State panel backs legalizing fenced-in hunting preserves

Indiana's four current high-fenced deer-hunting preserves would be the only ones allowed in the state under a bill endorsed by a legislative committee.

The House Natural Resources Committee voted 8-4 Monday to legalize the preserves where farm-raised deer are hunted.

The state appeals court ruled last week that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources overstepped its authority by trying to shut down the existing preserves.

The House committee adopted an amendment from bill sponsor Rep. Sean Eberhart of Shelbyville to limit the licensing to only those preserves operating at the end of 2014.

Several hunter and wildlife advocacy groups are against the legalization, saying the preserves offer "canned hunting" and increase the risk of spreading diseases to the state's wild deer.

The bill now goes to the full House.

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