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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - " High-powered rifle bill triggers opposition: Pence signs measure feared to endanger people"

That is the headline to a long story today in the South Bend Tribune, reported by Jeff Parrott. It begins:

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has signed into law a bill that critics say will endanger hunters and suburbanites, and possibly cut too deeply into the state's deer herd. [ILB: HEA 1231]

When deer firearms season opens for two weeks in November, hunters for the first time will be allowed to use high-powered rifles when hunting on privately owned property. Historically most Indiana deer hunters have used shotguns since the only other types of allowable long arms were muzzle loaders or rifles that fire handgun-caliber bullets.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources last year considered making the change but decided against it after hearing heavy opposition from the public, including many hunters.

“We now have the legislature micromanaging the DNR and wildlife management and hunting methods,” said Doug Allman, spokesman for the Indiana Deer Hunters Association. “What’s next, fishing lures?”

Allman said today’s high-powered rifles can hit a deer from a half-mile away, “and if you miss, that bullet is still going.” That situation becomes increasingly dangerous as land development pushes hunters closer to highly populated suburbs.

“Rifles are allowed to be used for some animals in this state but you don’t have 250,000 hunters out there on opening weekend (of deer firearms season) shooting, sometimes at running animals,” Allman said.

From the end of the story:
Pence also angered hunting and conservation groups this week when he signed a bill that formally legalizes the existing practice of hunting deer in preserves that are enclosed by 8-foot fences, derided as “canned hunting” by critics. [SEA 109]

The DNR had tried for 10 years to ban the preserves but lost a court case in February, paving the way for the legislation.

The NRA has issued a news release headed "Indiana: Governor Pence Approves Two Pro-Hunting Measures!" It begins:
We are pleased to announce that the NRA-backed Right to Hunt and Fish Constitutional Amendment, sponsored by state Senator Brent Steele (R-44) and state Representative Sean Eberhart (R-57), will appear as Question 1 on the November 2016 ballot. This week, Governor Mike Pence (R) signed Senate Enrolled Act 57 approving the ballot language. Furthermore, Governor Pence also signed House Bill 1231 into law, which will expand deer hunting opportunities across Indiana. HB 1231 will take effect immediately.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 24, 2016 01:03 PM
Posted to Indiana Government