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General News

High-Fenced Hunting Bill Amended To Limit Preserves

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The Senate dramatically scaled back legislation regulating the state’s high-fenced deer hunting preserves Monday, limiting the number of preserves that could operate under the law to four.

The future of the high-fenced deer hunting industry has been the subject of ongoing legal action and debate at the legislature for more than a decade.

New regulations in the proposed bill include a minimum acreage and fence height, and a provision requiring deer in the facilities to be born and raised in Indiana.

That last provision is meant to quell fears that deer being brought in from out of state might carry diseases, such as chronic wasting disease, and infect wild deer populations.

An earlier version of this year’s legislation would have allowed the industry to expand, creating new preserves, but the amendment offered by Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, who is the bill’s Senate sponsor, says that only the four existing preserves can have permits.

“It would basically return us to the status quo, where we’re at now, but with the provisions for inspections by the Board of Animal Health, the inspections by the Department of Natural Resources,” she said during testimony in the Senate.

Current owners can move their preserves somewhere else in the state or sell the preserves to someone else.

Three different senators questioned whether that provision is a loophole that would lead to more preserves. Glick stated firmly that only four preserves can be allowed at any one time.

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