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Amended High-Fenced Deer Hunting Bill Passes Committee

M Glasgow

A Senate committee passed an amended version of a bill Monday that would regulate Indiana’s high-fenced hunting industry.

Legislators have been debating the issue for a decade.

The bill attempts to address some of the issues deer farmers, hunting preserve owners and wildlife advocates have been at odds over for years.

It would regulate deer hunting preserves, fees and setting up licensing requirements.

Republican Representative Sean Eberhart says it would also address concerns about Chronic Wasting Disease making its way into Indiana.

“Only deer that come from deer farms located in Indiana, those would be the only deer that could then be brought into the hunting preserves,” Eberhart says.

Opponents of the bill say the disease is a product of the captive deer industry.

Indiana Wildlife Federation President Steve Cecil also questions the ethics of the preserves.

“In my opinion, an enclosure is an enclosure,” Cecil says. “It’s only as big as the corner you can walk a deer into or a deer seemingly be trapped in that corner. They can’t get away.”

A state court of appeals panel ruled earlier this year the Department of Natural Resources doesn’t have the authority to ban the hunting preserves – which it attempted to do in 2005.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

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