Wildlife officials cite dispute in opposing hunting proposal

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A proposal to allow the use of high-powered rifles for deer hunting in Indiana likely is finished after wildlife officials have recommended against it.

The proposal has prompted a contentious debate among Indiana’s nearly 266,500 deer hunters, according to officials at the state Department of Natural Resources. The officials don’t support the proposal because it has become a “social issue” that has drawn strong opposition, the agency said in its report to the Indiana Natural Resources Commission.

But the commission is responsible for setting the hunting and fishing regulations enforced by the state’s conservation officers. It’s possible that the commission could toss the agency’s recommendation, but those familiar with the 12-person board say that happens very rarely, the Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/1EvnApY ) reported.

The proposal would allow hunters to use any center-fire rifle caliber larger than .243 during the annual firearms deer season in Indiana.

Opponents expressed concern that allowing hunters to shoot rifles with longer ranges would pose a safety issue due to Indiana’s flat topography. Although the agency’s research concluded that the rifles wouldn’t lead to more hunting accidents, it still decided to recommend against the proposal.

The commission is expected to review the agency’s recommendation at a meeting next Tuesday.


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com

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