Deer rifle cartridges may be changing. Again. With HB1415, the legislature is trying to settle the problems created last year when they addressed the issue of deer rifles.
After much gnashing of teeth and renting of garments, the bill was passed in 2016 that allowed the use of commonly found centerfire rifle cartridges for deer hunting, but only on private land and only in certain calibers.
The bill only served to create more confusion on what was legal and what wasn’t.
For years rifle cartridges, such as the .35 Remington, could be used during deer season as long as they were used in pistols. Pistol cartridges such as the .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum could be used in pistols or rifles. Adding to more confusion were the slightly modified rifle cartridges, usually shorten versions of commonly found cartridges such as the .45-70 and .35 Remington, and wildcat cartridges such as the .35 Hoosier and .35 WSSM, all to get the case length at or under the mandated 1.80” maximum.
Last year’s bill legalized cartridges that were .243/6mm in caliber and .300/.308 in caliber, so popular rounds like the .243 Winchester, .308 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum, and even the .300 RUM could be used. But, equally powerful and popular rounds like the 7mm-08, 7mm Remington Magnum, .270 Winchester, and countless others were not legal.
This year the legislature is trying to correct some of the issues it created last year with HB1415 by opening deer hunting up to any cartridge .243” and larger, with a case length of 1.16” and longer.
The ten-round possession limit stays in place as does the private land provision.
Love it or hate it, the new requirements hopefully will clear up confusion and frustration for hunters and Indiana Conservation Officers alike.
The wording of HB1415 (as of today) follows:
SECTION 6. IC 14-22-2-8, AS ADDED BY P.L.110-2016, SECTION 1, IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2017]: Sec. 8. (a) This section applies to a hunting season beginning after June 30, 2016, and ending before January 1, 2020.
(b) A hunter may use a rifle during the firearms season to hunt deer subject to the following:
(1) The use of a rifle is permitted only on privately owned land.
(2) The rifle must have a barrel length of at least sixteen (16) inches.
(3) The rifle must be chambered for a cartridge that is two hundred forty-three thousandths (.243) of an inch in diameter or larger. one (1) of the following cartridges:
(4) The rifle must fire a cartridge that has a minimum case length of one and sixteen-hundredths (1.16) inches.
(4) (5) A hunter may not possess more than ten (10) cartridges for the rifle while hunting deer under this section.
(5) (6) The rifle must meet any other requirements established by the department.
(c) The use of a full metal jacketed bullet to hunt deer is unlawful.
(d) The department shall report on the impact of the use of rifles to hunt deer under this section to the governor and, in an electronic format under IC 5-14-6, the general assembly before February 15, 2020.
(e) This section expires June 30, 2020
Bold designates new wording. Struck out indicates wording to be removed.
If this year’s legislation follows the same path as last year, it may change on a daily basis, making things worse, but hopefully making things better.
The full text of Indiana HB1415 in its current form can be read at http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1415#document-4b12ddec