In 2006 Alabama became the 20th state to ban the act of canned hunting within its borders. The New York Legislature, in 2007, let a bill that would have banned all canned hunting of 'exotic 'animals, be defeated.
Canned hunting, or captive hunts, currently happen all over the country. The animals come from animal dealers, private breeders, and even zoos and circuses. They are hand raised, and bottle fed and so they have no fear of people. They are dependent on familiar humans to feed them. This makes it is easy for a hunter to come in and kill them. Even threatened species are used as advertising ploys for these hunts. Although federal law, and the Endangered Species Act, is supposed to protect animals, hunting enthusiasts are finding loopholes. Some state laws actually permit captive-bred wildlife to be killed. This creates a market for endangered species trophies. It also encourages illegal poaching of these animals in their native areas.
Furthermore, because of the population density in these areas, the risk of animals transmitting diseases also increases. This poses a threat to animals inside the enclosures, as well as the ones outside. It is hard to say what kind of veterinary care is being instituted across these captive hunting facilities. These animals are often infected with such diseases as Tuberculosis and Chronic Wasting Disease.
Baiting these animals for capture occurs when staff encourage animals to come together in small areas on the property, which can cause the rapid spread of disease. With Chronic Wasting Disease, in particular, moose, deer, and/or elk are affected. The disease has been reported in nineteen states. Among eleven of those states, the disease was present within it's canned hunting populations. The interstate transport of these animals, as well as the few animals that escape from the facilities, increase the chance of these devastating diseases being spread.
It is estimated that there are more than a thousand canned hunting operations across the country. The activity is taking place in about two dozen states, with at least 500 operations in Texas alone. There is no federal law against this practice and only about half of the states currently have restrictive policies or bans on this type of hunting. The Animal Welfare Act and its regulations do not apply to captive hunts, hunting reserves, or game reserves. The Endangered Species Act protects only those animals specifically listed as threatened or endangered species. Private ownership of these animals is not prohibited by the Fish and Wildlife Service, who actually allow captive hunting of endangered species to take place.
This is not just going on in the United States. Countries such as South Africa, Middle East, New Zealand, Europe and Canada also have these types of operations. In most cases, these facilities are on private land, so any state laws that might protect wildlife are difficult to enforce.