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January 31, 2013

Letter to the Editor: Feb. 1, 2013

Let’s just say ‘no’ to canned hunting

An editorial that originated in The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne and appeared in Monday’s Kokomo Tribune pointed out a troubling bill that may soon be presented to Indiana lawmakers.

Co-sponsored by state Rep. Heath VanNatter of Kokomo, the bill would expand canned hunting in our state. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means “hunters” are allowed to pay admittance to enter a high-fenced area to shoot farm-raised deer, elk and game birds.

A friend of mine, who is a seasoned hunter, has an interesting way of explaining it. “It’s like going to a golf course where for $1,000 the owner will guarantee you a hole-in-one because of a special ball or really large hole,” he said.

Call it a “can’t miss” opportunity.

Canned hunting is troubling on a number of fronts, including the inhumane aspect of killing fenced-in animals and the possibility of escaped animals exposing livestock to tuberculosis. Last fall the Indiana Department of Natural Resources needed the help of hunters when 11 farm-raised deer escaped from a high-fenced facility in Jackson County. There was a chance the escaped deer had been exposed to a confirmed case of chronic wasting disease capable of jeopardizing the state’s entire wild whitetail herd. One of those deer is still unaccounted for, according to Gene Hopkins, president of the Indiana Sportsmen’s Roundtable. The Roundtable, which represents interests of several of our states’ hunting and sporting groups, clearly opposes canned hunting.

“We need to quit wasting our time on this issue — something that’s wrong on so many levels,” Hopkins told the newspaper. He went on to say the practice would destroy hunting and drive away money that hunters generate for the state.

A similar bill failed passage last year. This bill should suffer the same fate.

Dave Kitchell, Kokomo

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