine is nothing like that; Sure we do have a 100% guarantee, or you do not pay, but we cannot guarantee you a dead animal, we can only promise you will receive our best efforts at assisting you to give you your best opportunity to find and harvest your chosen game animal. The reality is, you might not get the one you came for, it’s that challenging. We have an environment where you will not see even the majority of our game within the fences, as all our game will leave "cut and wrapped" or die of old age. But through diligent and hard hunting, we almost always succeed at fulfilling your goals. This is part of the reason why we have a "Base Price" on our deer hunts, as some clients that are looking for a single particular deer on our ranches, sometimes are not successful. I promise you that you will receive our best efforts, and a top quality hunt from start to finish. Every hunt is personally guided for optimum safety and trophy selection!
As you watch the Videos and view the photos on our website, take notice of the background environment, This is the type of environment we hunt. My properties are 100% forested, and it's this diversified mixed forested environment that allows our bull elk to have those dark mahogany colored antlers with polished "silver tines" as we call them. If you view photos of bulls from other hunt ranches that have light pale colored antlers, it's a tell tale sign that they live in a very open country with very little brush or timber to elude the hunter.
In 2009 Silvertine was nominated by "B.P.S. Outdoors" as Canada's Best Hunt Estate, and #9 in the nation, based on the quality of the hunt environment, and size of the trophies our hunters harvest for the value. That's a real honor, and I felt very privileged to hear the news, and know I built this company from the ground up with this in mind and have achieved it.
My extensive 30 years of hands-on background in my hunting business has shown me exactly what our guests are looking for in a preserve hunt. They want three simple criteria:
1) First and foremost, a realistic and challenging hunt in an environment that can duplicate “Fair Chase”.
2) Quality trophy animals that will exceed their expectations, never the other way around.
3) Quality services, from experienced and knowledgeable guides and staff, as well as quality lodging and food.
Another example of how we utilize the "Fair Chase" policy is in our Trophy Whitetail Deer Hunting, and like all our properties there is no "Ringer" or "Canned" areas fenced off inside the perimeter fence where certain bucks of particular sizes are segregated as on some deer hunting ranches. Every single deer is free roaming in habitat that is exactly what wild deer love. Our deer all will grow old, and all the deer will live their entire lives, and many die naturally on this property, never to be killed by our guests. We do our best to harvest only 2.5+ year old plus deer from the ranch. This policies and set up allows our guests to wait and select the best deer near the top end of their package purchased, and the cycle continues year after year, guest after guest. We utilize trail cameras extensively to monitor what deer are hitting what bait stations and when. Thus allowing us to not only know what's out there each year, but to the best of our skills and knowledge gained (and luck, "deer willing"), put our guests in the right place at the right time to optimize their opportunity at a "Buck of a Lifetime". The exact same hunting techniques and principal as majority of successful "Wild" Whitetail Deer outfitters utilize. It's this "style" of hunting whitetails that we had to adopted, or else we would never be able to harvest any deer for our guests.
Challenging your wits against trophy game animals and utilizing "Fair Chase" in a natural slice of wilderness is what it’s all about here at Silvertine, this is policy number one. In my eyes, and the eyes of all our guests, we have created "Canada's Most Challenging Hunt Ranch"!
SCI (Safari Club International) is the largest hunting organization in the nation. Silvertine is a proud member, and supporter of SCI through many national and regional Donations each year. SCI has developed a set or “Standards” as far as regulations for high fence operators. I am proud to say Silvertine meets and exceeds all of these standards, in order to offer you a challenging hunt estates. For your review the standards are as follows:
June 1, 2006 - The North American Hunting Preserves Fair Chase Standards Are Outlined
Recreational hunting and the concept of “fair chase” has been linked for as long as recreational hunting has existed. However, the terms and conditions of what constitutes “fair chase” when hunting is conducted within a high fenced area has never been fully or clearly defined.
SCI believes that the following conditions must be met, or exceeded, in order for the concept of “fair chase” to apply for hunting mammals within high fenced areas in North America:
• The animals hunted must have freely resided on the property on which they are being hunted for at least six months, or longer.
• The hunting property shall provide escape cover that allows the animals to elude hunters for extended periods of time and multiple occurrences. Escape cover, in the form of rugged terrain or topography, and/or dense thickets or stands of woods, shall collectively comprise at least 50% of the property.
• The animals hunted must be part of a breeding herd that is a resident on the hunted property.
• The operators of the preserve must provide freely available and ample amounts of cover, food and water at all times.
• Animals that are to be hunted must exhibit their natural flight/survival instincts.
• No zoo animals, exhibited animals or tame animals are to be hunted.
• No hunting or selling of hunting rights to a specified animal.
• Hunting methods employed cannot include driving, herding or chasing animals to awaiting hunters.
• Every effort must be made to utilize all meat commonly consumed from a taken animal.
The minimum amount of land necessary to meet these requirements varies by region, terrain and habitat type. Setting a standard minimum area is unlikely to be realistic. However, SCI recommends that state/provincial wildlife management agencies work with the operators and the hunting community within their area to establish specific regulations to guide the operation of hunting preserves.
For more information about this subject, visit the SCI web site at http://www.safariclub.org/.