Wildlife plan to ban high-tech rifle sighting systems sent back for revision

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The legislative commission told wildlife commissioners on Wednesday to rewrite a proposed regulation that would bar the use of high-tech rifle systems designed to enable hunters to kill from a mile away.

Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, said most of the proposed regulation is non-controversial dealing with the use of smokeless powder and limiting hunting calibers. The objections were raised by lobbyist Robert Uithoven representing Tracking Point, a company that makes an electronic rifle sighting system designed to make those long distance shots possible.

Sen. Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, pointed out making a long distance shot at a deer requires a lot of skill. He suggested an electronic system that aims and even fires the rifle when it’s on target seems to be “cheating, sort of.” He asked whether there are rules limiting how long a shot hunters can take.

Past Wildlife Commission Chairman Jeremy Drew said they could pass such a regulation but it would be unenforceable.

As written, the proposed regulation would make it unlawful to hunt big game with any firearm equipped with an electronically or computer controlled firing mechanism.

Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, suggested breaking the proposed regulation in two with the non-controversial parts in one and the electronic siting and firing device rules in another. Legislative Commission Chairman Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas, agreed sending the plan back to Wildlife to work out a compromise.

The other parts of the regulation prohibit hunting big game with any cartridge smaller than .22-caliber or larger than .50-caliber or a rifle with a cartridge case longer than 3 inches. The plan also removes the prohibition against using smokeless powder in muzzle loading rifles.

A revised version of the regulation will be reviewed by lawmakers in January.

The commission also sent back a regulation that would ban all motorized craft from the Truckee River. Hansen said in more than 40 years living in Sparks he has never seen a single motorized craft on the Truckee and questioned why the rule change was needed.

Tyler Turnipseed of Wildlife said the issue came up when someone took a motorized hovercraft down the river, drawing numerous complaints. Turnipseed said Reno, Sparks and Washoe County all supported restricting motorcraft from the Truckee so his agency developed the rule.

But Hansen said the rule was too broad.

“If somebody took a canoe with an electric trolling motor on it he would be violating the law,” Hansen said adding unlike a hovercraft, that wouldn’t be a problem for other users on the Truckee.

“It’s way too broad,” he said.

Roberson told Turnipseed to work with Hansen to resolve the issue and return with a proposal in January.


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