November 30, 2020

What's Going On In Indiana?

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“Indiana wants me! Lord, I can’t go back there!” – Lyrics to a song and I can’t remember who sang it many moons ago! BUT, what’s going on out there in the midwest? Indiana now seems more bent on the elimination of hunting than just simply closing down a few extremely poorly run deer hunting preserves.

Indiana Representative David A. Wolkins (R) Winona Lake, has introduced an amendment to shut down about 50 bird hunting preserves in that state. If you remember, I’ve reported (scroll for links) that the state voted to shut down all the deer hunting preserves across the state for a number of reasons. Partly at issue in that bill was whether or not to phase out the hunting preserves over a 7 year period of time so owners could sell off their stock and recoup some of their losses. That was defeated and the preserves will begin being shut down this spring.

Now, Wolkins has introduced an amendment to that bill that would also close down about 50 bird hunting preserves across the state AND he also wants to shut down the state’s DNR programs of releasing pheasant and quail on state property to allow licensed hunters to hunt the birds.

If this sounds a bit confusing, hang on. I think I got it covered. The DNR said they were going to shut down fenced deer hunting preserves. It appears, because there are no laws prohibiting them from doing that, that this is going to happen in the spring of this year. A bill, House Bill 1349, was introduced to the Indiana Legislature to keep the hunting preserves open. When it appeared there was little support for this bill, the author, Rep. John Ulmer (R) Goshen offered an amendment that would allow owners 7 years to shut down their operations. That amendment died.

Wolkins attached his amendment to the DNR’s decision to shut down the fenced-in preserves and by a narrow vote the Indiana House approved his amendment to force the closure of about 50 bird hunting preserves.

The amended bill got hung up in the Senate and President Robert D. Garton, (R) Columbus, said he will not bring it to a vote. (someone with some sense)
This amendment by Wolkins would not have affected the state run pheasant and quail hunts but he said he wants those shut down as well.

This is my observation about this whole deal and I might very well be wrong. I believe this is a classic example of people taking advantage of a situation to further their own personal agendas. I don’t know Rep. Wolkins from Adam but I would guess he is doing one of two things. He is either playing a somewhat “devil’s advocate” role of proving a point about if you’re going to shut down deer preserves, then shut down bird preserves. He did say that he thought it was hypocritical to shut down the deer preserves and leave the bird ones open. Is he simply trying to make a point? Or, he is anti-hunting and he saw an opening within the movement to shut down the deer preserves in an attempt to sneak an amendment through ultimately shutting down preserves completely. He was not brave enough to include the closure of the states pheasant and quail programs. I’ll guarantee if this is his agenda, we haven’t heard the last from Wolkins.
Wolkins indication that he wants the states pheasant and quail programs shut down is an indicator to me that this guy just wants hunting ceased – period.

My point to all this is this. When the door opens to begin regulating or stopping certain aspects of a program like hunting, the ball begins to roll and the next thing you know, there are so many restrictions and in the long run, hunting has been outlawed. Whether you believe me or not, that’s how it works. It’s the domino affect.
I am not a big fan of hunting preserves, however, if they are operated properly with good sound guidelines, I believe they can serve a purpose. Preserves should contain no more animals than what each state’s game management goals for population allows. In other words, if Indiana has a deer population goal of 12 -15 deer per square mile, then game preserves should not have more than that. This is only one example.

It is my understanding that one of the biggest reasons the DNR shut these operations down is because there are no guidelines and some of the preserves were being poorly run – that may be an understatement. Perhaps strict guidelines would have been the way to go and that would have forced the owners that needed to to clean up their act or get out.

Indiana needs to be careful that this entire situation doesn’t set off a domino affect shutting down good sound and legal hunting opportunities.

Previous posts here, here, here, here and here.
Tom Remington

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