More Iowa hunters are shooting wildlife from their vehicles since state lawmakers eased the permit process for concealed weapons. Governor Branstad has blocked efforts by state’s Natural Resource Commission to ban the practice.
A spokesman for Branstad says the governor believes it’s a decision for the legislature, but commission member Janelle Rettig says Iowans should be outraged.
“I am appalled,” Rettig says. “I think it’s without conscience and clearly is a safety issue.” Hunters who don’t have a concealed weapons permit are required to keep their gun in a case and unloaded in the car.
State and federal laws prohibit shooting deer, turkey or migratory game birds from a car, but there’s no restriction on many other species including rabbits, squirrels, pheasants or quail.
Rettig says there should be. “We won’t allow you to text message but you’ll allow you to shoot a shotgun from a moving vehicle,” she says. “I don’t understand how anybody thought that was a good idea.”
This spring, the commission voted unanimously to prohibit hunting from a vehicle — with an exception for paraplegics or amputees, but the governor blocked the rule from moving forward.
His spokesman Tim Albrecht says Branstad believes a licensed and permitted gun carrier should be allowed to shoot a rabid opossum from their vehicle, and should a problem ever arise, the issue should be decided by the legislature.