DES MOINES, Iowa (Associated Press) — Deer hunters would be able to use semi-automatic rifles during a newly created antlerless season in January under a bill approved by lawmakers Tuesday and sent to the governor.
The measure given final approval by the House is designed to help control the deer population and respond to complaints that excess deer eat corn and are hazardous to motorists.
“The purpose of this season is not to hunt for sport but to manage the size of the herd, which is why more efficient and effective firearms are being authorized,” said Republican Sen. Ken Rozenboom, of Oskaloosa.
Charles City Democratic Rep. Todd Prichard, a former active-duty U.S. Army soldier and now a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, opposed the bill. He noted the AR-15 type rifles allowed for hunting were similar to those he was trained to use in the military and that ammunition authorized in the bill can travel up to 2½ miles.
He said he had about 200 hours of basic rifle marksmanship training to learn how to handle similar weapons and be combat certified.
Prichard said his home is close enough to the edge of town that such weapons fired from hunting areas near Charles City could put his family within the reach of bullets fired from such weapons.
Deer hunting with AR-15 rifles is allowed in other states. Many states have restrictions for when they can be used and regulate the type of ammunition allowed.