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LETTER: Keep hunting ethical

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Representatives of the undersigned sporting and conservation organizations thank Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore David Long for his recent public stand decrying canned hunting.

His comments on shooting domestic deer in enclosures expose the unethical practices that occur behind hunting-preserve fences. Long’s comments couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Indiana House of Representatives is currently considering legislation, Senate Bill 487, which contains an amendment aimed at legalizing canned hunting here in Indiana. Rep. Matt Ubelhor, R-Bloomfield, authored and presented the amendment to the house committee on natural resources April 1.

Despite vigorous public testimony in opposition, the committee voted to accept the amendment. Reps. Lloyd Arnold and Tom Saunders voted against the amendment, citing their constituents’ negative feelings for canned hunting.

We commend their commitment to their constituency. The bill, amendment attached, came to the house floor April 2. Long announced his opposition April 4.

Also April 4, representatives of our sporting and conservation organizations held a press conference at the statehouse to voice unified opposition to the bill. Each of us spoke of concerns held by our members: disease that threatens Indiana’s wild deer herd, commercialization and exploitation of wildlife, and the unethical practice of shooting deer in enclosures. We reiterated that more than 80 percent of Hoosiers oppose canned hunting. We documented our stand by signing a written proclamation and presenting it to the governor’s office. Just minutes before our press conference began we were told of Long’s announcement.

We urge the Indiana General Assembly to kill Senate Bill 487. We as representatives of our respective organizations, and 80 percent of Indiana residents, press for the end of canned hunting in our state. That end begins with the defeat of SB 487.

STEVE CECIL
Indiana Wildlife Federation
DOUG ALLMAN
Indiana Deer Hunter Association
JIM SWEENEY
Izaak Walton League of America
DON GORNEY
Amos Butler Audubon Society
TOM JAMES
Quality Deer Management Association
DARREN REED
Indiana Conservation Officers’ Organization