February 3, 2023

Pennsylvania Will Consider Ban on Preserve Hunting

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A bill is pending in the Pennsylvania House that would effectively ban all preserve hunting in that state. It is sponsored by Rep. Mark Corrigan (D) Bucks, is being supported by the Humane Society of the United States and Fund for Animals and is targeted toward a family hunting preserve owned by the Gee family. This is not the first time the Gee family has come under attack.

A public meeting is scheduled in Towanda Thursday and will be hosted by the House Game and Fisheries Committee. More on this can be found here.

The bill’s sponsor Corrigan makes this point:

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mark Corrigan, D-Bucks, argues canned hunts are “unsporting, cruel and tarnish the image of all hunters.”

And a representative of HSUS had this remark.

“Canned hunting is a cruel and unethical practice,” said Humane Society spokeswoman Heidi Prescott. “It is about as sporting as shooting a puppy in a pet store window.”

Michael Gee, owner of the Gee family preserve countered with the following:

Gee claims Corrigan and others are using distortion and “extreme examples” to turn public opinion against preserves like his and bolster the animal rights movement.

“It wouldn’t be an issue at all if it weren’t for these animal rights groups,” Gee said of preserve hunting. “It just seems to be another stepping stone for them.”

In cases of hunting preserves, I will agree that there has been and probably still are hunting preserves that should not be considered as such. To lump all hunting preserves into one category is wrong just as it would be wrong to say that all motels across this country are the same and all farms are the same, etc.

I personally wouldn’t choose to hunt on a preserve for a couple of reasons. One, I couldn’t afford it and two, I remain skeptical about the overall experience mainly because I’m ignorant of good hunting preserves and how they are set up and are operated.

Like with anything it is unfortunate that some poorly run hunting preserves have had a real negative influence on the business.

Hunting preserves are a difficult thing to regulate because it is not clear who the entity should be to do so. It is mostly between wildlife and argriculture. As much as I dislike government interference, there has to be some minimum standards to guide hunt preserves and game farms. The main issues I can see would be finding a minimum size requirement based on number of animals and treatment of the animals.

I have said before that I believe that ultimately hunt preserves will be a mainstay for the industry as more and more land is shut down, development continues on the path it is and the demands of the public forcing it there.

What I do find interesting though is how that our politicians and in particular those who sit on fish and game committees, will sponsor bills to ban preserve hunting because they consider it canned hunting but will actively seek public money and support to create canned fishing – i.e. stocking fish from fish farms. Isn’t this a double standard?

As some of you may already know I am not a big supporter of fish stocking for many reasons but the argument can be made that what is acceptible for one should be for the other.

Hunting preserves serve their purpose and if run properly, I believe there can be a maximized fair chase and a decent ethical hunt. As much as I don’t want to say this, we better work now to make the business as good as it can be because it may very well be the way of the future.

Tom Remington