Sunday, September 10, 2006

What's MMM's Signature Worth?

How much is this signature worth? On May 12, Governor Daniels signed this Rule prohibiting Canned Hunting in Indiana of Deer and Exotics. At the same time, he was actively negotiating an out of court settlement with not just litigant, Rodney Bruce, but all of the Canned Hunt Club boys. Secretly. (Want a copy of the complete settlement? Send an email to - the settlement is in pdf so it will be sent to you as an attachment. ) While the public saw this signed Rule (see below), he was busy writing a settlement that would give these bad boys 10+2 guaranteed years of continued profit and he threw in the privilege to hunt BUFFALO behind fences in Indiana - apparently to make things more "fun.". Hunting BUFFALO? On Indiana farms? Note the date of the Gov's signature - May 12, 2006. The prohibition of canned hunting went into effect June 11, 2006. By June 23, 2006, the Governor had already put together his private gift package to the canned operators. So - what's his signature worth?

Mitch does the FLIP FLOP

For a good read about the FLIP FLOP on hunting elk, deer, rams and BUFFALO (for heaven's sake) behind fences on FARMS in Indiana - go to this blog. Some thoughtful comments posted there. This week is showdown time for the Ruler of Indy and his corporate acquisitions attorney turned temporary custodian and seller of Hoosier Natural Resources, Kyle Hupfer, of former (and will be again) Ice Miller fame.

Should It Stay, Should It Go? One Year Later, Canned Hunts Back On The Table

DeerclipartNiki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette turns her attention to canned hunting and to the fact that despite promises that the practice would end, the Department of Natural Resources apparently is close to striking a deal that would allow it to continue for years to come. (If you're interested, the paper's editorial board isn't too pleased with the prospect of a settlement.) Here's an excerpt from the story:

"Kyle Hupfer, director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, made the pronouncement last August: no more hunting of white-tailed deer and other animals behind high fences.

"The Department of Natural Resources passed emergency and permanent rules, and the governor and attorney general signed off.

"The legislature tangled with the issue but failed to intervene.

"And yet a year after Hupfer delivered those stern words on hunting ethics and fair chase, he is nearing a settlement with a handful of shooting preserve owners that allows the controversial activity to continue for at least a decade.

"'It's a no-win situation,' he said. 'I think we are working on something that, while no one's going to jump for joy, it finishes the issue for all time in the state and we move on.'

"Hupfer insists he still adamantly opposes high-fenced preserves – also called canned hunting.

"'We need to remove high-fenced hunting from the state of Indiana. I would say the only difference is we need to do it as quickly as we possibly can without overly putting risk on the DNR,' Hupfer said."


Grown adults shooting animals in a confined environment.

How pathetic can you get?

It is hard to say something is unethical and should be stopped, but then let the practice continue for a time so business owners get their profits.

Perhaps Kyle Hupfer is trying to craft a Missouri compromise on this one, but we'll see if this compromise works...

But how else will our nation's brave country music stars keep their bloated egos properly puffed up?

This is hunting for rich guys, that's why its being allowed to continue.

This isn't hunting, it's target practice. No self-respecting outdoor person would participate.

It appears Kupfer lost his cojones.

ranks right up there with poaching.

Kyle Hupfer (in his public face) supported the NRC Rule prohibiting this type of "hunting" in Indiana. The Rule was passed by the Natural Resource Committrr on March 21, 2006. It was approved by the Attorney General Steve Carter on April 28, 2006 and SIGNED BY THE GOVERNOR (that would be Mitch Daniels) on May 12, 2006. The amendment went into effect on June 11, 2006. Or so it seemed - there was no enforcement, there were not even plans for enforcement. As a matter of fact, the good Governor and Mr. Kyle Hupfer were actually writing out an out of court settlement that would give these operators 12 more years to operate with EXPANDED and extra liberal rules - now you could even "hunt" elk in Indiana and rams! The agreement is long and in print. It just missed getting signed and the public would never have known about it. So - we need to ask legislators to ENFORCE the rule that the Governor so cleverly signed to lull the public into apathy and then we need to demand that the DNR make no private agreements out of court which effect the natural resources of this state - they want this out of court, of course, so that the public can never get records. As a matter of fact, Director Hupfer has denied a look at the agreement to reporters - even though it is available to the public if they are top notch legal sleuths! The duplicity is breathtaking ..... Please call your legislator and ask that the state rule be enforced and that Director Hupfer and the Governor not be allowed to cut million dollar (Yes, that is MILLION dollar deals) with 12 Hoosier citizens over the will of the rest of us. How sneaky can you get? Sign an law and then do backroom deals so it never gets enforced? And - still take credit publicly for STOPPING these canned hunts while secretly writing up a goody bag of special deals for 12 citizens. All of this can be documented.

There's just something wrong about shooting something that can't get away. Whatcha wanna bet that our Harley ridin', tenderloin eatin', flannel shirt wearin' guv would secretly like to participate in this huntin' charade.

Why is this even an issue? I am sick of the instant gratification message that this type of killing animals sends to children and would be hunters. The "quick fix"! Surely, no one would call this method of killing "hunting"? Stick with the wishes of the majority who are against canned killing!

This is unbelievable! How can the DNR pass a law and then fail to enforce it?

This is disgusting and in no way what I want my grandchildren to think is acceptable. Kyle Hupfer is a snake!

This entire thing sickens me. I was astonished when I learned of the number of canned hunt "farms" in Indiana. Killing a creature so helpless must make a tiny man feel huge, why else would he do it? Pathetic! To top it off, our legislators and others with authority are allowing this to happen.

I am appalled to read of the lack of enforcement to stop canned hunting and the possibility of an "expanded" amendment that would allow canned hunting for an extended period of time. I write to strongly urge our Indiana Governor and legislators to enforce the law to prohibit canned hunting and, more importantly, to enforce this law. There are many Hoosiers who agree with my belief that hunting a trapped animal is not only cowardly, but inhumane. I will be calling the offices of Governor Daniels and our Senators and Representatives to reiterate my view and will look certainly remember how they respond to this issue.

I am totally opposed to this type of "hunt", it is unethical and immoral, no better than cock fighting or dog fighting. It's only purpose is for the amusement of individuals too inept or lazy to hunt fairly. Put a stop to it once and for all!

This shouldn't even be an issue... the majority have spoken... let it rule.

What SHOULD be the issue is a full blown investigation into deal-making activities at the DNR and their lack of enforcement of laws on the books. I, for one, would like to know if this type of corruption runs throughout the system, or is this the brainchild of Hupfer?

Since when is government "for the government" and not "for the people?" Is it majority rule until a small minority with limited power ingore the rule? I will be calling and writing to Daniels, Senators, and Reps.

All Hoosiers should be sickened by the possibility that they might get away with this.

Some of you are directing too much of your venom at Hupfer because he is the obvious target. That's probably because you have no idea how obnoxious the canned hunt operators are and to what lengths they will go to influence legislators who are too easily influenced. Don't forget, folks, the legislature holds most of the cards. If you all would put as much energy and effort into contacting the legislators in the districts where these loud-mouthed asses live who promote this disgusting practice, you might get something done. It needs to be REAL uncomfortable for those folks, otherwise, they are going to just ride it out, let it pass and let them go on shooting animals like targets because the legislators AND the canned operators don't think you all are that much of a force to be reckoned with. They are claiming lost business and revenue and a few jobs and that this is hypocrisy when we are trying to grow the economy. Now we have state government taking away their livelihoods. Sure it's hogwash. But if there is no public outcry, you may as well figure them hogs is gonna' get washed. Pick the right target, aim well, and don't let up.

I can’t find the words to express the viciousness and stupidity of canned hunts!

At first, canned hunting does seem pretty horrible. I personally can never call the killing of animals in a fenced area "hunting."

Can anyone answer this question: What happens to the meat? If a person pays of a canned hunt and they pay to get the deer meat processed, how is that any different than buying meat at the store? Just because you don't kill the cow doesn't mean someone else did not. If we are going to stop canned hunting, shouldn't we be shutting down pay fishing lakes as well...or do fish have less rights than deer, elk, etc.?

If canned hunting is killing the animals and leaving them lay (which I am sure has happened), the I would want it totally banned. If it's just a way for a person to go shopping for some venison, what is the big deal? Did the animals being served at resturants all die of natural deaths?

If you are wealthy enough to afford to go on a canned hunt, you can afford to buy the meat in specialty food stores. These are trophy hunts for the inept.

"If canned hunting is killing the animals and leaving them lay (which I am sure has happened), the I would want it totally banned. If it's just a way for a person to go shopping for some venison, what is the big deal?"

Canned hunting is all about the trophy rack or head or pelt or animal, so the shooter can display his success to buds without having experienced any of the discomfort or challenges of real hunting.

It is such a phony experience that it speaks complete books about the character of canned hunt clients- wealthy, lazy, self-absorbed, indifferent to or ignorant of the challenges of real hunting, where you often go home empty handed.

12:02 a.m. is correct.

On the other hand, it is very frustrating to listen to people like Kupfer wring their hands over their own unwillingness to do the right thing because somebody somewhere might sue them. Has a drug dealer ever considered suing the state over "illegal taking" of his God-given right to sell crack or meth?

This is an Indiana example of the new Republican way of governing -- pass a law, sign it into law and then ignore it. If that sounds familiar, it's because the president has written several hundred "messages" saying that, even tho he signed something into law, he had no intention of foloing it. For all their ridiculous talk about patriotism, these are the very people most responsible for subverting our democratic form of government.

Once again I feel like an idiot for having trusted my elected officials to be true to their word. This is so incredibly disappointing. Another 12 years of canned hunting?? For what reason?? This is just so shameful.

I'm all for hunting, fishing, etc. but this isn't sporting. This is like fishing in a barrel.

If the reasoning stands that canned hunting preserves should be allowed to continue (in violation of the law) because the owners have made a capital investment, or threaten lawsuits, then I would expect owners of hot car chop shops--or any other criminal enterprise that requires capital-- to present the same defense in court. Poor Ken Lay should have had some Hoosier legislators/lobbyist/attorneys, and perhaps he could have got off based on The Hupfer Defense.

Unlike other activities cited above--this hunting activity behind fence has been allowed under existing laws and actively watched by prior DNR administrations. That is often a taking situation or one where folks are grandfathered in. Not sure this is different.

It's not/wouldn't be a "taking". Taking under the constitution has nothing to do with regulation of business, even if that means the business becomes unprofitable. It has to do with government use/seizure of property. That ain't the case here. It's just a bunch of gun nuts getting their undies in a bunch.

I am ashamed of the State of Indiana! What kind of "sport" is this? It is like shooting fish in a barrel! A REAL man's sport, sure!!!

This entire industry (and that is what it is) should be banned in the entire nation!!

Come on Indiana!

D.J. Benson LaPorte, Indiana

Ok, so something is perfectly legal for decades until a bunch of bleeding hearts decide it's horrid and has to stop . It's ok to simply say "sorry, it was ok yesterday, today you're unpopular so bye-bye". I guess the answer to that is yes, eh?

Don't confuse the different types of reserves that are all piled together as "canned". A hunt on a several hundred acre preserve is not the same as shooting a buck standing in a 20 foot square fenced yard. Yet the bleeding hearts continues blur them together for best political effect.

Personally, I find the small pen hunting distasteful. But, somewhere I heard a rumor we lived in a free country. And not that there is a shortage of deer in this state, but most of these reserves are farm raised deer.

Lastly, I can look around during deer season and see why some might choose to hunt on a private reserve. Much the same people who started the "canned hunting is horrible" drive number among those who have been pushing to restrict the number of places were the public can hunt in this state. It seems only natural that hunters should seek other hunting grounds.

The State and the DNR could do many things to make hunting the public lands not only more profitable but also more accessible for hunters. That would drive the worst of the "canned" operations out of business.

The problem is that, simply speaking, many behind the push to ban "canned" hunting and reserves want NO HUNTING allowed in this state.

This is barbaric and there should be no question in Indiana that it should be stopped! I'm against hunting period but I cannot understand what type of sport hunting an animal that can't escape is-that's for chickens!

Pointman, animals raised and fed by humans have lost their instinctive fear of humans and thus are nothing but targets. They are no longer game. And even on a 200 acre hunting preserve, if they do not have free range and cover capabilities, and are acustomed to seeing and being fed by their keepers, they aren't the same thing as "wild" animals.

Canned hunt shooters just want a trophy, and they want it with the least possible discomfort, and with guaranteed odds in their favor. On my farm, sometimes my hunter friends take a deer and sometimes they get nothing but wet, cold feet for their troubles. But at least they are "hunters" and not mere target shooter scum who prefer live targets and wall decorations. One has to wonder how canned hunt or "preserve" (isn't that a contradiction in terms?)clients explain how they took the trophy, and I will bet it doesn't involve the truth.

Quote: "Pointman, animals raised and fed by humans have lost their instinctive fear of humans and thus are nothing but targets."

Sort of like cattle or pigs or chickens or any other crop? You can certainly raise stock without it being tame! Used to people? Sure, the deer in my woods are, but I still can't get within a hundred yards without a lot of skill. And with what Indiana allows hunters to pack into the woods 150yards is about out of range.

I don't defend the penned hunts. And, having grown up on 168 acres in Vincennes, to say a deer can't loose him/herself on that is not true on a typical Hoosier farm.

Though, I will say some of the East and North East farms can tend to lack "features". ;)

Pointman, when property is surrounded by an 8-foot fence and much of the undergrowth has been cleared, this is not natural cover for a deer nor is there means of flight.

I have a couple hundred acres. Last year a couple of my friends were warming themselves in my kitchen after a cold and fruitless morning hunting deer in my woods, when they spied a buck not 40 yards from the kitchen window. They crept out of the house and took from my dog run it with a muzzle loader. Such are the uncertainties of hunting.

Without discussing whether or not a deer can find sanctuary in a large game reserve, or will retain its natural fear of humans after being fed by and exposed to them, how do you account for the completely repugnant practice of taking reserve or canned hunt game solely for the trophy? People who do this are bent human beings. There is no sport involved. It is like pheasant hunting using teathered birds.

I do find "trophy" hunting distasteful but acceptable in reasonable circumstances. So, I guess we have reached an impass and we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Or, is it OK to enforce your own "moral" view on others when it does not directly effect you? Now that would be, shall we say... ironic.

Canned shooting of confined animals is not hunting. For pointman, the Indiana Deer Hunters Assn. and the Indiana Wildlife Federation and every outdoor writer in the state are not trying to end hunting in Indiana. Au contraire, we want to ensure that hunting survives. Canned shooting dirties the water for real hunters and creates an undesirable image of all hunters and hunting in general.

Among the many problems with canned shooting of penned animals is the fact that most cases of Chronic Wasting Disease have been traced to these so-called "deer farms" in other states.

Aside from this, there is no fair chase of an captive animal that cannot escape the hunter no matter how long or how far it runs.

And, the most salient point has been broached in Texas in a lawsuit filed against deer "farms" there. That is, the Doctrine of Public Trust...wild animals belong to the people and it is government's duty to conserve and protect them. All white-tailed deer are wild animals, even if they are raised as pets.

It is a sad truth that passsing a law, then not enforcing or funding it is the current method of governing Amerika. Gov. Daniels is straight out of this Bush School of Government. Remember that when Daniels took office, he emailed every employee in the DNR saying that if they were not pro-business, they would not be working for the DNR under his term.

And, so it goes. The DNR is pro-business now, even more than it has been in the past, and Indiana's natural resources, including white-tailed deer, are at risk.

Operators of high fenced hunting preserves (canned hunts in which captive animals are killed for a large fee) must be gloating over the proposed settlement by Kyle Hupfer, a Mitch Daniels appointee and Director of the IN Dept. of Natural Resources, allowing such operations to stay in business for 12 more years.

Despite hundreds of letters from Hoosiers condemning this practice, public hearings and disapproval of ethical hunting organizations, Hupfer has reneged on his avowed and spproved ruling announced a year ago...a vow to eliminate these abominations from the atate. Apparently, assured of the outcome of a lawsuit fizzled by preserve owner Rodney Bruce, game farmers have been "hunts" for the fall season confident that the Natural Resources Commission's ruling for closure would fizzle out. One might question the adminstrative and legislative pressure at work in nullifying Hupfer's much touted plan to ban canned hunts OR was the NRC's ruling just a ruse to pacify the public?

Clients will be allowed to kill fallow and whitetail deer, elk, buffalo, wild boar and rams under provisions of a settlement. For all except whitetails, any legal weapon may be used with no bag limit. Under new rules, animals may not be shot from above feeders, but may be killed at 50 yards away from regularly used food sources.

Owners of small deer farms lobbied and won the right to reclassify whitetails as livestock under authorization of the Board of Animal Health. Thus, they said, deer would provide income from the sale of venison, semen, urine and antler velvet. No mention was made of the fact that primary revenue for these farms would be from stock raised as targets for fenced hunting preserves. %0

Operators of high fenced hunting preserves (canned hunts in which captive animals are killed for a large fee) must be gloating over the proposed settlement by Kyle Hupfer, a Mitch Daniels appointee and Director of the IN Dept. of Natural Resources, allowing such operations to stay in business for 12 more years.

Despite hundreds of letters from Hoosiers condemning this practice, public hearings and disapproval of ethical hunting organizations, Hupfer has reneged on his avowed and spproved ruling announced a year ago...a vow to eliminate these abominations from the atate. Apparently, assured of the outcome of a lawsuit fizzled by preserve owner Rodney Bruce, game farmers have been "hunts" for the fall season confident that the Natural Resources Commission's ruling for closure would fizzle out. One might question the adminstrative and legislative pressure at work in nullifying Hupfer's much touted plan to ban canned hunts OR was the NRC's ruling just a ruse to pacify the public?

Clients will be allowed to kill fallow and whitetail deer, elk, buffalo, wild boar and rams under provisions of a settlement. For all except whitetails, any legal weapon may be used with no bag limit. Under new rules, animals may not be shot from above feeders, but may be killed at 50 yards away from regularly used food sources.

Owners of small deer farms lobbied and won the right to reclassify whitetails as livestock under authorization of the Board of Animal Health. Thus, they said, deer would provide income from the sale of venison, semen, urine and antler velvet. No mention was made of the fact that primary revenue for these farms would be from stock raised as targets for fenced hunting preserves.

The excuse that preserve owners have large financial investments in stock and equipment should be of no consequence in this decision as these businesses have derived huge profits at the expense of animals raised specifically to be mounted trophies.

It is hoped that Hupfer will stand by his conviction that fenced hunts should be eliminated and that he will not settle for 12 more years of barbarity.

Hupfer may be reached by e-mail at and Governor Daniels at Office of the Governor, Statehouse, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46204-2797.

Why have we giving into the impulse of the almighty dollar?? it's not all about money, nature is ours to respect and enjoy, not exploit. We have lost our state parks as sanctuarys for nature. The great hunters need an easier place to bag the big ones?? what is this, they must be on a time schedule, and canned hunting is even easiler than hunting in the state parks!!!!!

Canned hunting and managing deer herds in a state park are a far cry from one another, and if you do not or cannot see the difference, you are in need of natural resources/wildlife management education. Every year the DNR puts out a report of the deer taken from the state parks and you won't find trophy specimens. Furthermore, they've documented a healthier ecosystem in the parks and healthier deer as a result of the very limited and controlled hunts. The canned hunts, fenced hunts, whatever name you want to call them are vile, and their contribution to the economy is miniscule. Let the handful of operators do what thousands of other Hoosiers who have lost their jobs have done--find a new job. In their case, one that is honorable and legitimate. Blast away, write letters and send e-mails to the Governor, DNR and anyone who has the power and authority to stop this abomination and regain state credibility, but don't pop off with statements that have no scientific or otherwise basis in fact. You damage your own credibility and become nothing but an emotional, annoying noise when you make comments that state park hunts and canned hunts are essentially the same. Fight it, but do it right and do it smart.

Even the thought of supporting canned hunts makes Hoosiers look like dim-witted yahoos. I wrote to Mitch Daniels - he calls hunting a Hoosier "value." What is the value of slaughtering caged animals? Anyway, it is NOT a Hoosier value, for I am a Hoosier, albeit less and less proud. The DNR needs an overhaul. What is their purpose anymore? Kickbacks? When will people see animals as more than "natural resources" but instead as fellow creatures with whom we fail to live well and honestly?

To Pointman: inflict our morals on you? Excuse me - I'm defending the life of other beings. I would think anyone who is moral would see that point, man.

Well, Director Hupfer and the Governor are running out of time. This week of Sept. 9 - they will have to either quietly sign a backroom, out of court settlement (not on the public record) with their special operators - allowing them guaranteed operation for a minimum of 10 plus years - (and now they can even hunt fenced BUFFALO in the state with the Governor's blessing) - or Director Hupfer will announce an Emergency Rule overruling his own NRC Rule ...... what hubris! The Mitchman rules in Indy. His signature on the rule prohibiting these operations - which he signed on May 12, 2006 - means nothing. Boy, can these guys play the game. They left the rule on the books just long enough to lull the public into thinking they would abide by their own rules - and then - right before hunting season - GOTCHA! We were only kidding ...... some smart Dems should look into this ..... but probably not the Dems that are knoodling with the twelve operators. Like, maybe .... some FRESH Dems that haven't been tainted yet?

They either have to sign that OUT OF COURT (off the public record) deal this week or issue an EMERGENCY RULE overruling their own much public flauted ban on these operations. What a piece of political hubris. Makes you wonder - if they can do this when dealing with twelve very special Hoosiers, what they are wheeling and dealing in backrooms for their other special constituents? Need some fresh Dem faces to call them out on this ...... we still have the legislature clogged with left over Dems who are knoodling with these very same twelve special($$$) Hoosiers.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mitch &Top Legal Beagle

Mitch & Top DNR Legal Beagle Take A Spin on the Canned Hunt Dance Floor As promised, here is the latest on the “Dances with Mitch” series – come along with us as we spin across the Hoosier Dance Floor. And such really FINE spinning and weaving it is! Not only can our Great Governor spin, weave, dodge, and slide - he can flip-flop with the best of them. Watch as the story of how canned hunting of exotics and other hapless mammals - a practice which was never legally authorized by the Hoosier legislature: 1. becomes definitely illegal (abhorent, too) 2. becomes legal again (maybe) 3. becomes ENDORSED, expanded and turned into a millionaire enhancing monopoly for twelve very, very special Hoosiers. 4. becomes legal while still being illegal on paper All by the same Governor All in the same term. All with a straight face. All while signing an administrative rule on May 12, 2006 prohibiting these operations All while negotiating an out of court (read: off the record) agreement with those very same previously illegal operators. All that is some mighty, mighty fine dancing. Watch for the next dance: The Emergency Rule Side Step .... coming very soon to you in a press release from the DNR. Begin with reading this editorial and over the next few days we will post the agreements, the stories, and what to expect from the Washington DC Insider (MMM) currently ruling in Indianapolis when he joins forces with a brilliant, sweet talking, head spinning (exorcist-type), former (and future to be again), Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions Attorney. The combination is guaranteed to outmaneuver and flumux the best of Hoosiers ..... or maybe not. Elections do tell. The following piece is from the August 27th Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

Canned hunt settlement unacceptable

What looked like a satisfying end to a despicable business now appears to be a diversion to benefit high-fenced hunting preserve owners. A proposed settlement allowing the illegal operations to continue for another decade is an unacceptable resolution.

Kyle Hupfer, director of the Department of Natural Resources, announced a year ago that the state would no longer tolerate the “canned hunting” operations that cater to wealthy hunters who pay to shoot animals within confined areas.

“This is something that is just extremely unethical,” Hupfer said at the time, winning accolades from hunting and conservation groups alike.

But the DNR director told The Journal Gazette’s Niki Kelly last week that the hunts will likely continue for another 10 years – the result of a settlement negotiated with Rodney Bruce, a southern Indiana hunting preserve owner who had sued to remain in business. The agreement also extends to five other canned hunting operations. Hupfer insists the agreement is fair to the preserve owners, who have much invested in their businesses and who are entitled to property rights.

He also suggests that an unfavorable ruling in the lawsuit could prove costly to the DNR, although that point is unclear. What seems more likely is that Hupfer has been pressured by legislators sympathetic to the canned-hunting operators to allow them plenty of time to recoup their interests.

There’s good reason the preserve operators are celebrating the settlement – it’s a clear victory for them. The fact that they are enthusiastically promoting the upcoming hunting season is an affront to all those who have worked to preserve sportsmanlike behavior in hunting. And the settlement is a clear loss for anyone who supports time-honored concepts regarding wildlife and the doctrine of fair chase – giving animals a sporting chance to escape.

Doug Allman, an advocate with the Indiana Deer Hunters Association, is right when he says the settlement is the wrong approach.

“It’s bogus for us to say it’s wrong and unethical but then look the other way for 10 years,” Allman told The Journal Gazette.

As for lawmakers, he suggests that if they approve of the practice of canned hunting, they should vote to legalize it and make themselves accountable to voters.

The proposed settlement goes far beyond fair in offering protection for this illegal business. It should be scrapped and the lawsuit allowed to proceed. A case in Montana ended with a federal court ruling that the state not only had a right to shut down high-fence hunting operations, but also a responsibility to do so.

In Indiana, the preserve owners had fair warning. The DNR should stick with its early intentions to enforce the law and shut down these businesses.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Story Behind the

The Stories Behind the Stories
No. haven’t been vacationing. Just wanted to let out enough rope over a period of time for … well … for ... certain political types to get themselves entangled in their own story lines. AND - at this time I am pleased to say that there is enough rope out there to do “one heck of a job.”
It was worth the wait.
I’ll be posting my summer collection of “Dances with Mitch” stories as my free time permits. Like most folks who have day jobs, bills, yards to weed and kids to feed, there is not a heap of spare time to go about investigating the ” truthiness” (don’t you just love that word?) of Someone’s Man, Mitch. (He ain’t my man, is he yours?) Keeping up with the dances of the Mitchman's posse is even tougher. But – we’re gonna do it. And – feel free to share your own “Dances with Mitch” stories. We will try to post the ones that are literate and make sense. No cuss words, please. And stick to the facts - well, at least as much of the facts as the Mitchman allows you to have.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Waiting for the Legislators Again Rodney Bruce, Hoosier shoot farm operator and litigant for canned hunts being legalized in Indiana, has another post: Update in Indiana Deer & Elk Farmers Discussion Forums: Announcements and News in the Industry: Update in Indiana Posted by R_bruce on Thursday, March 23, 2006 - 02:08 pm: The lawsuit gives us a "great" chance of being removed from the DNR authority all together. We will be able to operate and prosper like the preserves in other States. Obviously you do not take a chance like this without having good reason to believe you will prevail. It was very clear the legislators did not want us shut down. By advice of Attorneys and key legislators we have maintained the lawsuit to fight for what is right. Worst case scenerio we lose in court- at that point the legislators will step up and help us during the next session when the court proceedings are over. Obviously a compromise would be good for everyone. We will just have to see how the next few years play out. The anticipated injunction next week will be very helpful in proving we have been right all along.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

WHAT THE CANNED OPERATORS ARE PLANNING ... Update in Indiana Deer & Elk Farmers Discussion Forums: Announcements and News in the Industry: Update in Indiana Posted by R_bruce on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 - 06:13 pm: The best "offer" to date in settling this thing was to allow the preserves to operate for 7 years along with a bunch of rediculous stipulations. Obviously a "legally" operating industry is not going to resolve for a 7 year death sentence. We have an excellent case in court that will remove us from the DNR "assumed" jurisdiction. The the industry will boom in Indiana with new start ups trying to keep up with the demand from sportsmen. There are multiple suits being prepared in Indiana. Some for monetary damages and some removing the DNR from their assumed jurisdiction. We anticipate getting the injunction next week which will prevent the DNR from doing anything until the court proceedings are over. As everyone knows the court dealings will take years and years. The injunction will allow us to operate during that time. The Governor has finally been making comments about acknowledging the fact that the DNR gave us written permission to start our businesses. That may also be an avenue to resolve this. As for now we are still hunting this fall and will fight until out interest are protected. Thanks for the support.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

AND THE GAMES BEGIN ... Well, enjoy the moment for the ban on canned hunts. For 90 days Hoosiers can expect zero,nada, nothing, nichts to happen. After that time the Governor will sign "it." Then the REAL fun begins. As we get closer and closer to the next hunting (business) season ....... compromise, compromise, compromise. They will compromise until you won't be able to get a nose hair of difference between what the 12 - 15 operators wanted all along from the legislature, and the "administrative" agreement the Governor is already babbling about. Find another business where you can circumvent the legislature, operate on a wink-wink from some field personnel, and then get the state taxpayers to buy you out????? Since this will all be in litigation there goes the right to public information on the details. Who are the 12 - 15 operators? .... EXACTLY? ..... and where did they get their shoot to kill stock? And how have they been filing their tax returns? It would have been quicker, neater, and less lucrative for many lawyers if the legislature had just agreed to buy them out, but there is the ritual dance for the public which must be carried out. Three steps forward and then back to square one .... with a sunset clause that could have, would have, been agreed on last month except that the public howled for this TO STOP. So, sadly this blog can't close out yet. Enjoy the moment. We have a ban - but not really. Thanks to the NRC Committee. Thanks to the DNR Director. Good job. But - why not surprise us and not agree to extortion in 90 days? Keep checking in. With the canned hunt ban kind of, sort of, but not really in place yet, the public attention will drift and then WHAMMO...... here comes the Governor's "administrative" solution - Note to the Governor: Why not consider the profits already taken (and enjoyed) as compensation, let them extirpate present stock (no restocking), and get on with it. If they continued to have enough spare cash around to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in their individual live antlers and semen without legislative authority, maybe they shouldn't be rewarded for their "investment." Maybe. Just think about it, OK?

Good News - So far. At today's NRC meeting held in Indianapolis, IN - The Natural Resource Committee upheld the Emergency Rule issued several months earlier by DNR Director, Kyle Hupfer. The Emergency Rule bans high fence hunting of cervids and exotics in Indiana. Early accounts say the vote was unanimous - with the exception of the ever oppositional former Republican Representative, R. Mangus. Will keep you posted as confirmed reports are received. At this point - congratulations are in order for the members of the Natural Resource Committee who did not capitulate to the pressures of the few and the wealthy. Further kudos are due for the Director of the DNR, Kyle Hupfer, who has publicly made good on his word. Every bit of it. We know he has withstood political pressure on his stand against this type of "hunting." It took a hefty internal moral core to issue this particular rule in the first place. Even more to stick with it. There will be additional challenges as this rule snakes through the system, ultimately making its way to the Governor's desk. The citizens who have found this type of "recreation" appalling, thank him for his courage in the face of hostility from the country club "hunters". It's not over until Gov. Daniels signs off. Who knows what goes on behind closed legislative doors in Indianapolis? But - for today - the DNR and the Natural Resource Committee members have definitely earned a "thumbs up". It is a pleasure to have state officials that actually listen to the regular people - not just the ones with extra campaign cash to throw around. More later - we are still waiting for Governor Daniel's "silver bullet" to end this unauthorized, unregulated agribusiness. Will let you know when he takes aim and delivers.

Monday, March 20, 2006

So - Bluff or Real Stuff? Does our vote or our dollar count in Indiana? Tomorrow we see if the donations made to Governor Daniels election campaign will finally payoff for the canned hunt operators. The legislature did NOT authorize canned hunting in Indiana - whoops - now what does the DNR do? After all, the shoot farm suppliers did publicly say this was a "done deal" if it got to the Governor's desk. It didn't make it to his desk LEGISLATIVELY, so what can he do to give these 12-15 citizens a millionaire monopoly? I know. I know. Revise the Emergency Rule and pay them off! And - give them some extra hunting seasons to boot. Oh - to keep the "peeps" happy, let's proclaim that a monopoly (no new "farms" allowed) be given to these operators. That'll fool 'em super good. The continuing saga of the 12 - 15 VIP canned hunt operators vs the Hoosier Public will be showcased tomorrow at the Natural Resource Commission Meeting. What we can expect to find out tomorrow:
  • Will the DNR fold on its own Emergency Rule and settle this "administratively" as the Governor said in a recent posted article?
  • Will the DNR grant "compensation" and future canned hunt seasons to these canned hunt operators?
  • Will the DNR give state money AND a business monopoly to the 12 - 15 VIP Hoosiers even though the State Legislature did NOT authorize the operation of these shoot farms, did NOT give them additional hunting seasons, and did NOT authorize canned hunting as a legitimate Hoosier agribusiness?
  • Will the Governor value your vote, your opinion or your cash contributions? Instead of comments to the Natural Resource Committee, maybe we should just send dollar bills. "Post It" notes stuck on dollar bills may prove to be the most effective method of communicating with the Hoosier executive branch after all!

Tomorrow we find out.

Was the IDNR ever serious about the ban on shoot farms in Indiana? Were they hoping that the legislature would save them from the embarrassment of having to backtrack on their own Emergency Rule? Did anyone's opinion ever matter on this issue or was this all preordained nonsense?

Sit tight. Will keep you posted.

Let's see what our DNR and our Governor are made of ...

Bluff or the Real Stuff?

You can call the IDNR tomorrow and see what they did. Did they stand by their own Emergency Rule and stick with the ban on high fence hunting of cervids and exotics?

IDNR (317)232-4020

Governor Daniels (317)232-4567

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Architect Grubb of Canned Hunt Taxpayer Extortion Amendment Says:
"I have never heard even one complaint against canned hunting."
The March 9 Journal Gazette wrote about Rep. Grubb:
" ...That wasn't good enough for Rep. Dale Grubb, D-Covington, one of the four conferees on the bill who must sign off on any conference committee report deleting the provision. He said he wouldn't approve any report until the owners are taken care of."
Wow - Double Wow - We know ALL sorts of folks (author included) that have emailed this guy and told him their viewpoint on this. Maybe he doesn't get email? Maybe he doesn't read email? Maybe he needs a new assistant? What did he do with the photos and letters that were sent to him? Mailed some of those myself..... this guy really needs to get in touch with the Hoosier public. Yeah - and all those years of editorials in the Hoosier newspapers ...... he doesn't read them either? Man, what' up with politicos these days? Where did HE go to school? Must be one of them childs left behind.....
You know, I think he's joshing with us. I bet both he AND his assistant can read! At any rate, he sure knows how to write amendments and give away taxpayer money! Can't read but knows how to write and extort ...... fascinating.
Anyway, can you help educate this Representative who will be one of FOUR Legislators that will have a final say in giving away $$millions$$ to 15 operators?
What is truly sad and just amazing is that - this "never heard a complaint" legislator managed to write up such a big bold boondoggle amendment for 15 already "heavy in the pocket" shooter buck investors.
Hoosier "farmers" CAN already sell deer meat and semen (urine, too!) This ain't about farming ..... this is about those 15 game farm owners who have been taking advantage of Hoosiers who didn't even know this kind of "stuff" was legal in Indiana. Now we have to pay them millions of OUR money to go away?
So - this politico doesn't read. Maybe he can listen? Or his assistant can both listen and take messages?
There is no time to write. Can't resend those photos, editorials, and letters. BUT - you can call his assistant and leave a message. Call the 800 number. Then ask to speak to the assistant for Representative Dale Grubb. Don't leave a message. He doesn't read them. Ask to speak to the assistant and when you are connected, talk very:
1. politely
2. plainly (no big words)
3. S-L-O-W-L-Y
Tell Representative Dale Grubb that you are COMPLAINING ABOUT CANNED HUNTING IN INDIANA. You don't like it. You don't want to reward these 15 people with a monopoly ... AND YOU SURE AS HECK DON'T WANT TO GIVE THEM MILLIONS of OUR State Taxpayer Dollars just so they GO AWAY!
You can reach this fine legislator (who knows how to write and extort, but not read) at: 1-800-382-9842
Email Rep. Dale Grubb at:
By the time you read this, it may already be too late. He and the other canned hunt bad boys are working at fever pitch figuring out how to get money to these 15 ship and shoot operators. Friday (3/11) is the last day to call - but emails can go out right now. Maybe someone will read them to him .....

GOV. DANIELS Attempts to Pitch and Deal for Campaign Contributors who want to legalize canned hunts in Indiana ... (Note to reader: check and see what group gave Gov. Daniels $20,00o.00 in campaign donations .....) In a last minute attempt to either get cash (taxpayer) payment to 15 special Hoosiers who have invested in shooter bucks (live trophy antlers) as a secondary business, or allow these same operators a MONOPOLY for seven more years to cash in on their hundred thousand dollar investments, Daniels continues to pitch for "compromise." Hey, do you think getting $20,000 in campaign donations from the game farmers (cutely named Sportsmen's PAC) could be influencing his sense of "fairness" for these special Hoosiers? Ya think, just maybe? THE INDIANA legislature NEVER AUTHORIZED this business - even though the game operators tried every single year since 1999. THEY NEVER GOT a bill authorizing them as a legitimate business in Indiana. NEVER. Maybe, just maybe, they should have taken those EXTRA hundreds of thousands of dollars and put them in a CD or under the mattress until THEY GOT LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL. It is COMPENSATION ENOUGH that they get to keep their earnings from this unauthorized "business." They took a risk. They circumvented the laws. They voted for Daniels. Now they want cash (taxpayer) money to to go away? That is commonly called EXTORTION. How many other businesses can circumvent the legislature for years and then DEMAND A CASH BUYOUT or MONOPOLY FOR ANOTHER SEVEN YEARS? Apparently there is no 800 number at which to leave the Governor a message. So - cough up a few cents or use your cell phone minutes:
No sweet deals for special contributors. Our wildlife policies are NOT FOR SALE.
It is legal to sell deer for meat, urine, antlers, and semen. So - let them SELL MEAT according to USDA slaughter laws.
BUT - No spearing and shooting retired circus and zoo animals. Not in Indiana.
Calls needed today and tomorrow. They are working feverishly to get taxpayer cash or a monopoly by the weekend. Only YOU can call out the Governor on this ......

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Bad Boys are at it AGAIN! Can it be? Yes, sadly. SB 87 is Extortion. Faced with only one week left to orchestrate a sweet money deal for the 15 special canned hunt operators in Indiana, Senator Jackman and Rep. Friend are back at it . The game farm owners we have been writing about - the ones who have been circumventing the Indiana legislature by supplying deer and exotics (retired zoo animals etc) for canned hunt operations are once again wheeling and dealing to either legalize these operations or force the Indiana taxpayers to give up millions of dollars as pay off money to these 15 operators. ( Those would be Hoosier dollars - intended to to operate and maintain our state natural resources.) You read that right. They are now extorting the Indiana taxpayers - beating us over the head to give these 15 guys the green light to continue to circumvent the legislature (and natural resource commissioners) or PAY THEIR CONSTITUENTS Off with OUR money! These legislators are asking Hoosiers to buy these guys out! At a cost of millions of Hoosier tax dollars... Unbelievable? You bet. Jackman, Friend, Grubb, and Guttwein are sweet talking their fellow legislators (and probably doing a bit of horsetrading and back slapping to boot!) in order to allow these canned hunt operators to continue to do business (with a grandfather clause giving them MONOPOLY status) or pay them off. WOW. No subtlety there ...... Give these 15 operators Hoosier natural resource money, or look the other way while they continue their dastardly business as usual. Call the Senate now - 1-800-382-9842 While you're at it - tell the Governor to stop these extortionist legislators - Call Governor Daniels at - (317)232-4567 Tell them NO NO NO - No canned hunts - No extortion of Hoosiers - NO SB87. These bad boy legislators are working fast at this deal - call NOW. They only have a few days left to shaft us on behalf of these 15 very, very special canned hunt operators. (P.S. It is legal to sell deer meat, deer urine, antlers and semen ...... these guys want to sell live trophy antlers on the hoof, at taxpayer expense.) Don't let them get away with this. We have better uses for our tax money.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Vote to Ban by Feb. 28, 2006 Votes and opinions are currently being solicited by the Indiana Natural Resource Committee. No comments will be considered that are not sent by end of business day, Feb. 28, 2006. Just to be sure, get these comments in early. Every opinion will be considered if submitted in time. One sentence is just fine - "I support a BAN on canned hunts in Indiana" These comments will be considered and tallied by Judge S. Lucas To send your comment, email: (don't forget to include full name and address)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Rep. Ulmer, You're Joking, Right? Rep. Ulmer says: "they put their life savings into this and (suddenly) they're being put out of business. I think that's wrong." " With all due respect to the very fine Hoosier Representative who decorates his office with wall to wall animal heads - have you checked the subsidies from the USDA that the federal taxpayers are already giving to some of these trophy farm operators? If they thought they were operating legally, why do they continue to go back to the NRC each year asking for authorization to operate shoot farms openly? And - they do go back every single year since 1999 - even though a bill legalizing their abhorent form of agricultural recreation has not been approved by the Indiana legislature! They come back every year because a few legislators(wonder which ones .... hmmmmm) promise them a slam dunk in the legislature and have yet to come through for them. But, boy, do they keep on trying! Dave Dimmich (deer farmer) said that once this got to the Governor's desk "It's a done deal." NOT SO FAST, Mr. Deer Farmer. Yes, Russ Bellar, Grand Deer Farming Honcho of Peru, Indiana, (sitting in prison at the moment) , did give thousands to the governor's campaign, and the Sportsmen's PAC (read: Deer farmers based in Peru, IN) did also give tens of thousands to the governor's campaign, and another deer farmer gave $2500.00 (personally) to the Attorney General's campaign .... but public opinion is not in favor of calling the raising of live antlers for shooting an agricultural enterprise. We support legitimate farmers - not this business of breeding more deer to be shot on farms for fun on the weekend. And - this is very important - nota bene, Counselor (s): Mr. Rodney Bruce (for whom you feel such great sympathy) states that trophy hunting is not the sole source of income for his getaway weekends in the country. He says he offers guided photography tours, refreshing weekend stays in the country, and general wildlife tours. Guess what? HE CAN CONTINUE WITH THAT BUSINESS! Counselor(s): Please check with Mr. Bruce to see how much of his income on his federal tax returns he attributes to the weekend shooting of livestock ........ and how much income does he attribute to his pastoral country getaway operation (without the concurrent, apparently incidental, bonus killing of some animal?) Knowing that "breed 'em to shoot 'em farming" had not yet been approved by the legislature, how foolish of this man to continue to invest his savings in shooter bucks? (If, in fact, he did jeopardize his total life savings on shooter bucks as the esteemed Hoosier Representative indicates.) That's called a "bad business investment" in my part of the world. And - since you are so worried about the "life savings" of these operators ..... why would Dr. Brad Thurston (plastic surgeon, Indianapolis) put HIS life savings into buying shooter deer? Silly, silly. Especially since his wife - Mrs.(Susan) Dr. Brad Thurston goes to the NRC year after year to ask for authorization and clarification for her deer business ..... why not put that same money in a nice CD, or under your mattress, until the authorization to run recreational live trophy shoot farms is approved by the Indiana legislature? By the way, have you checked the price of deer semen? Not too many 'poh peeples buying and poking up gallons of that stuff! However, it is LEGAL to sell deer for meat, urine and semen. You can even sell the antlers if there isn't a current international embargo against them. It's so endearing (xxoo) that some of you canned hunt FRIENDly legislators are concerned about the ultimate disposition of these animals! But, never fear. These hapless critters can be slaughtered for meat - if it is done in conjunction with humane slaughter laws outlined by the USDA. It is time to end this sham. Hiding language to allow shooting of exotics and canned hunt animals in a bill proclaiming to service "soil conservation" (good grief!) such as SB314, is just lowdown sneaky ...... we have serious issues to deal with in Indiana. Stop playing games to benefit these 15 special hunt farm operators ...... the general public (the other six million+ of us) do not appreciate your taking up the time of our legislators in this short session to proofread every piece of legislation which is unfortunate enough to pass through your hands .... And, while you are in such a symphatico mood ..... how about helping some of my friends "recoup" their bad business investments .... you know, the inflatable pushup bras, the fat dissolving gels, the do-it-yourself home vasectomy kit ..... Or - do you only protect investors in Breed,Drug, Ship, and Shoot?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

BOO! Canned Hunt FRIENDly Legislator(s) Sneak up on the public .......again It's not Halloween but those canned hunt bogey men just keep coming at us .... can't take your eyes off them for a single minute. Don't know what those 15 special Hoosier canned hunt operators and suppliers have that the rest of us plain old Hoosier types don't have - but they sure have their pet legislators wrapped around their 15 collective trigger fingers. Rep. Wm. FRIEND, Patron Saint of Russ Bellar, just can't stop dreaming and scheming up sneak attack legislation to stuff into otherwise valid bills. No shame on his part - hey, let's stash exotics, breeding licenses, whatever shoot farm goodies I can dream up the SOIL CONSERVATION BILL! Yup, that's a great fooler! What a great idea .... like..... um, who could vote against soil conservation? "I'll just slip a canned hunt quickie in there and hope nobody notices ......."
Now get over yourselves and start addressing taxes, education, job loss, prescription drugs and mental health care.
Bring your canned hunt buddy (currently in jail) a sandwich and get about the people's business!
For you industrious blog readers:
And for the not so industrious: (can you find the sneak attack legislators?) Action List: Senate Bill 0314 2006 Regular Session Authors: Hume, Nugent, Landske, Paul Date Chamber Action 01/10/2006 S Authored by Senator(s) Nugent 01/10/2006 S First reading: referred to Committee on Agriculture and Small Business 01/23/2006 S Senator Hume added as second author 01/26/2006 S Committee report: amend do pass, adopted 01/30/2006 S Second reading: ordered engrossed 02/02/2006 S Senators Landske and Paul added as coauthors 02/02/2006 S Cosponsors: Reps. Gutwein, Hoffman and Grubb 02/02/2006 S Third reading: passed; Roll Call 146: Yeas 50 and Nays 0 02/02/2006 S Referred to the House 02/02/2006 S House sponsor: Rep. Friend 02/07/2006 H First reading: referred to Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development 02/16/2006 H committee report: amend do pass, adopted

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

South Bend paper "nails" Rep. Ulmer's Agenda Article published Feb 13, 2006 State should say no to 'canned hunts'In an anticipated turn of events, Rep. John Ulmer, R-Goshen, is trying to sidestep the judgment of Indiana Department of Natural Resources director Kyle Hupfer and make "canned hunts" legal in Indiana.In August, Hupfer announced that he would ban the unseemly business of charging wanna-be hunters to corner and shoot confined animals. Hupfer announced that the so-called "preserves" must be shut down by the adjournment in March of the next General Assembly (this one).We said at the time that we hoped the General Assembly would not see Hupfer's deadline as an invitation to overrule the DNR. Obviously it has. Ulmer's bill would let canned hunts continue for seven years. The idea, according to Ulmer, is to allow hunt operators to recoup some of their investment.There is a lot more to consider here than the operators' investment, as Hupfer's evaluation of the issue last year showed.The director, new on the job, needed to respond to the disturbing events in 2004 near Peru, when canned hunt operator Russell Bellar pled guilty to three counts of conspiracy to violate food and drug laws. In Bellar's trial, 60 witnesses, some of them celebrities, described how they paid thousands of dollars to shoot trapped, drugged trophy bucks they had selected from a catalog.Hupfer, rather than judge the industry by the Bellar case, conducted hearings around the state and based his decision on extensive information-gathering. One concern that he addressed directly was the possible health consequences of introducing exotic species into the state, such as wild boar, sheep, elk and zebra, and the risk that they could introduce chronic wasting disease into the native deer population.Lest anyone think this is a dispute between animal protection advocates and hunters, it isn't. Many of the comments that the director collected came from hunters who are disgusted by the unsporting aspects of shooting captive animals at close range, often while they are at feeding stations.This is not a practice that should exist in Indiana for the next seven years, or even the next year. It is not governed now by state law, which is the reason Hupfer stepped in. His judgment was fact-based and sound. It should not be second-guessed at the 11th hour by the General Assembly.The House has passed House Bill 1349. The Senate should vote it down on its merits. In the event that it does not, we hope that Gov. Mitch Daniels will support the judgment of his DNR director and exercise his veto.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

WI and FED Taxpayers give $764,000 State reports nearly 700 licensed deer and elk farms WAUSAU, Wis. About 700 deer or elk farms are still licensed in Wisconsin.The number defies predictions of the industry's demise made four years ago when a deadly brain disease was discovered in the state's wild deer herd. But according to the state Agriculture Department, those farms contain thousands fewer animals than in the years before chronic wasting disease was discovered. The government itself had a hand in that. Ag Department spokeswoman Donna Gilson says state regulations led to the killing of 677 deer or elk on 17 different farms. They represent herds with at least one diseased animal, herds with a direct link to a diseased animal or herds near where the disease was discovered in wild deer. State and federal governments have paid about 765-thousand dollars to those producers to compensate them for their losses.

Canned Hunt FRIENDly legislators Note: The Senate acted with appropriate moral governance and put an end to this ridiculous bill which would make millionaires of 12 operators in this state. Good for them! The article below was written before this bill was "euthanized" in the Senate. Still makes for good reading: February 12, 2006 outdoors: skip hess Latest fenced hunting bill has veterans in crosshairs February 12, 2006 The lawmakers who introduced House Bill 1349 in the Indiana General Assembly might think they are nickel slick, but they have to get out of bed a lot earlier if they want to bamboozle their fellow Hoosiers. This is a bill that returns in some form to the Indiana General Assembly year after year, only to stall in some committee. Many lawmakers have been reluctant to vote on the bill, which deals with the controversial shooting of deer and elk held captive by eight-foot fencing at commercial preserves. There are 10 of the facilities in the state where clients pay thousands of dollars to kill a trophy deer or elk, purely for bragging rights and to hang its antlered head on a wall. The Department of Natural Resources contends the businesses are illegal, although they have been allowed to operate for several years. Indiana sportsmen groups have adamantly opposed this form of shooting deer and elk because it flies in the face of fair chase. Last year, DNR director Kyle Hupfer took a stand on the issue in his first year on the job and proposed that all deer and elk shooting preserve operations be shut down this year, subject to approval by legislators. This year's bill, co-sponsored by state representatives John D. Ulmer (R-Goshen), William J. Ruppel (R-North Manchester), Paul Robertson (D-Depauw) and Jerry Denbo (D-French Lick), sailed through the House (53-29) after dying in past sessions, although it was even more pro-shooting preserve than in the past. Why the change this year? The first clue is in the synopsis of the bill. The preserves are now called "hunting" instead if "shooting" facilities in HB 1349. It sounds better, even though there is very little hunting and a lot of guaranteed shooting success going on. The bill proposes that clients cannot hunt closer than 150 yards from an artificial feeding site and calls for a smaller hunting area of 80 contiguous acres surrounded by an eight-foot fence. Here's a hint to how much "hunting" will be going on. The bill states that the facility "may not sell a specific deer or elk to the hunter." However, a facility owner may charge either a basic hunting fee or "a fee based upon the antler size of the deer or elk taken by the hunter." Here's where an attempt to bamboozle comes into play. Before the hunting facility wording in section two of the seven-page bill, look at what pops up in boldface lettering at the bottom of page four in section one. It reads: (f) The director shall issue a lifetime hunting, fishing, and trapping license without charge to an individual who has applied for a lifetime hunting, fishing, and trapping license and who: (1) is a resident of Indiana; and (2) has served in and received an honorable discharge from the armed forces of the United States (as defined in IV 5-9-4-3). That explains a lot about the lopsided vote. Sixteen legislators with honorable discharges from the service excused themselves from voting on the bill because they would have been voting on something that would benefit them. If you were a state representative running for re-election during a time of war, would you want your opponent to remind voters that you voted against a lifetime free hunting, fishing and trapping license for men and women who served their country? Bill sponsors say that in fairness to shooting facility owners who have sunk tons of money into a business, they shouldn't be shut down overnight. The bill proposes that facility owners who were in business after 2003 be allowed to operate until 2013 to recover their financial investment. However, the DNR contends the facilities are illegal. If the Senate doesn't pass the bill, DNR authorities say they will close the shooting preserves July 1.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Wildlife Professor writes about politics of canned hunts ...

Charleston Gazette, Charleston

February 10, 2006 Dave Samuel · State’s deer farms pose a threat to wild herds TWO bills in the Legislature could cause tremendous damage to one of the biggest industries in West Virginia — deer hunting. House Bill 4258 and Senate Bill 506 would take deer farm control from the Division of Natural Resources and give it to the Department of Agriculture. Deer hunting brings in $230 million a year to West Virginia. A 2002 survey showed that deer farming generated $308,000 in the state. On Feb. 6, Lindsey Griffith, attorney for the West Virginia Deer Farmers Association, cited in a commentary in this paper that “the market value of deer sold last year in Pennsylvania was $10.6 million,” and then went on to state that the cervid industry in Oklahoma brings in $17.5 million a year. I find it most interesting that some of our legislators look at those numbers, while ignoring the value of our wild deer herd to the state. Between now and 2016, our deer herd will create $2.3 billion in the state’s economy. One might ask why we can’t have both deer farms and continue our deer hunting? We could if there were no problems with diseases on deer farms that threaten wild deer and elk. Deer farming is not a healthy industry. Diseases are spread from farm to farm. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is the major culprit. Wisconsin spends $20 million a year just testing their wild deer for this disease. Chronic wasting disease has been found on game farms in Colorado, Wyoming, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Wisconsin, New York, and Nebraska. The more CWD is found on deer farms, the more the public turns against them. Thus, many deer farms are for sale, many do not make money and many are hobby farms. And in no state does the economic benefit from deer farming come close to the economic value of the wild deer herd to citizens. Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and 14 other states have banned deer farms. Indiana and Montana have banned hunting big game in deer pens. The ban in Montana was passed by a public referendum. Most hunters are not interested in hunting deer in pens. Why do the deer farmers want the Agriculture Department to control them? The DNR places tighter restrictions on deer farms, and this impacts them from an economic perspective. We know that CWD spreads from game farm to game farm. That has been documented. I’m not sure why that doesn’t concern some of our legislators. It sure concerns hunters and many private citizens. Consider this recent event. A deer farm in Wisconsin had a quarantined herd with at least 21 CWD-positive deer. Someone cut a hole in the fence and deer escaped. It wasn’t the deer farmer, but the results are very negative. The state is now spending more than $500,000 to kill deer around that game farm. Deer farmers want to move deer, sell deer instate and out of state. They can’t do that now, but I’m sure they believe that Agriculture would allow that. Some legislators support such sale of deer. Most states do not allow the importing or exporting of deer. What do they know that we don’t know? Why are we taking a step backward? Every state hunting organization supports the adoption of the DNR’s proposed legislative rules to control deer farming. Many citizens do as well. I’m puzzled why more aren’t taking action by going to the, that lists every state legislator by county, and also lists their e-mail address. Everyone interested in this issue should e-mail their legislators about these bills that threaten our wild deer herd. I’m even more puzzled why legislators ignore the science, ignore the history from other states and provinces, and push for more deer farming. Mining experts advise the Legislature on new legislation. Forestry experts advise the Legislature on new forestry legislation. We’ve got wildlife experts doing the same on this wildlife legislation, yet they are being ignored. Many folks oppose deer farms totally. The DNR has compromised here, but to turn control of deer farms over to Agriculture is a step backward. We cannot afford to risk the loss of our wild deer. The economic loss could be huge. Samuel is a retired wildlife professor from West Virginia University who has done extensive studies on white-tailed deer. He is presently conservation editor for “Bowhunter” magazine.

Canned Hunt Bill "killed" in Senate Committee Today (Feb. 10) HB 1349 - (Canned Hunt Bill) was killed in Senate Committee. This is good news for all of you who have been campaigning against the legalization and proliferation of this disgusting form of entertainment. However, this "vampire" (keeps coming back from the dead) legislation will surely rise again ...... as long as there are politicians in office that need to make good on promises to their special constituents. (And - don't buy the poor Amish farmer bit on this one ....) For the moment - those 12 (actually 15) special Hoosiers will not be given a state monopoly to "ship and shoot" domestic livestock, retired circus, or surplus zoo animals. Celebrate - but not too hard. There is more work to be done to support the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources Emergency Rule banning this type of entertainment in Indiana. And - it needs to be done soon. Stay tuned for news on what the next step will be to put an end to this vampire legislation. Thanks for all the hard work. A dollar is not always a dollar. There is clean money and dirty money. Let's support the REAL farmers and Hoosier agriculture - the ones who actually work their fields. These "investor farmers" who want to raise antler trophies on the hoof might consider putting their surplus cash into more socially acceptable forms of agricultural entertainment - or put it under their mattress. Possibly purchasing whitetail semen and shooter bucks is not the best use of their"investment" dollars ... at least not in Indiana. And 11 other states.