KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Hunters across the metro spend countless hours, months, even years in deer blinds or tree stands waiting for the chance to bag a trophy animal. Others order an animal online shoot it at close range and then proudly hang it on the wall. This practice is called “canned hunting.”
“It's not hunting that's the way I look at it. It's killing but not hunting, it's a business for the guys that are doing it and there's a market for it. It's nothing I ever do,” said sportsman Mickey Holloway.
Holloway isn't too fond of canned hunting, but plenty of folks are. The U.S. Humane Society says there are over 1,000 canned hunting operations spanning 28 states, including Kansas and Missouri.
There are no federal laws governing the hunts in the United States. Video from the U.S. Humane Society shows animals shows animals getting murdered for a mount. Here's the deal, the animals in these hunts are human raised, hand-fed, then trapped in a fence and shot a close range. It’s a guaranteed kill for cash and lots of it. Thousands for deer and even tens of thousands for exotic animals.
The practice is not in Missouri Representative Jeremy LaFaver’s sights either.
“I think active sportsmen, the vast majority of active sportsmen know that hunting is much more than ordering an animal in a pen and killing it,” said Rep. LaFaver.
“A hunt includes fair chase where it's seasonal and there's respect of the animals environment and sort of thing.”
Holloway agrees; he runs a fair chase hunting operation west of Topeka and says animals have free reign on his land. Holloway says most hunters look down on canned hunts because he says it's like shooting a neighbor's cow.
Big sporting groups, including Boone and Crockett agree, so much so, they don't recognize kills in record books. The way the animals are sometimes killed also gets Holloway fired up.
“To make him suffer just to avoid making holes in the hide it's wrong it's not ethical,” Holloway said.
Another issue in the cross hairs is disease, specifically chronic wasting disease, it can be spread from captive herds to free herds. From vantage points like one along a trail with cameras, Holloway can monitor his deer population.
“These genetically modified mutant deer would get out and infect our wild heard and would be devastating for wildlife throughput the state,” Rep. LaFaver said.
Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk, and moose, similar to mad cow disease. Rep. LaFaver says big money groups were trying to re-classify captive deer and put them under the Department of Agriculture, which would have considerably eased restrictions. He says Governor Jay Nixon shot that down with a veto.
Holloway says the hunts aren't subject to game laws, and he isn't sure if legislation is the answer. He just wants to be assured the animals on his land are protected from disease and wishes canned hunting would be re-named.
FOX 4 contacted three so-called canned hunting operations in Missouri and two in Kansas. All denied our requests for interviews.