Indiana Fixes Rifle Hunting Goof for Deer Season

Hunters can again use rifles for deer on public land for the upcoming season, after a new law accidentally banned their use.

Hunters harvested 44,673 deer with rifles last season in Indiana
Hunters harvested 44,673 deer with rifles last season in Indiana.photo from fieldandstream.com

We reported last month that due to a legal goof, Indiana deer hunters would not be able to use rifles for the upcoming season on public land.

Last week, officials in Indiana signed an emergency order to help mitigated the problem, stemming from a new law that accidentally barred hunters from using rifles on state and federal land for deer hunting—a rule which technically can't be changed until the season beginning next fall.

The emergency rule was signed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Friday and filed with the Natural Resources Commission and the Legislative Services Agency, according to this story from guns.com.

"Rifle cartridges that were allowed in previous years on public land for deer hunting are allowed on public land again this year during the deer firearms season, the reduction zone season (in zones where local ordinances allow the use of a firearm), special hunts on other public lands such as State Parks and National Wildlife Refuges, and special antlerless season," says a release from DNR, directing hunters back to the detailed regs on taking deer in the state, listing calibers for rifles.

The bill that caused the mess was meant to actually expand hunting opportunities by allowing the use of more rifle calibers for deer hunting. Instead, the way the new law was written meant it applied only to private land and eliminated the public options for all rifle calibers.

Hunters harvested 44,673 deer with rifles last season in Indiana, or 37 percent of all deer taken. The Indiana rifle season begins Nov. 18.