Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Ind. Gov't. - "Governor should appeal court ruling on deer"
That is the heading of this letter with many signatures printed yesterday in the Indianapolis Star. Here it is in full:
Gov. Mike Pence should appeal the confusing and contradictory court decision in Harrison County that said the deer in Rodney Bruce’s operation are private property and not subject to state regulation.For background see this Oct. 3rd ILB entry, headed "Ind. Decisions - More on "Trial judge rules DNR overstepped in attempt to shut down high-fence deer hunting", which includes links to the two trial court rulings mentioned in the letter.
Judge John Evans stated that in the high fence/canned hunting operation the “individual hunters comply with the Department of Natural Resources hunting regulations, including obtaining a deer license, hunting during the proper days of the year, and reporting killed deer to DNR.” This suggests the high fence/canned hunting operation is required to comply with state law. Then follows a contradictory statement that “the deer ... are privately owned and are not the property of the State of Indiana. Therefore the animals are not the property of the people of the State of Indiana.” This statement suggests the high fence/canned hunting operation is not required to comply with state law.
If captive deer are wild animals, then they are regulated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. If they are not wild animals, they are either livestock or pets and regulated by the Indiana Board of Animal Health that oversees disease management, animal cruelty, humane slaughter, and appropriate animal care and disposal.
Under current Indiana law, high fence/canned hunting is illegal. Last fall Judge Frank Nardi in Owen Circuit Court upheld this fact in a summary judgment decision. The two conflicting court decisions make it very difficult for our Conservation Officers to enforce the law, and hunting season is upon us.
The Harrison County ruling is in direct contradiction to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation that natural resources agencies have adopted and followed since the time of Teddy Roosevelt.
It’s also important to point out that this court order does not open the door for new high fence/canned hunting operations, despite what was quoted in the media shortly after the judge’s decision was published. This is one more aspect of the confusion that has been created and must be clarified.
Everyone who values wildlife should contact Gov. Pence at (317) 232-4567 or www.in.gov/gov/2333 and request an appeal of this recent Harrison Circuit Court ruling.