Library Index » Science Encyclopedia » Wildlife as Recreation - National Survey Of Fishing, Hunting, And Wildlife-associated Recreation, Ecotourism, Birding, Whale Watching

Wildlife as Recreation - Canned Hunting

total percent participants observers

In the 1980s a controversial form of hunting known as "canned hunting" swept the United States. Originating in Texas, canned hunting now occurs in most states.

In a canned hunt, the hunter pays a set fee and steps onto private property where an animal—most often a boar, ram, bear, lion, tiger, zebra, buffalo, rhinoceros, or antelope—is confined. The hunter then kills the animal with the weapon of his or her choice. The animals are easily cornered—some have been domesticated or raised in facilities where they've become friendly to humans. A 1994 Humane Society investigation found that there may be several thousand canned-hunting facilities in the United States.

There are no federal laws restricting canned hunts. A 2001 survey by Laura J. Ireland revealed that only California, Delaware, Georgia, Montana, New York, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Wyoming had laws prohibiting or regulating canned hunts of exotic species or big game mammals. Zoos frequently sell "surplus" animals either directly to canned-hunt facilities or to dealers who then sell animals at auctions attended by canned-hunt organizers. Some pressure has been exerted on zoos to acknowledge their responsibility for the animals they discard.

TABLE 11.1
Nonresidential (away from home) wildlife-watching participants by wildlife observed, photographed, or fed and place, 2001
(Population 16 years old and older. Numbers in thousands)

Participation by place
Total participants Total In state of residence In other states
Wildlife observed, photographed, or fed Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Total, all wildlife 21,823 100 21,823 100 18,041 83 6,570 30
Total birds 18,580 85 18,580 100 16,150 87 5,855 32
Songbirds 12,878 59 12,878 100 11,182 87 3,860 30
Birds of prey 12,495 57 12,495 100 10,596 85 4,060 32
Waterfowl 14,432 66 14,432 100 12,384 86 4,258 30
Other water birds (shorebirds, herons, pelicans, etc.) 10,314 47 10,314 100 8,474 82 3,229 31
Other birds (pheasants, turkeys, road runners, etc.) 7,907 36 7,907 100 6,640 84 2,248 28
Total land mammals 15,506 71 15,506 100 13,207 85 4,844 31
Large land mammals (deer, bear, etc.) 12,226 56 12,226 100 10,047 82 3,784 31
Small land mammals (squirrel, prairie dog, etc.) 12,958 59 12,958 100 10,911 84 4,200 32
Fish 6,330 29 6,330 100 5,019 79 2,000 32
Marine mammals 3,013 14 3,013 100 1,982 66 1,233 41
Other wildlife (turtles, butterflies, etc.) 9,409 43 9,409 100 7,929 84 3,071 33
Note: Detail does not add to total because of multiple responses. Column showing percent of total participants is based on the "Total, all wildlife" number. Participation by place percent columns are based on the total number of participants for each type of wildlife.
SOURCE: "Table 40: Nonresidential (away From Home) Wildlife-Watching Participants by Wildlife Observed, Photographed, or Fed, and Place: 2001," in 2001 Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC, October 2002

FIGURE 11.8
Percent of nonresidential wildlife-activity participants who observed, fed, or photographed wildlife, 2001

FIGURE 11.9
Type of site visited by nonresidential wildlife-activity participants, 2001

FIGURE 11.10
A humpback whale, seen off the coast of Massachusetts. (AP/Wide World Photos)

TABLE 11.2
Wild bird observers and days of observation, 2001
(Population 16 years old and older. Numbers in thousands)

Observers and days of observation Number Percent
Observers
Total bird observers 45,951 100
Residential (around the home) observers 40,306 88
Nonresidential (away from home) observers 18,342 40
Days
Total days observing birds 5,467,841 100
Residential (around the home) 5,159,259 94
Nonresidential (away from home) 308,583 6
Note: Detail does not add to total because of multiple responses.
SOURCE: "Table 41: Wild Bird Observers and Days of Observation: 2001," in 2001 Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC, October 2002
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