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To promote the conservation, sound management, and sustainable use of Indiana's wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy, and action.

Conservation Bill Watch 2016

Photo: Jim Nix / Nomadic Pursuits

Welcome to the 2016 edition of IWF's Conservation Bill Watch!

We have listed a selection of bills related to conservation issues. Bills will be noted as to our position - SUPPORTOPPOSE, or bills we have decided to WATCH and may take action on later.

We encourage you to also use the Indiana General Assembly website to get more details about your legislators, session activities and other bills. You can also watch live and archived video of sessions.

Find your legislators here!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional updates.

Click on the Bill number to read the full language of the bill along with additional details.

Senate Bills:

SB 7: Hunting wildlife. Sen. Pete Miller SUPPORT
This bill was not heard by the Senate Natural Resources Committee. A disappointment because it was the bill to make canned hunting illegal.

SB 109Regulation of privately owned cervidae. Sen. Mark Messmer OPPOSE
This bill legalizes canned hunting of deer, elk, sheep and goats.

Passed the Senate in a vote of 29-19

Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources which will meet on Monday, Feb 15th at 10:30a in Room 156-A. We encourage you to contact your representatives and voice your continued opposition to canned hunting in the state of Indiana.

This session is shaping up to mark the end of the ten year battle over canned hunting. SB109, a bill to legalize this practice most Hoosiers oppose passed the Senate and will probably pass the House this session.

The bill allows an unlimited number of canned hunting operations of 100 acres or more. In addition to captive raised deer and elk, the bill expanded the list of animals that may be shot in the fenced pen to include sheep and goats. Conservationists requested a ban on imports of captive cervids and a limit to the number of operations to reduce the risk of importing disease but the bill was not amended to include those features. The regulation of canned hunting operations was moved from DNR to the Board of Animal Health that regulates livestock operations. 

IWF and the major statewide hunting conservation organizations continue to strongly oppose canned hunting. It's unethical, is not fair-chase hunting, threatens Indiana's wild deer due to disease risk, and threatens the wild deer hunting economy of over $310 million annually. IWF encourages all who are concerned about this issue to contact their legislators and ask them to make canned hunting illegal.

SB195Ownership of wild animals. Sen. Mike Crider SUPPORT
This bill restores state authority to manage all wild animals, whether public or private.

This bill is necessary to correct a decision by the State Court of Appeals earlier this year that ruled the State, the Dept. of Natural Resources, had no authority to manage or protect any wild animal that was privately owned. The Appeals Court decision upset 150 years of wildlife management practice across the United States. The bill to restore state authority passed the Senate 50-0. One point of concern is exemption of captive cervids, which was included to avoid a conflict with SB109 that legalizes canned hunting.

SB 308: Property tax matters. Sen. B Hershman and E. Bassler OPPOSE
This bill hurts private landowners participating in state classified forest program. 
Could reduce the amount of forest protected under this important conservation program.

Passed Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy 9-3

SB 342: Timber management. Sen. Mark Stoops OPPOSE
This bill is administratively burdensome and is not science based forest management.

SB 347: Water Resources. Sen. Ed Charbonneau SUPPORT
This bill collects data and information on Indiana’s water resources to support future water resource sustainability actions.

Passed Senate Environmental Affairs Committee 7-0

SB 365: Designation of old forest areas in state forests. Sen. E Bassler, J. Ford, M Stoops OPPOSE
This bill is not science-based management of public forests. Not heard in committee to date.

House Bills:

HB 1082: Environmental rules and standards. Rep. David Wolkins OPPOSE
This bill blocks the state’s ability to pass state-specific environmental rules to address Indiana issues.  
Passed House Committee on Environmental Affairs 7-6

Will be heard in the Senate Committee on Environmental Affairs at 10am on Monday, Feb 15th in Room 223. Contact your ors and let them know that this bill is a bad idea for our natural resources, wildlife and people!

HB 1125: Violations of wildlife protection laws. Rep. Terry Goodin SUPPORT
This bill increases penalties for illegally taking wild animals. Not heard in committee to date.

HB 1155: Designation of old forest areas in state forests. Rep. Mike Braun OPPOSE
This bill is not science-based management of public forests. Not heard in committee to date.

HB 1230: State payments in lieu of property taxes. Rep. Lloyd Arnold WATCH
We are watching this bill. Not heard in committee to date.

HB 1231: Hunting and property management. Rep. Lloyd Arnold OPPOSE

Passed House Natural Resource Committee 11-0. 

IWF opposes the part of this bill that legalizes high powered rifles to be used for hunting. This issue was discussed at length through public input online and in public hearings held by the Natural Resources Commission. Based on the public input, high powered rifles were not approved. This bill circumvents the public input process managed by the NRC.

HB 1246: Various natural resources matters. Rep. Sean Eberhart SUPPORT
This bill cleans up a variety of items related to natural resources.  

Passed House Natural Resources Committee 11-0

HB 1353: President Benjamin Harrison conservation trust fund. Rep. Mike Karickoff SUPPORT
This bill introduces a new funding framework for conservation.  

Passed the House 95-0
Passed House Ways and Means 22-0

Has been referred to the Senate Committee on Appropriations scheduled to meet on Thursday, Feb 18th at 9a in room 431. Ask your senators to support this new funding framework for conservation projects across the state!


Please Click Here for the archived 2015 Legislative session. 

Please Click Here for the archived 2014 Legislative session. 

Please Click Here for the archived 2013 Legislative session. 


Please contact us if you have a question about a specific piece of legislation or anything else.
Thank you for your support and involvement!
317-875-8453, toll free 800-347-3445, or info@indianawildlife.org