Last year the House rejected House Bill 1112, which sought to expand the no-shooting zone around occupied buildings, churches, schoolhouses, and livestock from 660 feet to 900 feet. That safety zone doesn’t ban hunting within that proximity to residents and livestock; it just requires that hunters ask the landowner for permission to shoot there.
Rep. Tom Pischke (R-25/Dell Rapids) led opposition to expanding the safety zone, telling the House that HB 1112 was just another attack on (the lazy and dangerous practice of) road-hunting. In further opposition to HB 1112, Rep. Tim Goodwin (R-30/Sheridan Lake) said he would gladly stand at the end of a football field and let people open fire with a shotgun at him from the opposite endzone. Prime sponsor Rep. Rocky Blare (R-21/Ideal) did not take Rep. Goodwin up on his William Tell offer; Blare simply insisted he wasn’t out to hurt road-hunting, but the final House vote killing HB 1112 was 27–40.
Representative Blare wants to try again. This time, he’s co-sponsoring a measure primed by his District 21 seatmate Rep. Caleb Finck (R-21/Tripp), House Bill 1072, to take another shot at expanding the no-fire zone to 900 feet. As with last year’s bill, HB 1072 still allows shooting at critters within the safety zone; hunters just have to get permission of the landowner first. District 21 Senator Erin Tobin (R-21/Winner) is also on board as a sponsor.
Landowners, outfitters, soybean growers, and the Farm Bureau testified for the expansion of the safety zone last year; the South Dakota Wildlife Federation and the Izaak Walton League testified against it.