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High-fenced Hunting Rules Pass Senate, Expected To Pass House

M Glasgow

Legislation approved by the Senate Thursday would impose new rules for Indiana’s high-fenced hunting facilities, an industry left entirely unregulated by recent court rulings.  The measure appears headed for success after years of failing in the legislature.

The legislation would mandate minimum fence heights – eight feet – and minimum acreage – 80 acres for the seven existing facilities, 100 acres for any new facilities.  It also bans hunting in the reserves using drones, requires the facilities to report disease and escapes, and allows wild sheep and goats to be hunted. 

Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) opposes the measure; he says hunting organizations are offended by what goes on in the facilities.

“They’re just out there killing animals.  It’s not hunting,” Stoops says. “I don’t think anybody would call this hunting.  They wouldn’t call this sportsmanship.”

But opposition to the bill has shifted this year.  Sen. Jim Arnold (D-LaPorte) has voted against similar bills in the past.  But he says he changed his mind after visiting a facility last year.

“I saw the fields, I saw the woods; I saw the tree stands down there, I saw one deer,” Arnold says. “But what I did not see was the fences and I brought that up to the owner.  I didn’t recognize that I was on a preserve.”

The Senate has never passed a bill legalizing and regulating high-fenced hunting reserves; but after a 29 to 19 affirmative vote Thursday, the measure heads to the House, where it’s typically enjoyed robust support.  

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