Senate leader puts fenced-hunting bill on hold

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The leader of the Indiana Senate said Wednesday that a bill to legalize and regulate fenced deer hunting will remain in the rules committee he controls until the GOP caucus finds a solution “that’s fair and reasonable.”

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said if that solution can be found, he’ll send House Bill 1453 to the natural resources committee for a hearing.

“Right now, we are in a grey area, where no one really know what the law is,” Long said.

The bill – already approved by the House – aims to end a 10-year battle over the legality of fenced deer hunting. In 2005, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources tried to shut down several fenced preserves. One sued and the Court of Appeals recently ruled the DNR has no authority to regulate wild animals on private land.

The House legislation would only allow pre-existing facilities to receive a license. Only four are currently in operation under a court injunction – in Harrison, Blackford, Kosciusko and Marshall counties.

Long has stopped fenced hunting bills in the past while waiting for the courts to weigh in. Now, he said he’ll be looking for a fair solution before moving forward with the legislation.

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