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Much can be found lately on internet forums and social media about the proposal to increase the use of high powered rifles for deer hunting here in Indiana.   This, and the fact that deer numbers seem to be down, have some hunters concerned about our sport.  Many fingers are pointing at our Department of Natural Resources for not managing the deer herd to satisfy all of the needs and desires of the many Much can be found lately on internet forums and social media about the proposal to increase the use of different hunting factions within our state.   Some landowners and farmers wouldn’t care if all of the deer were killed, die hard bow hunters would like everyone to only hunt with bows, some hunters think that we should only kill trophy bucks and some hunters want more generous seasons and bag limits to help introduce their children to hunting and keep them interested.  None of these (and many more) views are right or wrong they are just different opinions.   Much of the talk is that hunting with modern rifles is some crazy new concept and an assault on our deer herd.

It appears that not everyone commenting on the topic has a clear cut definition of what a high powered rifle is.  Is it a rifle that shoots a certain distance or a rifle with a certain amount of energy? A generally accepted term for high powered rifle is any center fire caliber that was designed to be fired from a rifle.  By any of these definitions we can already hunt deer with some modern high powered rifles in Indiana as listed in the state regulations.   We also are allowed to hunt any other game mammal with any firearm we choose.  Most states and countries hunt all of their big game animals with modern rifles and they have not wiped everything out.

For years Indiana deer hunters have had to hunt with firearms that fall short of being great deer guns.  While most of the world hunts big game animals with modern rifles that are the best that they can be, we are left to hunt with inferior (albeit greatly improved upon) firearms.

In many of the comments that I have read I see the 400 yard mark used as a reference point for objecting to the use of modern firearms.  Objectors write “now you will have guys attempting to shoot a deer at 400 yards”.   [I saw a Television show the other day where a guy shot an elk at over 400 yards with a muzzleloader .  I am not passing judgment here but is this conscientious hunting or a stunt?]  Either way it would be allowed in Indiana under the current rules.  If this were done with a .338 Winchester or some other suitable high powered rifle I would just think that it was a good shot from steady hands.

Anyone reading this, that is really interested, please go out and actually measure off 400 yards.   Mark this well, don’t guess!   Now really take a good look at how far that is!

I am a veteran of over 40 hunts outside of Indiana with over half of those outside of the country.  I have  never shot  at anything at 400 yards.  I am not saying that it can’t be done because it absolutely can with a good rifle in good hands.   I know from experience that you can usually get closer.   Theoretically I could shoot a deer at 400 yards on the land that I hunt, and I don’t see anything wrong with that, but realistically I would be lucky to take a shot out to half of that distance due to terrain and vegetation.  I want the accuracy of a quality modern hunting rifle to make the best shot and the most humane kill possible.

There is a reason why hunting with spears and bows with arrows evolved into hunting with muzzleloaders that evolved into hunting with modern hunting rifles.  The reason is that modern rifles are more efficient in every respect.  I have hunted all over the planet and with the exception of Indiana and Southern Michigan I have never been required to hunt big game animals with shotgun, muzzleloader or rifle in a handgun caliber.  Some countries do not even allow bow hunting and consider archery equipment to be inhumane and ineffective.

There is a lot of talk about the lower deer numbers and proposed rifle hunting being another “assault” on our deer herd. I agree that the deer numbers are down but compared to what?  When compared to the astronomically high numbers a few years ago where deer in many parts of the state exceeded their carrying capacity, they are down.  If you compare the numbers of deer we have now to the deer that were around in the 70’s and 80’s we still have a lot of deer.   In the mid 1970’s when I started deer hunting I had more land here in Porter County to hunt than I could have ever hunted and deer were all but nonexistent on most of it.  Now even with lower numbers, deer are everywhere in our state.  Why should we expect our deer population to remain exactly the same all of the time, nothing else does?

We hunters have a lot more power than we exercise when it comes to our deer herd and hunting.  Individually and collectively we can have some control over what goes on in our woods and fields. It is not about the methods used in hunting it is about the number of deer taken.  If you feel that deer numbers are down in your area, use some restraint while hunting.  Don’t shoot as many deer and talk with other hunters about doing the same.   I am not sure if hunters will shoot more deer with rifles but I am convinced that they will recover more that are shot.   We owe it to the animals that we hunt to be as humane as possible, and that is what modern hunting rifles will help to provide.

If muzzleloaders, handguns and rifles in handgun calibers are so inferior that hunting with modern firearms will increase the number of deer shot and recovered maybe we shouldn’t have been hunting with those three in the first place.

As hunters we cannot control what our neighbors do.  We cannot control diseases that harm our deer and we have very limited control of predators at best.  What we can however, control are our own actions.  Don’t blame the DNR for low deer numbers and then still keep shooting all of the deer that you Much can be found lately on internet forums and social media about the proposal to increase the use of high powered rifles for deer hunting here in Indiana.   This, and the fact that deer numbers seem to be down, have some hunters concerned about our sport.  Many fingers are pointing at our Department of Natural Resources for not managing the deer herd to satisfy all of the needs and desires of the many different hunting factions within our state.   Some landowners and farmers wouldn’t care if all of the deer were killed, die hard bow hunters would like everyone to only hunt with bows, some hunters think that we should only kill trophy bucks and some hunters want more generous seasons and bag limits to help introduce their children to hunting and keep them interested.  None of these (and many more) views are right or wrong they are just different opinions.   Much of the talk is that hunting with modern rifles is some crazy new concept and an assault on our deer herd.

It appears that not everyone commenting on the topic has a clear cut definition of what a high powered rifle is.  Is it a rifle that shoots a certain distance or a rifle with a certain amount of energy? A generally accepted term for high powered rifle is any center fire caliber that was designed to be fired from a rifle.  By any of these definitions we can already hunt deer with some modern high powered rifles in Indiana as listed in the state regulations.   Most states and countries hunt all of their big game animals with modern rifles and they have not wiped everything out.

For years Indiana deer hunters have had to hunt with firearms that fall short of being great deer guns.  While most of the world hunts big game animals with modern rifles that are the best that they can be, we are left to hunt with inferior (albeit greatly improved upon) firearms.

In many of the comments that I have read I see the 400 yard mark used as a reference point for objecting to the use of modern firearms.  Objectors write “now you will have guys attempting to shoot a deer at 400 yards”.   [I saw a Television show the other day where a guy shot an elk at over 400 yards with a muzzleloader .  I am not passing judgment here but is this conscientious hunting or a stunt?]  Either way it would be allowed in Indiana under the current rules.  If this were done with a .338 Winchester or some other suitable high powered rifle I would just think that it was a good shot from steady hands.

Anyone reading this, that is really interested, please go out and actually measure off 400 yards.   Mark this well, don’t guess!   Now really take a good look at how far that is!

I am a veteran of over 40 hunts outside of Indiana with over half of those outside of the country.  I have  never shot  at anything at 400 yards.  I am not saying that it can’t be done because it absolutely can with a good rifle in good hands.   I know from experience that you can usually get closer.   Theoretically I could shoot a deer at 400 yards on the land that I hunt, and I don’t see anything wrong with that, but realistically I would be lucky to take a shot out to half of that distance due to terrain and vegetation.  I want the accuracy of a quality modern hunting rifle to make the best shot and the most humane kill possible.

There is a reason why hunting with spears and bows with arrows evolved into hunting with muzzleloaders that evolved into hunting with modern hunting rifles.  The reason is that modern rifles are more efficient in every respect.  I have hunted all over the planet and with the exception of Indiana and Southern Michigan I have never been required to hunt big game animals with shotgun, muzzleloader or rifle in a handgun caliber.  Some countries do not even allow bow hunting and consider archery equipment to be inhumane and ineffective.

There is a lot of talk about the lower deer numbers and proposed rifle hunting being another “assault” on our deer herd. I agree that the deer numbers are down but compared to what?  When compared to the astronomically high numbers a few years ago where deer in many parts of the state exceeded their carrying capacity, they are down.  If you compare the numbers of deer we have now to the deer that were around in the 70’s and 80’s we still have a lot of deer.   In the mid 1970’s when I started deer hunting I had more land here in Porter County to hunt than I could have ever hunted and deer were all but nonexistent on most of it.  Now even with lower numbers, deer are everywhere in our state.  Why should we expect our deer population to remain exactly the same all of the time, nothing else does?

We hunters have a lot more power than we exercise when it comes to our deer herd and hunting.  Individually and collectively we can have some control over what goes on in our woods and fields. It is not about the methods used in hunting it is about the number of deer taken.  If you feel that deer numbers are down in your area, use some restraint while hunting.  Don’t shoot as many deer and talk with other hunters about doing the same.   I am not sure if hunters will shoot more deer with rifles but I am convinced that they will recover more that are shot.   We owe it to the animals that we hunt to be as humane as possible, and that is what modern hunting rifles will help to provide.

If muzzleloaders, handguns and rifles in handgun calibers are so inferior that hunting with modern firearms will increase the number of deer shot and recovered maybe we shouldn’t have been hunting with those three in the first place.

As hunters we cannot control what our neighbors do.  We cannot control diseases that harm our deer and we have very limited control of predators at best.  What we can however, control are our own actions.  Don’t blame the DNR for low deer numbers and then still keep shooting all of the deer that you are allowed.  After all, no-one is holding a high powered rifle to your head.

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