Hunting

Reynolds expands deer hunting with semi-automatic rifles

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa hunters will be able to use semi-automatic firearms, including AR-15 rifles, to kill deer in more areas of the state during one season newly created woodfree in January under a bill signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Iowa lawmakers passed the bill in May and it was signed by Reynolds on Friday.

Advocates including Republican Sen. Ken Rozenboom, a farmer from Oskaloosa, said the new law is designed to help control the deer population and address complaints that an excess of deer eat corn and are dangerous to animals. motorists.

Iowa has had January deer hunting seasons using semi-automatic rifles in the past, but they were limited to a few sparsely populated counties where deer were more of a problem. The bill is expected to expand January hunting counties from five to 15, according to Department of Natural Resources rules.

The bill will also allow hunters in the new season to use smaller .223 caliber bullets, which could make it harder for a hunter to kill a larger animal like a deer.

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, expressed concern during debate on the bill that ammunition from smaller calibers allowed in the bill could travel far enough to reach populated communities close to hunting areas.

Deer hunting with AR-15 rifles is permitted in other states. Many states have restrictions on when they can be used and regulate what type of ammunition is allowed.

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