Law Enforcement Vacuum To Suck Slob Hunters To Indiana

By Don Jordan

posted 9/19/06

Geez, a guy goes trout fishing in Montana for two weeks, comes back and finds out Indiana is about to become one of the new canned hunting and deer breeding capitols of the world.

Despite the order banning canned hunting signed last year by Indiana DNR Dir. Kyle Hupfer and signed earlier this year by Our Man Mitch, Indiana's canned hunting businesses have never stopped offering "hunts" for sale and are preparing for a booming business this fall.

And, the so-called deer "farmers" who raise those "shooter bucks" for the confined hunting industry are going great guns too. The Amish deer farmers in northern Indiana just auctioned off scores of four and five-year-old bucks to canned hunting businesses.

Just for the record, canned hunting or "high-fence hunting" is the practice of selling some slob from Chicago the right to shoot a confined deer, elk, buffalo, beer, boar, ram or nearly anything else on Earth (white tail deer cost from $2,000 to $20,000 depending on the size of the animal's antlers). Of course, this is not hunting at all, and that is why the state's sportsmen have vocally and publicly opposed establishing the practice in Indiana.

Right now, a proposed "settlement" between the DNR and one canned hunt operator in Corydon is on the table, waiting for various legal outcomes in a Harrison County court.
That settlement would allow all of Indiana's canned hunting operators (the DNR does not know how many there are or won't say) to go full tilt in their businesses for the next 12 years. They are already going full tilt, flaunting the DNR and thumbing their noses at the people of Indiana.

Furthermore, there is a complete vacuum in law enforcement. The current DNR regulation bans canned hunting, but the DNR's Enforcement Div. is not enforcing that regulation. In Indianapolis, nobody knows if it is legal to shoot confined elk, rams, buffalo and other "exotics" not native to Indiana, and nobody will say that it is illegal to shoot white tail deer even though the regulation in effect clearly bans the practice.

This is the new way of governing. You enact a law then ignore it. No matter what anyone says or does, you stonewall it, don't fund it and don't enforce it. This has filtered down to Indiana via Governor Daniels.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Wildlife Federation, which in the past was the most active and ardent foe of canned hunting, has all but faded into the background. Under the leadership of former DNR Director John Goss, the IWL has become a weak sister in this story. Could this be because Goss allowed the Corydon canned hunt business to do business in the first place, during his DNR tenure? Paula Yeager is rolling in her grave.

The politics of the campaign to let canned hunting in the back door breaks down this way: Republican and some Democrat state legislators, especially from northern Indiana, support the canned hunters; Democrats in general don't want to have anything to do with an "animal" issue that might somehow make them look bad. What a bunch of spineless wimps.

The history of canned hunting in Indiana is a disgrace. It encompasses the worst of politics, conspiracies of the like-minded, ignorance, greed, public relations, gross incompetence and even, now, the complicity of the very group that fought canned hunting from the beginning.

Indiana is about to become a Mecca for those kind of people who enjoy shooting confined white tail deer and other species so they can put a head on their wall and brag about what great hunters they are. As Hoosiers we are going to be right up there with Pennsylvanians who can proudly claim they are the slob and canned hunter capitol of the world.

©Copyright 2006. Donald Lee Jordan