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William Green posted on Tue, Oct 13 2009 2:55 PM

I have been listening to Rothbard and wondering about wildlife, particularly game animals like the whitetail deer.  Who owns the deer and how, in a free society, can we prevent the tradgedy of the commons?

It is easy to see how private ownership of a deer herd might encourage good management, but how does one come to own a wild herd?  I think about the prairies of the pre-settlement west--who could have owned the bison herds, and how would they have come to ownership?

If noone owned/owns wildlife, then how do we avoid the tragedy of the commons?




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My family (unfortunately, not my direct family) owns large tracts of land which they use as hunting grounds.  Although they do cultivate some of it (vineyards, mostly), the majority is allowed the original vegitation to allow for the local wildlife.   They make their income by "selling rifles", which is basically selling a hunter a permit to hunt on their land.  They own the animals on their land, although it's understood that the animals are wild and may go into someone else's territory.  They no longer own those animals.  On the other hand, it makes sense to manage one's terrain in such a way in which it will lure animals into their hunting grounds and to maintain animal populations to make sure that hunters always have a large array of targets (otherwise, the hunters won't return, as they aren't killing anything).  Unfortunately, I can't talk about things like deer and bison, given that those simply do not populate the area of Spain that I am from in large numbers, but it does include large wild boards.  The concept would be the same, irregardless.

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