Online Hunting Now a Target Out West
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California is the latest state to target the controversial practice of Internet hunting. The state's Fish and Game Commission is preparing emergency regulations to ban what is known as "point, click and kill" hunting.
In Internet-assisted hunting, promoted as a service for the handicapped, a remote user can fire a mounted rifle at live game. The first known hunt of this sort took place in April on a ranch outside of San Antonio, Texas. No animals were shot that day.
In the aftermath of the publicity over the hunt sponsored by Liveshot.com, a number of states are rushing to pass legislation to stop any future hunts. In addition, there is bill pending in Congress to bar the practice.
The California Senate passed a bill banning Internet-assisted hunting in late April. In addition to prohibiting remote hunting, the bill also bans the import or export of any animal killed using computer-assisted hunting.
Banning the importing and exporting of animals shot during Internet-assisted hunting is directed at Liveshot's offer to butcher and package or mount the heads of any game shot through the site.
The California bill now goes to the State Assembly, but, as lawmakers debate the legislation, the Fish and Game Commission is preparing regulations.
In Texas, where legislation is also pending, its Parks and Wildlife Department failed to stop Internet-assisted hunting because the agency only has the authority to stop the shooting of native animals. Liveshot offers exotic game from Africa and India.
U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) introduced federal legislation against Internet-assisted hunting in April, calling for a maximum five-year prison sentence for violators. The legislation has gained the support of the Humane Society, the Safari Club and the National Rifle Association.
The groups claim the practice is not a sport.