It's Groundhog Day In Indiana All Over Again
Time To Call In Federal Agents To Enforce The Law
Deer Farmers Back At Legislature As Indiana Abandons Regulatory Enforcement

Inside Outdoors..Feb. 11, 2007

If the Indiana Legislature is in session, you can be sure that Indiana's unlicensed deer farmers and unregulated captive deer shooting businessmen are at work trying to end hunting as we have known it, forever.

It's Groundhog Day all over again at the Indiana Legislature. Yogi Bera ("It's déjà vu all over again") would understand.

House Bill 1799 would remove cervidae farming operations from the definition of "wild animal" and remove a requirement to obtain a game breeders license. This would eliminate Dept. of Natural Resources jurisdiction to regulate any property that holds captive deer or elk and some other wild animals.
The same man has introduced this bill and similar bills year-after-year in the Legislature. Rep. William Friend, R-Macy, is the serial sponsor. He is a pal of Russ Bellar who went to prison for hundreds of federal wildlife law violations at his canned hunting operation near Peru.

The co-sponsor is Paul Robertson, assistant leader of Indiana House Democrats. He is from Depauw in Crawford Co. Robertson, a retired teacher. He represents Rodney Bruce who operates a canned hunting business in Crawford Co.

It was Bruce who sued the Ind. DNR over its attempt at regulation of these captive deer shooting "preverves." Remember that ban on canned hunting signed by former DNR Director Kyle Hupfer? That regulation was approved by the Indiana Attorney General and officially signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels last year.

But, Hupfer subsequently announced he had arranged a settlement with Bruce and 11 other canned hunt operators before resigning as director last fall. Hupfer's settlement has never been officially adopted. The Indiana Natural Resources Commission, which is the alleged boss of the DNR, has not accepted or rejected such a settlement and there has been no word from the courtroom in Corydon, where the case is still open.

The law in Indiana is as it was when Gov. Daniels signed the canned hunting ban in 2006. The deer farmers and their shooting farm operator cousins are still subject to DNR regulations. But, the DNR Enforcement Division is not even pretending to enforce the law. The game breeders and deer shooting businesses have a literal "Get Out Of Jail Free" card direct from the Ind. DNR, the attorney general, the governor and the state legislature.

So, how is this new bill from Rep. Friend and Rep. Robertson connected to canned shooting operations? A nice buck from the farm might sell for $5,000 or more at one of the many deer auctions that now take place in Indiana. The canned shooting operator who buys it then gets $10,000 to $12,000 from the "hunter" to kill the critter inside those high-fence compounds.

If the Friend-Robertson bill passes, captive deer will be classified as "livestock" and fall under the "friendly" regulatory arms of the State Board of Animal Health.

The SBOAH is little more than a defense agency for Indiana agriculture interests. It was the SBOAH's predecessor at the Indiana State Board of Health that kept secret the knowledge that there were PCBs in Indiana milk for a decade, for one example. The deer farmers and shooting operators want desperately to fall under the SBOAH's gentle oversight.

Meanwhile Indiana government has surrendered all moral or ethical ground and has abandoned its job of enforcing state laws and regulations.

It is time to call in the feds. It took agents of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to nail Russ Bellar for letting people shoot drugged deer in pens, and since we have no wildlife law enforcement evident in our state, it's time for the real lawmen to come back home again to Indiana.

Copyright 2007. Donald Lee Jordan