They're Bringing Out the Long-Range Boom Sticks in Indiana
Indiana has long held to its tradition of being a non-rifle deer hunting state. But now, that's all changed. This fall, Indiana deer hunters will have the option to hunt whitetails with rifles. And according to Brad Smith of Wide Open Spaces, the state legislature allegedly went behind the DNR's back and made this landmark change without them knowing.
Some hunters welcome the change. There are a number of them who applaud it. They've been asking for it for decades.
Other hunters are fighting this with everything they have. They feel it will affect deer populations in a negative way. Are they right?
I can't speak for Indiana. I've never hunted the state. But as someone who predominantly bowhunts in a state (Kentucky) that has its rifle season right in the middle of the rut, it isn't all bad news. Sure, it pressures deer more. It will take more deer from the herd. But Kentucky has a rifle season during the rut and the deer herd continues to grow. We just had our single-season record with the 2016-17 harvest and hunters have hunted with rifles for many years now.
That said, I do find is disheartening and very unsettling that lawmakers (allegedly) made this change without the consent of the DNR. I find that very troublesome. No regulation changes should be made without the DNR and voiced opinions from the hunting public.
In a collective slap to the face of all Indiana deer hunters and the DNR, politicians in the Indiana legislature have legalized the use of rifles for deer hunting, Smith said. It is a fact that most states have already legalized the use of rifles for deer, but Indiana has largely remained one of the states strongly against it for a variety of reasons. Now, it looks like Indiana outdoorsmen, and the men and women who are responsible for the Indiana deer herd, have our hands tied.
Just last year in 2015, the Indiana DNR hosted a year-long information session studying the possible effects of legalizing rifles in Indiana for deer, Smith continued. After very heavy opposition from hunters and everyday citizens, along with common sense efforts from the DNR, the change was overwhelmingly ruled against.
At the end of the day, there are downsides to having rifles in on the action. But there are also upsides. Hunters need to educate themselves and then formulate a well-educated decision.
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