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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "Canned hunting bill dies in Indiana Senate"

Updating a long long list of earlier ILB entries on canned hunting, most recently this post from Jan. 28th, Niki Kelly reports today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

INDIANAPOLIS – A move to legalize and regulate high-fenced hunting preserves failed in the Senate Tuesday when it didn't receive enough votes to either be defeated or approved.

The 25-23 vote was a bit of a surprise because there was no debate on the bill and it appeared to have momentum out of committee.

It was moving in the Senate for the first time after leadership killed the measure in recent years. * * *

A Harrison County judge ruled late last year against the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which in 2005 tried to shut down high-fenced hunting in the state. Specifically, the ruling said deer used by these facilities are privately owned and the DNR exceeded its authority trying to regulate them.

But that ruling is being appealed by the state attorney general. And another judge ruled previously in favor of the DNR.

High-fenced hunting preserves place deer with big racks in large confined spaces, and hunters can shoot them for high prices.

In 2005, the DNR determined that about a dozen facilities were operating such preserves with permits for possession, breeding and sale of white-tailed deer – not permits for hunting.

Several preserve owners sued, and remained open under an injunction. There are four currently operating in the state. * * *

Doug Allman, of the Indiana Deer Hunters Association, has fought against high-fenced hunting for years and said the vote was incredible.

"I'm ecstatic. I thought it was going to pass. I really did. It's a bill that not everyone understands completely," he said.

He noted that the Board of Animal Health still has the right to regulate the health of the deer themselves. As for the hunting, he said no regulations would make the practice ethical.

"All we are doing is legitimizing it and making it look good," Allman said. "It's still what it is – shooting penned and farm-raised deer tame to humans. It's not hunting." * * *

The bill cannot be called for another vote in the Senate due to deadlines.

Ryan Sabalow reports in the Indianapolis Star:
A related high-fence hunting bill authored by Rep. Bill Friend, R-Macy, hasn’t advanced in the House. Friend’s spokesman said the lawmaker doesn’t have any plans to bring up the legislation as of now. * * *

Harrison Circuit Judge John Evans ruled last fall that the DNR overstepped its authority in shutting down the preserves.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office is appealing the case because it would eliminate the wildlife agency’s authority to regulate hunting behind a fence.

A few months before Evans’ ruling, an Owen County judge ruled that the DNR had the right to issue permits for the preserves, further clouding the issue.

High-fence hunting’s critics in Indiana include an array of animal rights activists, wildlife groups and hunting associations. They refer to shooting farm-raised deer bred for massive antlers in fenced enclosures as “canned hunting.”

Doug Allman of the Indiana Deer Hunters Association applauded the Senate’s vote. He said the issue should be addressed by the courts.

“I think that ruling is a bad ruling, and it’s dangerous and it needs to be clarified,” he said of the fall decision.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 5, 2014 09:51 AM
Posted to Indiana Government