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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


I hate hunters! I believe that hunting is a legal outet for sociopathic behavior. These people have no feeling or remorse when they kill; they enjoy it. And there sole purpose for killing is for the enjoyment aspect. They have no respect for life nor do they possess the intellectual capacity to understand the gravity of their actions. We need to break the cycle of this behavior by changing laws so that our animal brothers and sisters are protected from these monsters. So I say NO to the bill (of course).

We strongly oppose the Sportsmanship in Hunting Act 0f 2005 as it would put endangered species at risk and because it flies in the face of the tradition of "fair chase". Hunters don't need more "bad press!" Blog editor's note: There's no such thing as fair chase, and hunted animals are, of course, unarmed. We believe that human hunters are deserving of much more bad press. Their apologists at federal and state wildlife agencies champion the dominator mentality, and frame their hunter-client's acts of violence as civic-minded acts that benefit both humans and nonhuman animals -- when these animals are blown to pieces.

I am a huter and have never taken part of a canned hunt and never met any one who has. Can you explain what you mean buy a canned hunt. I know of no sportsman that has any game in a cage or can as you put it lets it out and shoots it as it comes up to be petted. Now if you think that 15,000 acres is a canned hunt then I think it is time for you to go to the adirondak park and take a 3 mile hike off the posted trail into the wild forest then come back and respond to how many animals you see. I look forward to hearing from you if you find your way back. Buy the way, in the past I have been a supporter of friends of animals for there work with the spay and neuter clinics (which whether you would like to belive it or not is under your concept of letting animals live there lives is humane animal contrl)but not any more.Maybe its time to neuter you [ Blog editors' note: Hello, Francis. Thanks for reading and writing in. Some of the Friends of Animals folks might indeed be neutered but it would be intrusive to poll everyone. In any case we are concerned about the population of domestic animals - including the prolific Homo sapiens who's doing all the domesticating. Thank you for having been a supporter of our neuter work; it's sincerely appreciated. As for going out and controlling the populations of free-living communities (bear, deer, goose, and so forth) so that their numbers are just as high or low as we like them to be to suit our convenience, we aren't in support of that. Canned hunts using endangered species are problematic for reasons in addition to the domination and intimidation factor. For example, we North Americans will (rightly) be upset if someone is killing the same animals in Africa as they hold out as trophies here. Yet U.S. ranchers would like to call it a legitimate business -- even call it conservation. There's a striking void in logic and strikingly inconsistent thinking going on there. One could, and we do, call it flagrantly hypocitical. We aren't in the business of defining a canned hunt by acreage (that's one reason we don't support the bill). Any enclosure, though, or any private captivity, has traditionally attracted the label of canned hunt. Yes, some of these antelopes at these huge ranches will just run up to be fed. In Texas, people can stop and buy food for the antelopes and they are used to being fed by visitors. So they become relatively tame.]

I cannot understand who ever said humans were superior to anyone or any other living thing. What gives anyone the right to kill anything that shares this earth with us!

All hunting is cruel and inhumane but canned hunting is the worst.

Why continue this silly stupid slaughter of innocent wildlife. This act of macho manly hunting has to stop. This isn't hunting, this is outright murder.

The hypocrisy in this country is unbelievable on so many levels. 'Sportsmanship' has nothing to do with these butchers. It is a vain pastime for the chronically unimaginative population with too much money on their hands. The same precision and persistence which they use to hunt these poor, beautiful animals, should be put to positive use, in preserving the populations of the magnificent inhabitants of our planet. The trophies these people should be taking home, is not a mounted head, but a plaque that reads 'In honor of (name), whose integrity, dedication and humanity has helped to conserve our planet and its inhabitants..' or something along those lines. That would be a trophy to be proud of.

This is asking you to say NO to the sportsmanship hunting act of 2005. This has got to be stopped!!!! Thank you

Hunting is not a sport -- it's plain and simply killing. Canned hunting is unconscionable and despicable. If you want to feel really macho and good about yourself, try an act of kindness.

Canned hunts are barbaric and not 'sporting' at all. We will never become a truly civilized nation as long as canned hunts take place on our soil. I urge you to end this unfair practice and restrict your shooting to target ranges.


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