The government is us; we are the government, you and I. -Theodore Roosevelt

B&C Position Statement - Canned Shoots

Effective Date: June 6, 2012 - Reviewed: June 11, 2013 - Revised: August 30, 2022

Situational Overview

A canned shoot is the practice of pursuing and killing any big game animal kept in or released from captivity to be killed in an escape-proof, fenced, put-and-take shooting operation, often called a “hunting preserve” by this industry. In canned shoots, the game lacks the equivalent chance to escape afforded free-ranging animals, virtually assuring the shooter a kill. 

Canned shoots typically involve deer and elk that have been intensively manipulated in captivity by deer breeders to produce unnaturally large antlers. These deer or elk are often sold and transported to canned shooting operations, where they are offered in so-called “trophy hunts” to customers who pay according to antler size. 

There are substantial differences between a canned shoot and Fair Chase hunting, which involves the unpredictable, challenging, and ethical pursuit of wild, free-ranging big game.  Nevertheless, the public may not always discern those differences, and the Club is concerned such misconceptions, coupled with the increase in canned shooting operations, is testing the public’s historic support of hunting.

The Club is also concerned about the role of canned shooting operations in the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (“CWD”), which is a contagious, always fatal, disease of deer and elk. The transportation of live, captive deer and elk to canned shooting operations and game farms from breeding facilities is a significant human-associated factor contributing to the spread of CWD to new locations. CWD transmission between wild and captive cervids can occur in either direction through fence-line contact or through the escape of captive animals. There is currently no treatment or vaccine for CWD, and no reliable test for detecting CWD in live animals. 

As a leading hunter-conservationist organization, the Boone and Crockett Club is concerned with wildlife health issues and ensuring the nuances and benefits of Fair Chase hunting are clearly understood by hunters and non-hunters alike.


The Boone and Crockett Club is opposed to canned shoots because they contravene the principles of Fair Chase, the ethical code of hunting conduct at the core of the Club’s Mission. One of the most basic tenets of Fair Chase is ensuring an animal has a reasonable opportunity to escape. If it does not, the hunt cannot be considered ethical. The Club recommends that all hunters and hunting clubs or organizations discourage the practice of canned shoots because it violates the principles of Fair Chase.

Even though the Club believes shooting selectively bred, artificially enhanced, captive wildlife is not ethical, is not hunting, and serves no useful public purpose, the Club has no desire to dictate choices and behavior for every person or industry. The Club acknowledges that canned shooting is legal in some jurisdictions. The Club will speak out when necessary to defend Fair Chase hunting and its value to conservation. This includes pointing out activities such as canned shoots that undermine public support of hunting. In our democratic society the majority of citizens must be supportive or at least neutral toward any activity, including hunting, in order for it to be allowed to continue. 

The Boone and Crockett Club supports federal and state/provincial/tribal agencies seeking to reduce the spread of CWD and other diseases to both captive and wild cervid populations by: (i) prohibiting or restricting the establishment of new canned shooting operations, (ii) adopting stricter regulations, including importation bans governing the transport of captive cervids; (iii) requiring permanent, visible identification on all cervids released from breeding facilities for canned hunts; and (iv) prohibiting the release of captive animals from canned shooting operations into wild, unfenced habitat as the danger to native wildlife from CWD is overwhelming. 

The Boone and Crockett Club publishes position statements to inform and educate people about conservation and hunting issues. Thus, there is no charge for personal and non-commercial use of its position statements, but reprinting or re-use of any portions of a position statement shall credit the Boone and Crockett Club as the source. Any such use shall remain subject to all rights of the Boone and Crockett Club.

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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt