August 16, 2022

Hunting Preserves in Indiana Now Banned

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Last year the state (DNR) banned hunting in game preserves across the state of Indiana. House Bill 1349 would have legalized the business despite the ban put in place. Because it appeared that support for the Bill might be lacking, the author, Rep. John Ulmer (R) – Goshen, offered to make an amendment to the orginal Bill.

That amendment would allow existing businesses to continue to operate for another seven years and prohibit any new businesses from starting up. Currently there are 15 preserves operating across the state. The amendment was voted on and passed by the Indiana House.

Preserves have been operating in Indiana for about 10 years. Back then, there were no laws to prohibit the operation of hunt preserves and no laws specifically allowing it either. Those interested in starting the new businesses were told by DNR officials that as long as they obtained a game breeder’s license, they would be good to go.

Then, the DNR took a look at existing laws last year and decided the practice was illegal and put a stop to the hunt preserves. Law suits have begun and there has been a lot of discussion on the subject. An article the morning in the Courier Journal says –

Rodney Bruce of Corydon, who operates a preserve in Harrison County, sued the state over the decision. The case is still pending.

There are claims that some deer farmers had received communications that their business was legal, as recently as last year.

Rep. Dale Grubb, D-Covington, said some deer farmers and preserve owners have received correspondence as recently as last year that would make them believe their operations are legal.

There are several topics of discussion in the issue of hunting preserves. Many people feel that this kind of hunting is unethical. Where you stand on the issue is important but when government steps in and totally bans this or any other kind of business simply because they or someone else doesn’t like it, is problematic for me.

I have never used a hunting preserve nor do I intend to, for reasons that are mine but I do believe a well regulated hunt preserve can certainly reduce many of the issues that hunters and animal rights groups may have.

My real issue in this entire series of events, comes from government stepping in to ban a business because they don’t like it. It appears that the business owners have been shafted and stand to lose a lot of money from their venture. They were lead to believe by the DNR that their operation was legal, only to have the rug pulled out from under them.

As I said, I believe preserves can be set up with very strict guidelines that would satisfy most, if not all, the concerns that opponents may have. I believe the Indiana government is way out of line on this issue and that the DNR has made a bad error in turning its back on these business people.

Whether you agree or disagree on hunting preserves, we cannot sit back and allow government to stop business because they personally may not approve.

Good luck to the business people of Indiana and I hope this issue gets resolved to the satisfaction of the majority.

Tom Remington