Editorial: Politicians Vote to Destroy Tradition of Deer Hunting
The General Assembly passed Senate Bill 109 and cleared the way for a mass expansion of the captive cervid industry in Indiana. Elected officials voted to make a mockery of deer hunting. Do you know how your senator and representative voted?
One of the most disgraceful aspects of this legislation is how it repeatedly refers to the practice of killing captive animals as hunting. Look up the definition of hunting and you’ll see it is the pursuit and killing of “wild” animals. You’ll find no definition that relates hunting to the shooting of bottle-fed, genetically enhanced, named pets bred from commercially traded straws of semen.
Arguments are made that some people don’t have the time or access to land to go hunting for real, so these captive killing pens provide them the option to participate. What a sad place we have reached in our instant gratification society, where people are unwilling to invest time and resources in actually going hunting. Instead, they skip the process of preparation and kill an animal trapped in a fence with antlers nature would likely never produce so they can pretend they went hunting.
Most of you reading this article are likely well aware of what is taking place on the national political stage. You probably know the latest back and forth between the presidential candidates. Unless you live under a rock, it’s nearly impossible to escape the constant onslaught of political theatre being played out on the national stage.
However, I bet very few of you can name your state representative and state senator. Think about it for a second. Do you know who represents you in Indianapolis? If not, then you surely don’t know what they are doing. This very dangerous, because politics at the state level have more impact on your everyday life than politics at the national level do. But since very few people engage with state politics, some of these elected officials run amok, operating against the best interests of their constituents. Instead, they adhere to the wishes of the deep pockets who pay their way to the Capitol.
The legislators who led the initiative to expand the killing of captive animals in Indiana are Sen. Mark Messmer, Sen. Brent Steele, Sen. James Tomes, Sen. James Arnold, Rep. Sean Eberhart, Rep. Don Lehe, Rep. Terry Goodin and Rep. David Niezgodski. Many more voted for the legislation. Governor Pence chose to sign the legislation. I hope you take the time to find out how your elected officials voted before you head to the ballot box next. To see how your legislators voted, visit https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2016/bills/senate/109
If you are a deer hunter or simply a person who cares about conservation and wildlife, then you should know who the politicians are that led the charge to pass this legislation that severely degrades the heritage of hunting in Indiana. These politicians have been greased by lobbyists and associations financially fueled by the captive killing industry. They don’t care about the long-term health of our deer herd or the continuation of our deer hunting heritage. They may say they do, but their vote plainly proves otherwise. Actions speak louder than words. But they don’t think you’ll ever know how they voted. Their risk of backing this disgrace to deer hunters is minimal, so they take their campaign contributions and move on.
At the end of the day though, we can’t only blame the politicians. It’s the customers of these killing pens who are mostly to blame for the expansion of this industry. Bought and paid for politicians may provide the avenue for this disgraceful industry to exist, but it’s demand that drives supply. If no customers existed, neither would these shooting pens. I’m not afraid to call out anyone for killing an animal in a cage. To tell them they are hurting the future of hunting and to discourage them from ever doing it again. I’ve lost friends over the issue. But I’d rather lose a few friends than to see the tradition of hunting as we know it wiped out. What are you doing to save our hunting heritage?
Hunters must stop simply shaking their heads and turning their backs on the fact that those who kill captive animals are disparaging real hunters, and desecrating the traditions of our forefathers. Don’t fall for the bullying tactics that claim you are hurting hunters by taking a stance against the captive killing industry. They are the ones hurting hunters. The only way you can hurt the future of hunting is to stand idly by and watch while special interest groups buy political favors to commercialize our hunting traditions.