(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Indiana lawmakers are considering allowing canned deer hunting.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence has gone on the record saying he favors allowing special, fenced-in hunting grounds for deer. It’s a reversal of a position held by former Governor Mitch Daniels.
State Rep. Matt Ubelhor (R-Bloomfield) has said he will propose to amend Senate Bill 487 to include a provision allowing captivated hunts.
However, some lawmakers – both Republican and Democrat – and wildlife organizations have expressed concerns. Those issues regard the canned hunting operations’ legality and whether they lead to the spread of disease in the wild deer herd.
“The risk to wild deer is too great and the hunting ethics too poor for Hoosiers,” several wildlife organizations wrote in an Indianapolis Star letter to the editor this week.
The editorial was submitted by the Indiana Wildlife Federation, Indiana Sportsman’s Roundtable, Indiana Deer Hunter Association, Quality Deer Management Association, Indiana Bowhunter Association, and Indiana Division of the Izaak Walton League of America.
In the letter, the SB 487 opponents pointed to a captive deer farm in Franklin County where tuberculosis was found.
“As a result of the TB found, many wild deer had to be shot by sharpshooters and tested. We also learned last year, as reported by The Star, several farm-raised captive deer brought into Indiana from Pennsylvania had been exposed to (chronic wasting disease. When state authorities traced the deer to an Indiana captive deer farm, it was found that several of the deer had escaped,” the letter read.
The organizations urge Indiana voters to contact their state lawmakers and ask them to vote against captive hunting in the state.
SB 487 could be amended to include the “canned” hunting provision during a hearing of the House Natural Resources Committee this week.