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Panel considers Indiana fenced deer hunting sites

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm •  Published: March 25, 2013

The hunting groups also criticized the preserves, saying it isn't real hunting because the farm-raised deer have less fear of humans than wild deer.

"They are domestically raised just like cattle and pigs are today," said Herb Higgins, an officer of the bowhunter association.

Rodney Bruce, owner of Whitetail Bluff near the southern Indiana town of Corydon, said the preserves didn't offer canned hunting.

"If you have a deer in a room that can't escape or in a pen that can't escape, that's totally unacceptable," Bruce said. "Our places are not like that."

Bruce said his 120-acre business typically has 70-80 deer within its fences and that hunters are still challenged. The preserve's website lists 3-day hunting and lodging packages based on buck size, ranging from $1,900 to $7,900.

The House committee could vote next week on whether to advance the proposal to the full House.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, blocked a broader House-approved bill last year that would have legalized the existing fenced-hunting preserves and allowed new ones.

Long said Monday he continued to believe that legislators reached a tacit agreement several years ago not to intercede in the lawsuit and that he hoped the Senate wouldn't have to deal with the issue again this year.

Republican Gov. Mike Pence, who took office in January, is hesitant about expanding high-fenced preserves, but "is keeping an open mind" about proposals to allow the existing preserves to continue operating, spokeswoman Kara Brooks said.

Ubelhor said he wanted to allow good businesses to stay open.

"This is an opportunity for people to take part in hunting and have a good time doing it," he said. "They're guaranteed a safe place to hunt."