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<div class="quote-block">Getting a trophy elk in Idaho: Point, shoot, pay<br><br><br><br>
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- When John Martone spotted the huge bull elk on a forested slope, he knew he was looking at an awesome trophy.<br><br><br><br>
Martone, an options trader from Seattle, brought down the animal with a 130-yard shot from a handgun. The bull's antlers were later measured at a whopping 374 and four-eighths points under the Safari Club International's scoring system.<br><br><br><br>
Skill and luck had their part in the hunt, Martone said. But so did money.<br><br><br><br>
He paid $8,000 to bag his trophy on the 1,200-acre Mountain View Elk Ranch, a private facility surrounded by a high fence where elk are bred to produce giant antlers and hunters are guaranteed the biggest elk they can afford.<br><br><br><br>
"We have a lot of people who are just tired of hunting on public land and all they see is wolf tracks," said Ken Walters, owner of the Ranch. "There's just too much competition out there and there aren't that many elk in the wild."<br><br><br><br>
Martone's adventure was part of a burgeoning industry in Idaho that draws hunters from across the country. But while some call it the hunt of a lifetime, others say stalking farm-raised elk it isn't quite sporting and doesn't deserve to be called hunting.<br><br><br><br>
Among hunting organizations, the Boone and Crockett Club condemns "the pursuit and killing of any big game animal kept in or released from captivity to be killed in an artificial or bogus `hunting' situation." Safari Club approves of canned hunts, as they are called, but frowns on hunting farms that guarantee a kill, saying that violates the principle of "fair chase" -- that is, a hunt in which the animal being pursued has a sporting chance to escape.<br><br><br><br>
The industry has also come under fire from those who fear the farm-raised elk could spread disease to wild herds. Last summer, up to 160 farm-raised elk escaped near Yellowstone National Park.<br><br><br><br>
About 15 Idaho elk farms allow hunting. The practice ranges from letting an individual elk go in a small patch of woods to be shot, to maintaining large, rugged enclosures where elk can be hard to find. Price charts tell hunters exactly how much a trophy will cost, with deals sometimes made right before the kill. Bull elk that tally a rare 400 points typically cost about $10,000.<br><br><br><br>
"What is fair chase?" said Ken Sedy, a retired deputy sheriff from Arlington, Wash., who paid $4,000 to shoot a bull that scored 298 points. "If you don't see a fence, it's just like hunting in the wild, but you're guaranteed to go home and eat elk meat."<br><br><br><br>
Backers of the enclosed elk hunting ranches cite private property rights in defense of their farms, and leave the fair chase ethics up to the hunter.<br><br><br><br>
"It's in the eye of the beholder," Walter said. "Why should I make the decision for someone else if they want to go get an elk in a five-acre pasture or in a 5,000-acre pasture?"<br><br><br><br>
Still, to retain customers, some elk farm operators are searching for the right balance between offering an authentic fair-chase hunting experience and making sure of a kill.<br><br><br><br>
In a hunt at a different ranch, Martone said, he was disgusted at having an elk essentially delivered into his cross hairs. "They let the animals go in a big yard, and that's the wrong way to do it," he said.<br><br><br><br>
His more recent hunt was different, he said, and he plans to return.<br><br><br><br>
"You have to hunt them down. You have to sneak up on them. It's traditional hunting," Martone said. "If you're not physically fit, you're going to have a hard time at it."<br><br><br><br>
Both Walters and Bill Rasmussen, who runs Idaho's Thunder Mountain Elk Ranch, release 40 to 60 elk, mostly bulls ranging from 1 to 9 years old, in the spring into rugged, forested terrain of about 1,000 acres. By fall, the elk have become skittish around people, they said, making it more challenging for hunters.<br><br><br><br>
"I've got a couple wild bulls that I doubt anybody will ever shoot," Walters said.<br><br><br><br>
In Idaho, domestic elk are not considered game by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, but instead are regulated as livestock by the Idaho Department of Agriculture. Thus, a hunter shooting a domestic elk is no different from "the mobile butcher shooting a cow when he comes to cut it up," said John Chatburn, who works in the division of animal industries in the Department of Agriculture.<br><br><br><br>
Idaho's canned-hunt industry took a hit in August when elk escaped from Rex Rammell's Chief Joseph hunting preserve near Rexburg. Idaho Gov. Jim Risch ordered the animals hunted down, saying they could spread inferior genes or disease to wild herds. Sharpshooters killed at least 36 of the escaped animals.<br><br><br><br>
After the escape, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer accused Idaho of jeopardizing Yellowstone's herds. Montana and Wyoming both ban elk-hunting ranches.<br><br><br><br>
Idaho's governor has asked state lawmakers to consider doing the same. That seems unlikely, given that in 2002 Idaho lawmakers voted to forgive $750,000 in fines the Idaho Department of Agriculture imposed on Rammell for not properly tagging his farm-bred elk.<br><br><br><br>
"Ultimately it's a social question," said Brad Compton, state big game manager for Fish and Game. "It's just what society wants to offer."</div>
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I posted the whole article because there is a picture of a dead elk on the page and I thought some people may be interested in the article but not want to see the picture.<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.cnn.com/2006/TRAVEL/12/26/idaho.elk.ap/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.cnn.com/2006/TRAVEL/12/26....ap/index.html</a><br><br>
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Some additional information: <a href="http://www.hsus.org/wildlife/stop_canned_hunts/" target="_blank">http://www.hsus.org/wildlife/stop_canned_hunts/</a>
 

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I just read this story in the news last night and I was horrified!!! I have no respect for people who go on canned hunts. Not that I am a fan of hunting in general, but if you have to pay to shoot a domesticated animal rather than going into the woods and doing it like everyone else, that's pretty pitiful. This should be against the law.
 

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I've known about these for years, and I don't find it any more shocking than the meat industry. It baffles me when I hear meat-eaters appalled when they first hear there's another way to hunt besides taking a gun into the woods. On NPR a few weeks ago, a comedian described how he intended to poke fun at Dick Cheney for letting a shot go astray, and then he decided to expose the canned hunting idea. He was in disbelief, he said, of releasing birds into the air just before they're shot down. It seemed incredibly ironic for an animal's first gasp at freedom to be the moment before it dies, he noted.<br><br><br><br>
That's a lot more than many factory farmed animals get, and I bet he eats those regularly. Oh well, he may eventually realize this.<br><br><br><br>
Maybe it's just because I live near so many hunters: I already know this stuff. And, my great-aunt is married to a man who owns a canned hunt farm in Pennsylvania. I've never met him or been there.<br><br><br><br>
Fair chase? Since when did anything involving a firearm for only one of the parties qualify as "fair"? It would be closer to fair if the hunters had just slingshots and spears.
 

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*shakes head* that's so horrible... I agree, it's just like factory farming, but it's still horrifying and pitiful. I dislike hunting, but honestly! If someone wants to go hunting, the tracking and finding the doomed animal should all be part of the hunt. Hunting, doesn't that mean something similar to looking? The shooting of the animal should be the least of the idea, and the searching for the animal the main idea.<br><br>
*sigh* when are people going to stop this madness<br><br>
jmo
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">...there aren't that many elk in the wild. ...</div>
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From hsus link
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">...no federal law bans canned hunting, and the majority of states allow it. The regulations implementing the federal Animal Welfare Act do not apply to game preserves, hunting preserves, and canned hunts. Although the Endangered Species Act protects animals listed as endangered or threatened, the Fish and Wildlife Service does not prohibit private ownership of these animals and <b>even allows the canned hunting of endangered species</b>. ...</div>
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I don't know how many times I've heard hunting advocates claim that they are doing a good thing by preventing overpopulation. What a bunch of bull****. These canned hunters are only in it for the blood.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">...That seems unlikely, given that in 2002 Idaho lawmakers voted to forgive $750,000 in fines the Idaho Department of Agriculture imposed on Rammell for not properly tagging his farm-bred elk. ...</div>
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<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/thumbsdown.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":down:"> Why have laws and regulations if we don't enforce them. It would be interesting to find out if Rammell made any "contributions" to causes supported by those lawmakers.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/lipsrsealed2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":sealed:"><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>skylark</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
...Fair chase? Since when did anything involving a firearm for only one of the parties qualify as "fair"? It would be closer to fair if the hunters had just slingshots and spears.</div>
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It would be even closer to fair if we could train the elk to shoot a gun!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sneaky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":shifty:"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/evil.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":evil:">
 
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