Captive hunting operators to be arraigned

Feb. 21, 2013 at 3:26 PM

FAIRLEE, Vt., Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Two operators of a Vermont "captive hunting" camp are scheduled to be arraigned next week for running an illegal, fenced-in preserve for hunting.

Hunt the Ridge, a rugged, 129-acre private expanse, is stocked with 200 animals, from wild boar to American buffalo, which are hunted by paying customers and shot as trophies, illegal in Vermont since 2008 except for two pre-existing camps, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.

Twenty-seven states have a complete or partial ban on captive hunting, but over a thousand, half of them in Texas, operate legally, the Humane Society of the United States said.

Although Vermont wildlife officials said Hunt the Ridge operated illegally, it advertised openly on the Internet.

The owners of the camp, Steven Hill and Chiaki Ito, could not be reached for comment Thursday, the newspaper said.

Several miles away at the 1,000-acre Wild Hill Preserve, one of the legal facilities in Vermont, co-owner Marlene Richter defended the practice.

"Our game has a longer life expectancy than game in the wild. They're fed in the winter. They're treated very well. They aren't pets that are just shot in a barrel. That's the impression that people have," she said.

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