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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "House committee approves captive deer-hunt bill" [Updated]

Updating this ILB post from Feb. 5th, Ryan Sabalow reports in today's Indianapolis Star:

An Indiana House committee on Monday approved a watered-down version of a bill that would legalize high-fence hunting in Indiana.

In an 8-4 vote, the House Natural Resources Committee approved new language for a bill that would grandfather in high-fence hunting ranches that were in business before 2015. But the revised bill wouldn’t allow new ones to open.

Under House Bill 1453, operators of high-fence hunting ranches would have to pay the state an annual $2,000 fee, split between the state’s wildlife and agricultural agencies. Each facility also would be required to have a minimum of 100 acres. The revised bill says the Department of Natural Resources cannot issue rules so restrictive that it prevents the facilities from doing business.

Four high-fence preserves are in operation in Indiana. * * *

The three-judge appeals panel ruled that the DNR went “beyond the express powers” that state lawmakers granted the agency when wildlife officers ordered all the state’s hunting preserves to shut down. [See ILB post here]

The judges also declared that Indiana’s law “does not prohibit high-fence hunting of deer.”

DNR spokesman Phil Bloom and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said they were reviewing the ruling, so it’s unclear whether they’ll appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Another bill, Senate Bill 442 authored by Sen. Pete Miller, R-Avon, would ban high-fence hunting outright. Miller said he drafted the legislation in part because of concerns raised in a four-part investigative series published last spring by The Indianapolis Star. His bill is unlikely to receive a hearing.

[Updated] Here is Niki Kelly's story from the FWJG.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 10, 2015 09:47 AM
Posted to Indiana Government