Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 14, 2014

'Canned' hunting not real hunting

Goshen News

---- — Indiana Sen. Carlin Yoder of Middlebury wanted canned hunting in the state legalized and regulated. Fortunately, in our opinion, his effort failed.

Yoder’s Senate Bill 404 died in a Senate committee Feb. 4 on a 25-23 vote. Sen. Yoder was joined in voting for the proposal by Sen. Susan Glick of LaGrange.

This type of legislation seems to crop up from time to time in Indiana. Former Indiana Rep. John Ulmer of Goshen was unsuccessful in the past in his attempts to legalize the practice.

THERE ARE A FEW fenced-hunting operations in Indiana because they obtained a court injunction against the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in 2005 when the IDNR closed down about a dozen such businesses. The IDNR said the deer-shooting operations did not have licenses to allow people to hunt the animals, but they did have the right to possess the deer, breed them and sell them. The issue is still before the courts and it may take a few years to sort it out.

There are many deer-breeding operations in rural Elkhart and LaGrange counties. But we don’t think the owners of those operations should be allowed to put a tame deer in a fenced-in field or pen and sell the right of killing that deer. Such a practice is not hunting, and we don’t even like to use the term “canned hunting” as it slanders those Hoosiers who take to the forests and fields each fall and winter to harvest game animals in ethical fair-chase circumstances.

WE CAN’T IMAGINE why someone would want to pay money to shoot a tame animal and then place the head of that animal on their wall to claim some sort of morbid bragging right for the deed. There is no skill involved and it’s simply a cash transaction.

There has been widespread condemnation for this practice among Indiana hunters and hunter organizations. These organizations and ethical Hoosier hunters know that if fenced hunting is allowed, the public will unfairly connect them to the practice and see the ancient and honorable practice of hunting in a bad light.

WE SUGGEST THOSE who want to harvest a trophy buck put the time and effort in to learn the ethical ways of hunting, purchase a hunting license and then go afield and try and take a buck. It will be extraordinarily hard work and frustrating, but in the end it will be something to brag about, unlike shooting a tame deer in a pen.