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To promote the conservation, sound management, and sustainable use of Indiana's wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy, and action.

Conservation Groups File Brief in Canned Hunting Appeal

June 3, 2013
Contact:  Barbara Simpson, Executive Director Indiana Wildlife Federation
Phone: 317-875-9453
Email: simpson@indianawildlife.org

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Three of the leading statewide conservation organizations in Indiana, The Indiana Wildlife Federation, the Indiana Deer Hunters Association, and The Wildlife Society, Indiana Chapter, have filed an Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) brief supporting Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s appeal of the Harrison County Court decision that erroneously concluded canned hunting is legal and privately owned deer cannot be regulated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).    

“The law is clear. Shooting captive-raised deer in pens - canned hunting – is illegal, and we’re glad to see Attorney General Zoeller taking action to reinforce this once and for all,” said Barbara Simpson, Executive Director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation.  Glenn Lange of The Wildlife Society added that, “canned hunting operations violate the long standing North American Model of Wildlife Conservation that holds wildlife are a public trust held by the state for all citizens-not a privileged few.” The Indiana Deer Hunters Association advocates ethical hunting practices, and opposes shooting captive deer that have no opportunity to escape.   “Canned hunting is an unethical practice that gives reputable fair-chase hunters a bad name and hunting a bad image,” said Joe Bacon, President of the Indiana Deer Hunters Association.  “We’re also very concerned about the threat of disease that could spread to the wild deer herd, especially chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis, that’s associated with these types of operations,” stressed Lange.

A summary of the amicus brief points out the following:

  • Indiana law authorizes regulation of “wild animals” whether publically or privately owned.
  • It’s illegal to kill deer except as state statute or rule specifically allows.
  • Private ownership of deer is permitted only with a game breeder’s permit for a deer livestock operation.
  • Deer owned by private livestock operations may not be hunted.
  • It’s illegal to sell deer – dead or alive – except under a game breeder’s permit.

These simple points above clearly show that Indiana law does not allow canned hunting and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has authority to regulate privately owned wild animals.  We are confident the Appellate Court will find in favor of the IDNR and the debate around what the law does and does not allow will finally be put to rest.  Canned hunting is and always has been illegal in Indiana.   

Special thanks and appreciation go to Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP, and Jon Laramore, Partner, for the assistance in the preparation of this brief.

Click here for the complete amicus brief supporting DNR filed on behalf of IWF, Indiana Deer Hunters Association, and Indiana Chapter of the Wildlife Society. To read the complete DNR brief click here.

Barbara Simpson
Executive Director                                                                         
Indiana Wildlife Federation                                                        

Glenn Lange
Chairman, Conservation Affairs Committee
The Wildlife Society, Indiana Chapter

Joe Bacon
Indiana Deer Hunters Association