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Furthermore …

Canned hunt killed

Nothing is certain until the final gavel falls in Indianapolis, but those who care about ethical treatment of animals and/or about hunting as a sport are celebrating the Senate’s defeat Tuesday of a measure to legitimize canned hunting.

A special shout-out to the two Fort Wayne Republicans who voted against the measure: Senate President Pro Tem David Long and Sen. Tom Wyss.

Sen. Carlin Yoder, the Middlebury Republican who introduced the measure, argued correctly that private “preserves” where quasi-hunters pay thousands of dollars to shoot domestically raised, fenced-in deer and elk are at the moment virtually unregulated.

In 2005, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources decided to shut down high-fenced hunting. Failed legislative efforts and conflicting court decisions have kept the issue in limbo.

The operators of canned hunting facilities argue that they would welcome a law that sets limits on how small the fenced-in killing fields can be, among other things. They say their facilities provide jobs and enjoyment. Opponents say these establishments are not only unsporting but threaten Indiana’s wild deer by making it more likely that illnesses such as the dreaded chronic wasting disease will be imported and nurtured in the confined deer herds. CWD could decimate the state’s deer, which would endanger the much larger contribution the state’s legitimate deer hunters make to Indiana’s economy.

Here’s hoping that the bill stays dead during the few short weeks left in this legislative session. Maybe the courts will clear up some of the confusion about these sordid little Midwestern-style fantasy islands. Maybe, just maybe, a bill to ban canned hunting altogether will get some traction in next year’s legislature.