"Canned-Hunt" Bill to be even weaker than before

Well it looks like the Idaho legislature is watering down the already weak legislation which would regulate canned elk-hunting operations.  A proposed amendment would require ranchers to “knowingly” violate state law before the state could revoke their license.  Read the Statesman’s article… 

FYI: Pocatello 12 Public TV produced a video entitled “Threat to Idaho Wildlife: Game Farms” awhile back.  As a matter of disclosure – as the title suggests, the video does NOT claim to represent the pro end of this – but it’s an interesting discussion which represents some of the concern I thought some people might be interest inThe online version is available here. 30 min.






  1. kt Avatar

    All you gotta do is look at WHO is involved in the elk farming, antler-in-velvet sawing, and canned hunt operations in Idaho to understand that the resistance to any real control often stems directly from the public lands rancher-Butch Otter anti-regulation Good Old Boys network – the same ones that will control the slaughter of wolves.

    A big lobbyist for Canned Elk is Stan Boyd, who has been a long-time lobbyist for the Cattlemen and Woolgrower’s, and whose name is on the 2002 Idaho Wolf Management Plan that FWS is soooo fond of.

    Here is a Webpage dated 2001:


    “The Idaho Cattlesman s Association, The Wool Growers Association, The Farm Bureau, The Department of Agriculture and Commissioner Moulton [ now there was a distinguished IDFG Commissioner – he was the guy whose neighbors complained about his shooting coyotes on their property from an ultralight plane, if I recall – and he was also the fellow who got pinched for snowmobiling in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area] …. Our special thanks to Stan Boyd, our Lobbyist who made sure that the Cattleman, Wool Growers and Farm Bureau were completely on our side during this meeting.”.

    AND it looks like the Canned Elk folks may have, shall we say, paid money to get the cowboys support:

    “As a token of our gratitude for their support the Board of Directors have approved a MODEST DONATION donation to the Cattleman s Association Legal Foundation to express our appreciation”.

    I wonder how much more moolah has continued to change hands.

    And while you’re at the site, click on the home page to get images of bucolic elk ranching splendor …

  2. Eric T. Avatar
    Eric T.

    If they want to raise elk for the purpose of marketing the meat and or\velvet antlers so be it. Remember that removal of velvet antlers is not lethal.

    Fenced\canned hunts are another matter which do not belong in Idaho.

  3. Wolfen Avatar

    Sooooo………..what right do you all have to say that canned elk hunting is not right or does not belong in Idaho? As long as the owner keeps his animals in excellent shape, out of contact with wild game so cross contamination of diseases do not happen, then he has as much right as you or I to run and operate a legitimate business.

    Personally, I do not care for or will support the fenced elk business. It is much more challenging and rewarding to hunt and stalk wild game in their own environment. However, if people are willing to pay for this type of business and the business obeys all laws that regulate that business then I do not see nothing wrong with it.

  4. Alan Gregory Avatar

    Canned hunting “farms” have no place in Idaho or Pennsylvania or anywhere else. Canned hunting, for elk, deer, hogs, whatever, is telling the non-hunting public that hunters just don’t care about fair-chase.

  5. Bruce Boxall Avatar
    Bruce Boxall

    Unless you have to hunt in order to survive–the killing is for sport/fun. Nice hobby these guys have huh…

  6. Layton Avatar


    What’s your definition of “hunt to survive”?

    Does it mean that what you kill is the ONLY thing that you have to eat – or does it mean that it is PART of what you eat??

    Are you a vegetarian? I mean a real one, no eggs, no dairy, no leather?? If you are, you have a legitimate viewpoint – not one that I personally agree with, but a legitimate one never the less.

    On the other hand, if you eat meat, and you have a problem with me killing my own — you are just another hypocrite that wants to sound off.


  7. Steve Avatar

    Whats next? Chaining elk to a tree to make them easier to shoot?

  8. Layton Avatar

    Just by the way, don’t take my comment up above to mean that I in any way agree with, like, understand or can even tolerate “shooter” operations — that is NOT hunting.


  9. Mike Post Avatar
    Mike Post

    You folks just dont get it. There are very legitimate issues of hunting ethics, genetic contamination and disease control related to game farming. When you turn a discussion like this into a pro-hunting/anti-hunting diatribe then you play into the hands of those who want to paint anyone who disagrees with game farming or wolf control as nut cases. Ralph runs a great balanced web site that needs more thoughtful debate if there is any hope for the abused wildlife under discussion.

  10. Bruce Boxall Avatar
    Bruce Boxall

    A friend of mine makes $150 K a year, yet he goes hunting for the food he says. I guess he has to put food on this families table somehow-LOL

  11. John Avatar

    Bruce, Mabey your friend enjoys the quality of the meat untainted by steriods and other growth hormones. Elk is some of the leanest protein out there and has a great flavor that brings high dollar at some of new yorks finest restaurants.
    These operations are anything but hunting, They are shooter operations,” Livestock shoots”. They can scarely be considered Hunting and I’m affended anytime they are refered to as hunting. I think there are considerable risks to their wild cousins by the current management and am disapointed that after the whole Rex Rammel fiasco that this legislation is soooooooooooo weak. I can tell you hunters are just as upset by there penned shoots, 99% of Hunters find them abhorant.

  12. kt Avatar

    Mike Post raises the very real issues here. Besides CWD – Look at the potential for an endless array of problems and ready transmission to wildlife.

    Idaho the dairy CAFOs, beef feedlots (just a couple of weeks ago when I drove by the Simplot feedlot near Grand View there were black and white dairy breed cows standing on the dirt and dung mounds) and linked public lands livestock industry (nearly all cows raised on public lands end up in these feedlots) fiercely resist controls. Idaho is becoming a dumping ground for dairies and CAFOS that aren’t willing to comply with regulations elsewhere. So now we have a potential breeding ground for many antibiotic-restistant super-bugs. The info I earlier Linked to shows that the elk industry is in bed with the livestock industry in Idaho – that’s why the Legislature refuses to act. Farmed Elk “ranchers” people gave the Cattlemen what sounds to me like, for all intents and purposes, a bribe to clear the way of cow industry resistance for what are essentially becoming elk CAFOs.

    And look at where this all is heading:

    Towards Ebola-land! For us, elk feedlots and wild creatures, too.

  13. Layton Avatar

    Soooooooo, the guy from Canada says something to the effect that “The greater the concentration, the greater the potential for a serious outbreak, You’re sitting on a bomb right now” and all of a sudden it’s fact!!!

    KT, I wish that you would listen to the “anecdotal” evidence that some of us less enthusiastic about the current status of the wolf vs. elk controversy have to say like you listen to this guy. He cites a LOT less evidence than we do.

    The sky is falling — run and tell the king!!


  14. be Avatar

    greater concentration of animals leads to greater disease spread/outbreak. it doesn’t take a biologist/scientist to tell you that (though KT provides such). There’s more exposure combined with the operator keeping these animals alive (and thus the disease alive) artificially whereas in the wild diseased animals are more likely to perish due to any number of factors – by the way, wolves are supposed to be one of them – this elimates another source for further outbreak and keeps the herds overall healthy –

    Nobody’s making any real money on the meat, it’s the racks, and in my home/family the rack on my family’s wall has a story of the scouting, the hunt/stalk, and always the wildbehind it.

  15. tig Avatar

    Wolves get exposed to and survive mega transmissible diseases and don’t perish. Large percentages of wolves are seropositive to CPV (parvo) and CDV (distemper) — diseases that normally kill domestic dogs unless they received rapid and intense veterinary care. Here’s one abstract below of a 16-year study in Alaska/Yukon, and if you check out the coyotes in Yellowstone and anywhere else these canids are studied, they’re highly seropositive, meaning, as I understand it, that they survived exposure. With ICH (canine hepatitis), the seropositive wolves/coyotes become carriers and can transmit even after the acute phase of the disease. Check it out:

    TERRITORY, 1984–2000
    Randall L. Zarnke,1,2 Jay M. Ver Hoef,1 and Robert A. DeLong1
    1 Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 1300 College Road, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701-1599, USA
    2 Corresponding author (email: itrap2@acsalaska.net)
    ABSTRACT: Wolves (Canis lupus) were captured in several geographic areas of Alaska (USA) and
    the Yukon Territory (Canada) during 1984–2000. Blood was collected from 1,122 animals. Sera
    were tested for antibodies against infectious canine hepatitis virus (ICH), canine distemper virus
    (CDV), canine parvovirus (CPV), Francisella tularensis, and serovars of Leptospira interrogans.
    Antibody prevalence for ICH was .84% for all areas. Area-specific prevalences of antibodies
    ranged from 12% to 70% for CPV, from 0% to 41% for CDV, and from 4% to 21% for F.
    tularensis. There was no evidence of CDV exposure at the two southernmost locations in Alaska.
    Prevalence of antibodies for ICH increased slightly during the 16-yr course of the survey. There
    was essentially no evidence of exposure to L. interrogans. Prevalences of antibodies for both CPV
    and CDV were age-specific, with higher values in the adult cohort compared with the pup cohort.
    There were no sex-specific differences in prevalence of antibodies for any of the five disease
    Key words: Alaska, infectious disease, serologic survey, wolf, Yukon Territory.

    The abstract says nothing about about a “carrier” state, only about exposure and/or one-time infection that did not kill. Ralph Maughan

  16. Wolfen Avatar

    If you live in any city then “The greater the concentration, the greater the potential for a serious outbreak,” for any disease. Once again, kt has shown us all that the cattle industry, whether it is beef or dairy will eventually kill us all. Here is why as these have been posted on this site.

    1. Cattle are the #1 cause of methane gas and therefore global warming.

    This I do not believe as there are other evidence otherwise.

    2. Cattle are destroying all the public land habitat so there
    are not nearly as many wildlife as the public lands could sustain.

    True to an extent but public land management is better than what it use to be.

    3. Cattle are destroying our fisheries since they muck up the stream beds, kill off all the riparian vegetation and killing off all the fish.

    True to an extent but public land management is better than what it use to be. Many of the public lands are now fencing off riparian areas.

    4. Cattle with brucellosis and cwd infected elk, deer, and buffalo.

    kt will say this is true but I have not seen the evidence.

    5. Cattle are responsible for not only less deer, elk, and buffalo but now, for less wolves.

    This depends on how you view wildlife management.

    5. Now kt’s most outrageous prediction. Cattle are destroying the human race as they are the next cause of ebola and other dangerous diseases.

    Totally ridiculous doomsday stuff!

    I do not get caught up in all this “stuff” presented by supposed global warming scientists or canadian scientist about cattle. For one, the climate has gone through many ‘global warming’ periods since the last ice age. This is just another period in time and not the end of the world. Cattle will not cause ebola or other related diseases. If large concentrations of cattle will do this then these diseases would have occurred decades ago. Since when, all of a sudden, did we just get a large concentration of animals in one place. Feedlots have been around for decades and some of these feedlots hold 100,000 cattle or more. For all the kts and like I just want to say Wake Up and face reality and not some futuristic epidemic that someone is predictilng.

  17. kt Avatar

    Well, wolfen you can live – or get sick – in feigned ignorance all you want. It seems that is the primary goal. Ignorance for ignorance’s sake. The problem is, your ignorance may make us all sick..

    I wonder, if one Googles CAFO and health benefits, how many “hits” you will get compared to CAFO and disease.

    At a very easy to understand level:

    http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/health/ This lays it out, very simply. Hundreds of others do the same.

  18. be Avatar

    5 – large concentrations of cattle necessitate large doses of antibiotic & other microbial mitigants – the conditions cattle live in are disgusting in that respect – when you dose a community of microbes you can’t ever eliminate 100% of the target – uless you want to harm the host – let’s say 1% survive. That 1% is resistant to the antibiotic you used before – it propogates/proliferates and now you are forced to use a different/stronger mitigant/antibiotic. 1% of that population survives and you need to use stronger and stronger doses or formulations to prevent infection of ever emboldened populations of bacteria/microbes. Cattle don’t complain about the side-effects of these doses the way humans do which means that you can use relatively VERY strong doses – which they are now. Eventually you create a microbe which is resistant to SO many mitigants that you find yourself in a race – a race between the ability to develope mitigants and the ability of resistant strains to evolve ever emboldened abilities to resist. This competition is dangerous because when an emboldened strain developes an ability/exposure to infect a human – and we have exhausted all mitigants in order to maintain that rock-bottom price on a T-bone – then, and only then will we admit that perhaps we should have been more cautious – perhaps the price now wasn’t worth the cost then.

  19. be Avatar

    1. believe it or not – read the report, or better yet an article on the report that summarizes the issue. Livestock, as viewed with respect to its whole commodity chain, contributes to massive deforestation (i.e. look at Brazil – those forests fix the carbon and keep it out of our atmosphere), contribute mass amounts of methane to the atmosphere (enteric fermentation – a process of digestion unique to ungulates and extreme in cattle – is radically innefficient if carbon waste is hoped to be mitigated) – then there’s the transport of the beef (beef is heavy = lotta fuel used) all over the country. etc. etc.

  20. Michelle Avatar

    This thread certainly seemed to have strayed from the original topic, although on second look, I see that it really has not. America is slowing and painfully waking up to some very hard truths. We, as a society, like to have our meat with every meal, and have turned a blind eye to HOW that meat came to be on our table, as long as it is plentiful and cheap. This I know, because I just recently have really had to change the way that I look at food, and where it comes from. I really wanted to believe that cattle and other livestock were cared for in much the way the had been in my grandparents’ era: where they were protected from predators, honored, and humanely treated and harvested. I didn’t want to be ‘enlightened’, and educated to the FACT that the majority of the meats we can buy at the supermarket are from factory farms; where the animals live in horridenous conditions, are pumped full of foods that make them sick (but sure fatten them up quickly), are living in their own filth, pumped full of antibiotics and steroids so they can live just a little bit longer and get fatter, then often rushed through a rendering (butcher) plant so quickly that many are still alive,and awarw, when parts of themselves are getting cut off. I can’t lie to myself or refuse to see any longer … as a result, I choose to spend my dollar consciously, and will not support that industry. I am still a meat eater, but only organically grown and free-range, not cheap and convenient. More than willing to pay more and support and industry that treats animals humanely. It helps that the meat tastes a heck of alot better, too.

    This is what elk farms are trying to do, in a small way, but still could be the first step. Bringing a herd of elk together, fence them in, and make it easy and convenient for a ‘hunter’ to come on in and get one. Great bragging rights, that. So what if some of the elk get a little sick… we’ll just give ’em a shot. So what if they cannot roam and feed on a variety of plants… we’ll just feed ’em something cheap that will fatten them up nice and quick. So what if all the fat (marbling) is bad for people who eat it… we’ll just put together a really nice marketing campain to convince them that it’s really good. So what if they’ll only live a few years… must be alot better than living out in that big, bad, scary wild.

    Knowledge is painful, it can rock us down to our very core. It can make us realize that things we truly believed to be true (given the information we had at the time) are not.

  21. tig Avatar

    I don’t think the steroid or antibiotic part causes pain to the animals. As long as the elk have grazing space, do they really care what they eat? How did your grandparents used to protect the animals from predators?

    How long does an elk live in the wild? I don’t think many of them die of old age. And what’s the difference between shooting a cow in the head with a slug and shooting an elk? Shooting is a lot more quick and humane than the way a predator takes down an elk. The following excerpt is from the Outdoorsman, June/July 2004, article by George Dovel, “Tell It Like It Is”:

    Wildlife research biologists Gese and Grothe recently published “Analysis of Coyote Predation on Deer and Elk During Winter in Yellowstone National Park” which dispelled some of the long-standing myths.

    From 1991-93 they observed and recorded eight attacks by coyotes on elk in Yellowstone. Five of the eight initial attacks were successful and all involved at least two coyotes.

    Of the two elk cows and three calves the coyotes killed, only the killing of an old cow might be classified as”compensatory”. The average elapsed time from initial attack to presumed death in four of the five incidents was 32.5 minutes, with coyotes spending most of that time feeding on each downed elk while it was still alive.

    On two occasions, I have observed coyotes eating mule deer that were still alive. At other times I have seen evidence of typical coyote kills of deer with blood and stomach contents strewn along a trail in the snow.

    Mule deer fawn killed by lone coyote biting its flanks for 50 yards until it could no longer get back up.

    Wolves Use Similar Techniques

    Famous Alaska wolf trappers Oscar Vogel and Frank Glaser both described wolves’ technique of running and slashing at the soft places on a moose until even the healthiest moose finally succumbs. Both also mentioned wolves ripping open a moose’s soft flank or underbelly so the animal steps on its intestines as it tries to escape.

    Each mentioned finding injured moose on several occasions where wolves had torn out an eye, bit off a tongue, etc. until the moose went down. Then the wolf would eat 25 or 30 pounds of leg muscle and depart when its hunger was satisfied.

  22. Jay Avatar

    There may be hope–I’ve heard of a wildlife research lab that’s working on teaching wolves and coyotes to use guns to kill their prey in a “humane” fashion. The one roadblock they’re encountering is the whole opposable thumb issue…

    Your description of wolves/coyotes killing prey remind me of a story I read a few years back of some guys over in Wyoming that were arrested for some good, clean fun: they were using their ATV’s to run antelope to exaustion and then running them over. But you can’t really compare the two, because they were doing it for fun, and wolves/coyotes do it because they are hungry.

  23. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    what’s your point?

  24. tig Avatar

    There are many points. However, I was responding to Michelle about romanticizing nature and ancestors, and being concerned about humaneness. (BTW, the guys in Wyoming were ARRESTED because they were breaking the laws in place to protect animals from that kind of thing,what does fun versus food have to do with it?)

    I don’t think canned farms are a very good idea because I defer to the scientists who say farming wildlife is a lot different than farming domestic animals from the disease point of view. And the system in place in North America works pretty well. But as far as humaneness goes, it’s probably more humane for the elk if loser hunters get to hunt elk on farms. If they injure the animal, at least it’s easier to find and put out of its misery.

  25. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Wolves find wounded deer and elk and put them down.

    If you will, wolves are a humane adjunct to the human hunt. I think that’s one reason why wolves outside Yellowstone Park have done so well — lots of nutrition in the fall from wounded animals and gut piles.

    The life of an Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming wolf is easy outside Yellowstone Park compared to inside it!!

    It’s time people think about that.

    Coyotes are much less effective predators than wolves on larger animals. They are more likely to wound them.

    We have been selecting in a Darwinian sense in favor of coyotes for over a hundred years. We have done so unintentionally, but very effectively.

  26. Michelle Avatar

    I didn’t realize that I had been romanticizing, but in looking back at the post, I can see how it could have been read that way. Instead, I was trying to point out that many people either do not know (or do not want to know) where their food comes from. We want to believe that we are doing these cows and other livestock a favor, when instead we are forcing them to live and die in horrible conditions. Even if you truly do not care about the animals, or the environment, and only care about the meat, I would think that one would at least care about the quality of that meat. And, the quality of meat coming from these factory farms is abyssmal.

    Cattle did not start as domestic livestock, it is simply what we have bred them to be over countless generations. If elk were to become domestic livestock, what is to keep them from ending up in the same place as cattle in the future?

    And before someone infers this: I am not against farming or ranching. I fully support farms and ranches that are managed with a eye towards the future; which to me means leaving it better than you found it.

  27. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The ancestors of cattle are gone. The cow is a completely artificial animal. We don’t want that to happen to elk.

    Hopefully future breeding will reduce the sensitivity of cattle to pain and boredom, because the future is life in a CAFO.

    A few impressive breeds of cattle; those that are worthy of respect, like Texas longhorn could be maintained as a showcase of the time before industrial agriculture.

  28. Jay Avatar

    Tig, the point is there is no inhumanity in wolves or coyotes killing a deer, because they are doing it for survival–there’s no alternative to killing, and when you haven’t eaten for several days, its understandable that getting some food in your gut takes precedence over making sure your dinner is dead. The difference between nature and people is that nature is indifferent to suffering, whereas some people (not all, mind you) seem to actually take joy from the suffering they inflict.

  29. elkhunter Avatar

    I would never hunt a pen-raised animal. My neighbor shot one, it is impressive, but I dont think it is hunting. And the thrill of the chase is the funnest part. After you kill one, the work starts. I agree they should be kept away from wild game. But I agree with Layton people should not think that all hunters hunt pen-raised game, some people might but it is ignorant to think that all hunters do.


  30. Wolfen Avatar


    Cattle are no more artificial today as compared to the 1800s as wolves are today from their original ancestery. I know many folks who have cattle and many are the purebreds which implies that they are of original lineage back to their early ancestry.

    If the cattle are completely artificial as you state then their is no reason why the wolf today is not a completely artificial animal. From other threads I have read their are those who believe that the wolf today is a much larger animal than 100-years ago so I guess I have to then believe the wolf is artificial. I do not know about most of you but I buy my beef from a local rancher without the antibotics and growth hormones. Is this what you mean by artificial?

    I guess I didn’t make my point clear. The progenitor of all cows is extinct. What were they? The cow of a hundred years ago or 300 years ago was a completely human bred animal — artificial in that sense. Domestic elk have, so far, been little bred into something else. Ralph

  31. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    simple fact of the matter is that all animals that we humans utilize for what ever reason started out as “wild”. Probably the biggest difference is how long it has been that humans started to utilize a given species. While I would never go on a canned hunt, (I have a cousin that runs one in Utah near Moon Lake), because I don’t hunt simply to shoot the biggest set of horns around which I believe is the primary reason that those type of operations exist at all. On the other hand, utilizing a species for food production is a horse of a different color and it may be that that point should be made clear. And I emphatically disagree with the practices of modern husbandry as practiced In the “civilized” world today.

  32. tig Avatar

    On the Darwinian theme, does anyone think it could be possible that relaxed predator control and reintroduction of wolves could “select” for these bad factory farms? I am asking this because I have read somewhere that predation can actually profit cattle ranchers (though not other ranchers) because the price of calf meat goes up, but that it can also put smaller mom and pop type ranchers out of business completely. It’s off topic, but responding to Michelle’s comment, again … I’m just curious if anyone knows more about this.

  33. Wolfen Avatar

    Predation does not profit cattle ranchers. When cattle are killed by predators such as the wolf the livestock owner may be compensated for the kill, whether it is probable or real. However, they are not compensated any more than they would receive for the price of calves at fall prices. I have known ranchers who have received full compensation and others who claim that they only received partial compensation.

    Supply and Demand drive the market for cattle prices. When demand is low, the price decreases. When supply is high the price generally decreases. It is all based on simple economics. Cattle ranchers, however, generally do not profit from what supply and demand in the grocery store commands.

  34. be Avatar

    predation does not account for anywhere near the numbers to influence the market – that’s one of the myths about wolves – that they threaten the livestock industry… oh no, large corporate agribusiness has both hands fully and effectively on the market – simplot controls supply & demand, and the commodities necessary for production to an anti-free-market extent, much more to the dismay of the family rancher or the independent than any number of wolves could ever affect – even if the mythical folklores were marginally true –

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Brian Ertz