A House committee Monday made a major change to legislation allowing high-fenced deer hunting preserves to continue operating in Indiana. The committee also passed the bill.
Debate over the existence of high-fenced deer hunting preserves goes back a decade, including an ongoing legal battle over the issue. Previous attempts to pass legislation allowing and regulating the preserves ended with those measures dying each year in the Senate.
A change in committee to this year’s version restricts permits to facilities that existed before the start of 2015, essentially limiting the number of preserves in the state to only a handful.
Shelbyville Republican Representative Sean Eberhart, the bill’s author, says that change could be what ultimately leads to the measure’s passage, helped further by a recent court decision.
“The Court of Appeals made a decision that the state didn’t have authority in shutting the preserves down so if we don’t act, we’re going to go another year without regulation,” Eberhart said. “So I think it gives us even more reason to pass the bill.”
Eberhart says a desire not to expand the industry drove the committee change limiting licenses to existing facilities. The bill now heads to the House floor.