Natural Resources Committee – Week 22, 2020


HF 716 – Firearms requirements for hunting deer

HF 716 makes changes to existing law regarding restrictions on allowed firearms used when hunting deer. Currently, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has a number of rules to limit the firearms and ammunition used when hunting deer with pistols. The law prohibits the use of shoulder stocks and long-barrel modifications when hunting with a pistol, and only allows the use of center-fire, straight-wall ammunition.

The bill would eliminate those restrictions on firearm modifications and ammunition from Code. Instead, handgun regulations would mirror federal regulations, meaning more types of firearms and attachments would be allowed. The bill would also restrict the NRC from adopting regulations on ammunition outside of stated limits on the size of the projectile. This would allow “necked down” cartridges that are not currently allowed under law.

The bill also removes the prohibition on using a pistol for deer hunting by someone under 16. Under the bill, a person under 20 could hunt deer using a pistol as long as they are accompanied by a responsible person with a hunting license who is at least 21.

Firearms advocates are in favor of this legislation because they believe the current law and rules unnecessarily restrict the types of firearms and ammunition that can be used for hunting deer. Federal regulations are inconsistent with current state regulations designed to encourage safe and ethical hunting behavior.
[6/10: 37-13 (No: Bolkcom, Celsi, Giddens, Hogg, Jochum, Mathis, Petersen, Quirmbach, Rozenboom, Schneider, J. Smith, Wahls)]

HF 2455 – Tracking wounded deer using a dog

HF 2455 would allow a licensed deer hunter to use a leashed dog to track and retrieve a wounded deer. The dog must remain under physical control of the hunter with a maximum leash length of 50 feet. The dog must be trained in deer-blood tracking.

The use of dogs while hunting deer is currently prohibited because the state does not allow the use of dogs to chase or harass deer.
[6/10: 48-1 (No: Celsi; Absent: Bisignano)]