Captive Deer Shooting Preserves Threaten Indiana’s Wild Deer

captive deer

Update — Gov. Pence signs SEA 109 on March 22, 2016

Despite strong opposition from conservationists, hunters, and people concerned with animal welfare, the Governor signed SEA 109 and it now becomes law.  HEC will continue to evaluate other approaches to minimizing the impacts of this risky and unethical industry.

See how your legislators voted here:  Senate/House

Senate Bill 109

SB 109 legalizes and expands “canned hunting” — the shooting of captive deer and other animals in fenced enclosures.  Captive deer shooting preserves are suspected in the spread of disease to wild deer.  Chronic wasting disease (CWD), which has no cure nor can it be diagnosed in live deer, has been found in captive and wild deer in 23 states.  If wild deer become infected, taxpayers must bear the cost of searching for and killing the infected deer to prevent the spread of the disease.

Deer in shooting preserves are bred to have abnormally large “trophy” antlers that are not found in wild deer.  In fenced shooting preserves, they have virtually no opportunity to escape from hunters, violating the hunting ethic of “fair chase”.

SB 109 differs from past versions of this legislation, by:

  • Assigning oversight of these facilities to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, rather than the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.  A 2015 court decision ruled that the DNR does not have authority to regulate privately-owned wild animals.
  • Expanding the types of animals that may be shot on these preserves to include sheep and goats.  Exotic species of wild sheep and goats are commonly found in shooting preserves in other states.  For example, Aoudad sheep, a North African species, are available for shooting at preserves in Texas.


Read our fact sheet here.