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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - "Senate limits high-fenced hunting to existing facilities"

That is the headline to Niki Kelly's story today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. A quote:

But [Senator] Glick said repeatedly the bill allows the license to be sold or transferred but limits it to four preserves at all times.

The legislation has bounced back and forth this session between expanding the industry to anyone versus grandfathering it to existing preserves only.

House Bill 1453 adds guidelines to the facilities, including a minimum of 100 acres; a 10-foot-tall fence [ILB- actually it is now 8 foot] and special hunting licenses. Also, the preserves could only use deer born and raised in Indiana for hunting purposes.

Another key provision is the state will no longer be on the hook financially for any disease outbreaks at a high-fenced hunting facility.

Ryan Sabalow's long IndyStar story reports in part:
Sen. Susan Glick, R-LaGrange, added amendments to House Bill 1453 that cut out a provision that would have allowed any fenced hunting preserve larger than 160 acres to open.

Instead, the amended bill would allow only the four hunting preserves now operating in Indiana to stay in business.

Glick's amendment also adds the threat of a Level 6 felony charge if a preserve owner is caught deliberately violating the regulations set forth in the bill.

The amendment does offer some concessions to Indiana's captive-deer industry. It would allow current owners to sell or move to a new location as long as the hunting area is at least 100 acres, and it would reduce the fence height requirements for a preserve from 10 feet to 8 feet.

Under the current version of the bill, owners of Indiana's fenced hunting preserves would be forbidden from selling a deer for a hunt within 24 hours of it being sedated, and only animals born and raised on Indiana deer farms could be hunted.

The bill also includes a provision that says Indiana taxpayers wouldn't have to pay a preserve owner if state officials kill his or her deer in the event of a disease outbreak.

The bill also would set record-keeping requirements and some hunting ground rules, would forbid owners from releasing animals into the wild and would require owners to report escapes into the wild within 24 hours.

Even with the additional regulations, it's still not what opponents of the industry want: a complete ban on what they disparagingly call "canned hunting."

"There are issues you aren't able to compromise on, and this is one of them," said Jeff Wells, president of the Indiana Conservation Officer Organization.

ILB: So, the current, April 14th version of the bill allows hunting preserve licenses to be issued to anyone who owned and operated a preserve in 2014. Reportedly, there are four such entities. They would be eligible for transferable, assignable licenses which could be sold or leased and which would exist in perpetuity.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 14, 2015 10:47 AM
Posted to Indiana Government