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Can It! Say NO to The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2005

November 14, 2005 | Animal Rights / Hunting & Wildlife Management / Hunting Ranches

Let's Stop Promoting "Man's Dominion" Over Nonhuman Life

On 9 February 2005, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced a bill (S. 304) with the short title "The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2005." Proponents of the bill claim it will "crack down on 'canned hunts,' the abhorrent practice of confining tame, exotic animals in an enclosed space and shooting them at close range." [1] As Senator Lautenberg has acknowledged, it is important to note what the bill does and does not do.

What the Bill Would NOT Do

By its own terms, the bill would not prohibit the stalking and killing of any birds, such as doves, turkeys, quails and pheasants, nor any native mammals, such as white-tailed deer and elk. Yet these animals make up the vast majority of animals killed on hunting ranches.

The bill, if passed, would not forbid killing exotic (non-native) mammals in enclosures of less than 1,000 acres, including animals on 2,437 ranches, in Texas [3] alone, which have 2005 Hunting Lease Licenses for 1,000+ acres. Additionally, of the more than 8,000 total ranches licensed for hunting by the state of Texas, all could offer native mammals and birds.

The exempted hunting ranches — those with 1,000 or more acres — are offering exotic animals, including those in danger of extinction, such as scimitar-horned oryx, addax and dama gazelle.

The bill does nothing to impede hunters from frequenting private hunting ranches.

What the Bill Would Do

If passed, the bill would provide a cover of legitimacy to trophy hunting ranches over 1,000 acres.

S. 304 glorifies the hunting industry with the label of "sportsmanship."

Any hunter's success is a violent act, forced on an unwilling animal.

As its title suggests, it accepts the concept of "fair chase" formulated by the Boone and Crocket Club, which Theodore Roosevelt founded to promote competition for antlers, horns and skulls. The "fair chase" is "intended to enhance the hunter's experience."[2] Within such a paradigm, the nonhuman interest in life and freedom is never seriously considered.

In our quest to obtain respect for animals, we don't need conflicting messages. We need strong, unequivocal advocacy.

Can The Act That Sells Out Endangered Antelopes
The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act impedes the effort to protect and respect endangered antelopes and other animals.

In 2005, pressed by legal action from Friends of Animals, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed as endangered the scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelle. These antelopes, native to arid northern Africa, are now all highly endangered due to habitat destruction caused by agribusiness, armed conflict, mining, and poaching.

Private canned-hunting ranches in the United States, mainly in Texas, breed and keep some of these antelopes, and charge tourists for the opportunity to take home trophies. It is hypocritical in the extreme to refer to U.S. tourists who kill these antelopes as "sportsmen," while identifying African hunters of the same animals as poachers.

Yet, pressed by ranchers, the government exempted U.S.-bred antelopes from their "endangered" designation. With a few limited requirements, the new rule allows any person to kill, export, or sell live antelopes.

Plotting of ranches with over 1,000 acres with 2005 Texas Hunting Lease Licenses

Plotting of ranches with over 1,000 acres with 2005 Texas Hunting Lease Licenses
Data used to plot this map was provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Members and supporters of Friends of Animals thank the Environmental Law Clinical Partnership of the University of Denver for their steadfast work in the legal challenge to keep all antelopes the highest level of legal protection possible.

S. 304 would provide a cover of legitimacy to thousands of trophy hunting ranches, including ones with endangered antelopes, such as:
777 Ranch (TX)
15,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

Canoe Creek Ranch (KY)
15,000 acres
scimitarhorned oryx and addax

Casa Grand Game Ranch (TX)
3,700 acres

Circle E Ranch (TX)
2,000 acres
scimitarhorned oryx and addax

Comanche Spring Ranch (TX)
5,400 acres
scimitar-horned oryx

Continental Ranch (TX)
47,000 acres
scimitarhorned oryx and addax

Diamond K Ranch (TX)
5,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

High Adventure Ranch (MO)
1,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

Indianhead Ranch (TX)
10,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

More or Less Game Ranch (TX)
1,200 acres
scimitar- horned oryx

Wild Horse Prairie Ranches (TX)
7,500 acres
scimitar-horned oryx

Y.O. Ranch (TX)
60,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

Please encourage your legislators to oppose this bill. You can locate your Senators through or write to them at:

The Honorable ______________
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121


  1. "Take Action: Stop Canned Hunting," The Humane Society of the United States
  2. "Fair Chase Statement," Boone and Crocket Club
  3. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department report of Hunting License Leases report 31 August 2005


Really what's the legitmate purpose of a canned hunt. Almost always the animal is drugged, why is that fair? Alot of the times the animal is on an endangered or threatned list. The owners give them up when they can no longer afford or take care of them. Owning an exotic, endangered or threatened should also be banned but that is for another day. I say NO to The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2005.

How anyone can call hunting a sport is beyond me. It's not a sport, it slaughter, plain and simple. A sport is when you have one or more active member on each side, on fair ground. Hunting doesn't fall in that category whatsoever. Say NO!!!

I hunted as a boy with my Dad in the woods of Maine for deer we then ate, which helped as I believed to thin the herds and was food for our table. These animals were not "bred", and were extremely hard to track. The very idea of breeding and "hunting" in a fenced in area is repugnent to me. It sounds like shooting someone's pets. This bill and the behavior surounding it are an embarrassment to hunters. Please do not pass this; or even consider it. [ Blog editor's note: Thank you for writing in. Deer herds can manage their own numbers, and there's no need to inflict violence on conscious beings to have food on the table. Hunting in any form is repugnant enough to be an embarrassment to us all. ]

I have a GREAT IDEA.........Let's start hunting humans for fun!!!!!!!!!!!!! Will see how funny that is!!!!!! LEAVE THE POOR ANIMALS ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! [ Blog editor's note: Let's just call the whole thing off. ;>) ]

On November 15, 2005, Lee Hall wrote: Message from Friends of Animals follows: U.S. residents, please encourage your legislators to Say NO to The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2005. Again, we OPPOSE the bill that will give big hunting ranches legitimacy. You can locate your Senators and ask them to OPPOSE THE BILL through or write to them at: The Honorable ____
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510 Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121

There's no 'sportsmanship' in hunting, period, let alone these ranches that promote hunting in enclosed areas. That's like shooting pickerel in a barrel. Sick.

as an avid anti-hunting person to begin with, i think the canned hunts are outrageous. why must men insist on killing those that have no defenses against the shooter and can't fight back?

Stop the canned hunts!!! This is not sportsmanship--just a disguise for the continued cruelty against our precious animals.

ARE YOU CRAZY????? This stuff should be illegal!!!!!! How DARE you!!!!!!!!!!!!! I mean what's the point of shooting exotic animals???? You soon they'll become extinct and you'll have a guilty conscience. Your fault! Maybe I'll have an online public protest... We'll see.

Canned hunting is cruel and inhumane, as is any type of hunting. We should learn how to coexist with our animal friends, rather than slaughter them.


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