Brandon Butler Responds: Captive Killing Pollutes Society’s View of Hunting

public domain via Wikimedia commons

Editor’s Note: We recently published a column by Brandon Butler in which he explained why he (and many, many other Hoosier hunters) are opposed to the recently passed “Canned Hunting” law.  The story and issue has taken on a life of it’s own, which is good, as more people look into the issues behind this law and share their opinions.  

Unfortunately, Brandon has been viciously attacked online by a small group of Canned Hunting supporters and a few of the posts “crossed the line” of reasonable discourse among supposedly rational people.  That is unacceptable and moreover, the people involved don’t seem to understand it doesn’t stop people like Brandon from speaking out.  In the end (as pointed out below) it actually serves to rally more people against high fence hunting.

To counter misinformation being posted, Brandon has asked for additional space on to further explain his position. 

We have also been the object of similar online attacks in other circumstances and normally our advice is to, “Ignore the trolls because it is merely a waste of your time and energy.”  However, we also agree that there are situations when you must stand up and not allow yourself to be trashed by those who shout the loudest yet can’t support their own opinions with rational discussion. Therefore, we are publishing the following story.

Finally: stands firmly against the practice of canned “hunting.”

Here in real world America, we must have laws to protect the masses from the misdeeds of the minority. You can’t pollute your section of the stream without it running onto your neighbor’s place, so even though most people would never pollute, we must have laws against polluting to keep the few from ruining things for the rest of us.

Captive killing is the number one pollutant of fair chase hunting.

Statistically speaking, about 10 percent of Americans hunt and about 10 percent of Americans identify themselves as anti-hunters. This leaves 80 percent in the middle who neither hunt, nor actively seek to end hunting. Most of them accept hunting because they know someone who hunts fair chase for food; Grandpa hunted, or a brother-in-law hunts, so in their mind hunting is acceptable because they respect and care about those people.

But ask members of the 80 percent how they feel about people raising deer in pen, pumping them full of drugs to grow antlers so large they can hardly hold up their head, tranquilizing them, loading them in a trailer, releasing them into a fenced property and then letting someone pay to shoot them, often before the drugs used to keep them calm during transportation have worn off. The 80 percent knows this is not hunting. They know it is nothing more than shooting a live target and they despise it. When they hear this practice called “hunting,” their view of hunting changes and they turn against real hunters. Captive killing creates anti-hunters.

In the future, the 80 percent will determine if we real hunters will continue to have the privilege to hunt. Which is why I am working on behalf of fair chase hunters to protect the future of hunting by letting the 80 percent know that real hunters separate the long-accepted and respected practice of fair chase hunting of wildlife for food from target shooting pets.

So yeah, I’m a problem. I’m a problem to an industry that is destroying a tradition of deer hunting passed down to me from my grandfather that was passed down to him from his grandfather. I also hope to pass the tradition of deer hunting down to my grandchildren. I will continue to fight against an industry trying to privatize a tradition as American as fair chase hunting because I hope my grandchildren will be able to pass the tradition of fair chase hunting down to their children.

Perhaps in the fantasy of an anarchist’s America, you are able to do anything you please. But here in the real world, in democratic America – where the majority rules – we have laws. Unfortunately, it is now legal in Indiana to fence in a few acres of land, raise genetically modified deer that you name, bottle-feed, pet and take selfies with then walk out into their pen and shoot them, mount their head on a wall and call yourself a hunter. That’s the law, for now, and we real hunters have to live with it until we amass the power to change the law. That means voting out politicians who sided with an industry that jeopardizes the future of hunting, while ignoring the enormous economic impact fair chase hunting has on the state.

In my opinion, captive killing is reprehensible and it will ultimately lead to enough of society turning against real hunters to pass laws against all forms of hunting, so I’ll continue to fight against it by working to change laws. In 2000, a staunch group of Montana conservationists led an initiative petition process to amend the state’s constitution. The Treasure State citizens voted to ban captive hunting. Political favors could not stop the will of the people. This process can be replicated.

The truth is the captive killing industry is comprised of some shrewd businessmen, well-funded associations, expensive public relations firms, top lobbyists and some political allies. There are some really smart folks in the industry who are making a ton of money. They’ll do or say anything to keep the funds flowing and are strategically working to advance their industry.

There are also a few Facebook trolls who regularly appear in support of captive killing. The leaders of their own industry know the incoherent, unintelligent and endless rants from these few continue to turn just about everyone reading their gibberish against the captive killing industry. A few of the smart captive industry businessmen have told me personally they recognize the damage these few do to their industry, and they wish they’d shut up, but you can’t fix stupid. All of us opposed to captive killing can only hope the trolls keep it up because they do much more to harm their cause than they do to advance it.

But know that behind these trolls, working intelligently, are industry leaders who are happy to destroy deer hunting as we know it in America in order to line their own pockets. They stay busy making deals and signing checks. Facebook may give the dumbest among us a platform to spew their beliefs, but money makes the world go around and the people who employ these shit-shovelers are passing it out in fistfuls to elected officials in Indiana and beyond who are willing to vote against the best interest of wildlife and all wildlife enthusiasts in exchange for a check.

While most people choose to avoid conflict and stay out of the fight to protect our hunting heritage, some of us engage, because doing nothing is the same as working against fair chase hunting, which is one of our greatest American traditions.

Read more:

Indiana Wildlife Federation – Canned Hunting in Indiana

A comprehensive series on Indiana canned hunting by Ryan Sabalow,

Brandon Butler
Long-time outdoor writer and native Hoosier Brandon Butler lives in Missouri and serves as the Executive Director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Previously, he worked with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as Governor Mitch Daniels’ liaison to the department, Director of Sales and Marketing for Dominator365 and as the Marketing Manager Battenfeld Technologies, Inc.


  1. Finally took a stance on something ,,, Wonder why he didnt take a stance on crossbow inclusion in missouri ,with its long standing tradition as DIRECTOR of CFM

  2. Same old story different day. Again you have added a new line of BS to you article. If you knew anything about deer breeding, you would know there is no drug that will increase antler growth, yet more false information you and others continue to spew. The funny part of your article was “But ask members of the 80 percent how they feel about people raising deer in pen, pumping them full of drugs to grow antlers so large they can hardly hold up their head, tranquilizing them, loading them in a trailer, releasing them into a fenced property and then letting someone pay to shoot them, often before the drugs used to keep them calm during transportation have worn off.” Again if you know of this actually being done then have the courage to call them out. All states that I’m aware of will not allow animals that are realesed to be harvested for a period of time far longer then any drug would be in their system. The idea that anyone would release and shoot a deer immediately is ignorant and ridiculous. Even if it happened your going to try to condemn an entire industry for something that may happen on such a small scale that it’s assine to even suggest it? It’s a good thing we don’t outlaw stupid! If you don’t like high fenced hunting so be it and I suggest you don’t do it, but don’t attack an entire industry of hard working Americans with your ignorance and misinformation. One last thing, if you pose a question in an idiotic way like the one in quotes above, how could you not get a negative response. Please don’t be ridiculous, smart people see through the BS.

  3. Brandon, you must be a liberal. Tolerant of only people that have your views. You would be a lot more convincing if you would not have thrown all the lies in just to support your point of view. Have you ever hunted a high fence ranch that has a breeding population of resident deer ? Those deer are as hard to hunt as any deer in Iowa or any other state.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here