An Indiana state lawmaker says a law that prohibits deer hunting with rifles on public property was passed without adequate oversight. Legislators approved House Bill 1415 in April and it’s causing confusion among hunters.
Republican State Representative Sean Eberhart authored the original version of the bill, which was intended to clarify which high-velocity rounds could be used on public property.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources released a statement last week saying the final version of the bill was different than what legislators might have intended. It also says the rifle regulation change wasn’t noticed until long after the DNR published its hunting and trapping guide for this year.
Ted Davis has been hunting in Indiana for more than 50 years. He says he’s in favor of the new rifle regulations for public property.
“I like the idea of taking those types of firearms out of the woods during hunting season,” Davis says.
Davis hunts with a muzzleloader. He says less powerful shotguns, crossbows and handguns have been effective in controlling the deer population for years. According to Davis, hunting deer with rifles is unnecessary and even dangerous.
“So, in the heat of the hunt, you may pull the trigger and not realize who’s downrange,” Davis says.
He says he understands why people are upset about the sudden change and knows people who now have no use for their expensive hunting rifles.
Representative Eberhart’s press secretary says he is currently working on several options to resolve the problem before the next legislative session. Eberhart declined to comment further.
Complete guidelines concerning the updated deer hunting law can be found here.