Fresh (wild) or Canned?

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”Theodore Roosevelt, founder Boone and Crockett Club

Throughout history, hunting has meant the pursuit of wild game. Over time, artificial barriers, such as high fences, began to be used to restrict the movements of game in and out of properties. In some extreme cases wild game were domesticated and offered up in private or commercial hunting operations. The term “free ranging” was added to differentiate between the hunting of wild game as opposed to confined or domesticated animals. In time, the term “canned hunt” began to be used by animal rights and anti-hunting groups as a generic description of all “high fence” hunting. The majority of hunters abhor this style of hunting as well. The term “canned shoot” better defines the practice as it truly does not have any semblance to actual hunting.

A canned shoot is the practice of pursuing any big game animal kept in or released from captivity to be killed in an artificial or bogus hunting situation where a kill is virtually guaranteed. In a canned shoot, the game lacks the equivalent chance afforded free-ranging animals to escape. In some cases, over-handling wild game domesticates these animals, removing their natural instincts to avoid detection and their fear of man. The intent of a canned shoot is to set up a certain or unrealistically favorable chance of a kill. To distance this activity from hunting the hunting community began using the term “canned shoot.”

At a minimum, canned shoots are an affront to fair-chase hunting, if not the traditions of hunting wild game in general. Hunting has always been more and has meant more than just killing. All hunters should be concerned with canned shoots. Their acceptance says a lot about what our community thinks of itself and hunting. Outside of our community, the non-hunting public often mistakenly believes that this practice is representative of all hunting, which is a gross misconception. The reality is people won’t know this is a gross misrepresentation unless the hunting community is actively taking steps to distance itself from these types of unsportsmanlike activities immediately by saying this is wrong, this is not hunting, and doing something about it. Otherwise, we take our chances by allowing these commercial interests and their customers to define hunting for all of us.