Canned Hunting in Texas: The Unfair Chase
Captive hunting operations—also referred to as “shooting preserves,” “canned hunts,” or “game ranches”—are private trophy hunting facilities that offer their customers the opportunity to kill exotic and native animals trapped within enclosures. The animals killed in captive hunts may come from private breeders, animal dealers, circuses or even roadside zoos. These animals are frequently hand-raised and bottle-fed, so they have lost their natural fear of people. In many facilities, the animals expect to be fed at regular times—a setup that guarantees a kill for trophy hunters. The HSUS estimates that there are more than a thousand captive hunting operations across the country. Approximately five hundred of these operations are in Texas alone. The industry claims to be motivated by conservation goals, but with few laws governing these operations, the animal cruelty, disease spread, and the senseless killing of endangered species—and even species extirpated in the wild—tell a different story.
Samantha Hagio is a Director in the Wildlife Protection department at the Humane Society of the United States, and manages the team working to fight against the trophy hunting of native carnivores (bears, bobcats, mountain lions, and wolves) and canned hunting in the U.S. She has been with the organization for over eleven years and has worked on multiple campaigns to both defend against harmful policies for wildlife and proactively fight against trophy hunting. She holds a J.D. from Stetson University College of Law and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Tampa.