NewsPublic Affairs / March 1, 2016

High-Fenced Deer Hunting Legislation Moves On To Governor's Desk

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INDIANAPOLIS -- House lawmakers approved a bill Monday that regulates Indiana’s high-fenced deer hunting preserves. It now goes to Gov. Mike Pence for approval, more than a decade after the legislature first began working on the issue.

The state tried to shut down high-fenced hunting preserves more than 10 years ago.  A court battle finally ended last year, with a ruling that said the state couldn’t regulate the facilities at all, under current law.

Along the way, there were several failed attempts at legislation to install regulations, but Rep. Sean Eberhart says the court’s ruling finally forced lawmakers into a corner.

“We can either support the bill and have some common sense regulations put in place for the hunting preserves or we can vote the bill down without any regulation,” Eberhart said.

But Rep. Matt Pierce says that’s a false choice.  He says the legislature should have considered a third option.

“What we ought to be doing is adopting a clear statute that says ‘This activity will not be tolerated in our state,’” Pierce said.

The House approved the bill 61 to 35.  It establishes regulations that include minimum fence heights and acreage, and it mandates reporting disease and escape.

The measure now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.

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