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December 7, 2022
The hunting scene in Indiana offers ample deer harvesting opportunities that you won’t find anywhere else.
Approximately 110,000 white-tailed deer are harvested yearly, with individual counties offering bonus hunting licenses to gain additional tags across the state. Not only that, but landowners can offer their private property for managed antlerless deer hunts.
But white-tailed deer season isn’t the only open season Indiana has to offer — hunters have the chance to harvest turkeys, pheasants, foxes, coyotes, and small game as well.
While the state has specific rules and regulations for acquiring a hunting license, the Department of Natural Resources offers a free and convenient online system for registration and game check-in. Indiana natives and nonresidents alike can purchase their yearly license and set off for a great hunt.
Deer seasons vary from state to state which can be tricky for hunters new to Indiana. If you’re interested in participating in the hunt, here’s what you’ll need to know about approved equipment, licensing, and the dates for upcoming open seasons.
Indiana has various opportunities for hunters to punch a tag compared to other popular hunting states. The Department of Natural Resources has created two unique deer hunting seasons dedicated to population control in urban and rural areas.
The special antlerless season is held in select Indiana counties with bonus antlerless deer available for harvest. However, in 2021, Indiana did not hold the special antlerless season because the state had met its deer quota.
Reduction zone hunting refers to harvesting deer near roadways and urban areas. Hunters must stay within designated spaces and hunt at least a half mile from public roads. Since hunters are reducing the number of deer in dangerous areas, this season permits a bag limit of ten deer but only one antlered deer.
Indiana offers over 300,000 acres of beautiful wildlife areas, state parks, and reservoir properties for hunters to traverse during the open season. Here are some of the favorite spots in the state to fill a tag:
If you’re looking for additional hunting grounds, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has an interactive map for hunters to view nearby parks and wildlife conservation spaces that allow white-tailed deer hunting.
Provided that an Indiana hunter has the proper licensing (the use of crossbows, firearms, or muzzleloaders will require separate licenses), here is a list of permitted hunting gear during deer season:
Visit the Indiana Hunting Regulations website for specific questions or concerns about approved hunting rifles, ammunition, and other equipment.
Before purchasing a deer hunting license, the state of Indiana requires outdoorsmen to complete hunter education courses. Hunters must enter proof of completion while completing the online application for licensing.
For convenience, Indiana hunters may purchase their hunting license in person, by mail, or through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website.
*Archery, Crossbow, Muzzleloader, or Firearm season licenses are sold separately.
At one point, Indiana sold a Comprehensive Lifetime Hunting License, allowing residents to hunt in any open season offered in the state. While Indiana stopped selling lifetime licenses in 2005, any hunter who purchased this exclusive license still enjoys their hunting privileges today.
Hunters may go afield to harvest a deer during the legal hunting hours: 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. Outdoorsmen on the hunt must wear fluorescent orange on their vest, coat, jacket, coveralls, or hat at all times.
Bag limits will vary by license type and county limits. However, hunters may only bag one antlered deer for the entire deer season. The only exception to the one antlered limit would be tagging a second antlered deer during reduction zone season.
Using drones, spotlighting, red dot sights, and bait is illegal in Indiana. In addition, hunters may not participate in “Party Hunting,” where a group shoots to fill everyone’s bag limit.
Within 48 hours of harvesting deer, hunters are required by law to report their tag. The state has streamlined the reporting process, so hunters may check-in online, visit an in-store license retailer, or call the Department of Natural Resources to confirm their harvest.
The majority of states in America offer deer hunting, but Indiana has some other notable open seasons that make it a favorable hunting destination. Here are some additional small game Indiana hunting seasons:
If you’re hoping to hunt with your dog, there’s even a season for man’s best friend to come along! From February 1st to October 25th, dogs are permitted to chase raccoons and opossums. During this season, hunters may not use archery or firearms, so save the hunting equipment for the open season that starts on November 8th.
If you aim to tag as many deer as possible this upcoming season, head to Indiana. The state is looking for hunters to help manage the deer population on private land, urban areas, and near roadways.
Additionally, select counties participate in the special antlerless season, where hunters have the opportunity to purchase another license and punch more tags.
Indiana hunting season dates will vary across the state and by county. Please visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website for specific rules, regulations, and dates.
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Mike Slinkard is a life long bow hunter, professional archer, successful entrepreneur, and self described science geek from the rural town of John Day Oregon. Mike has spent his life in close proximity to all types of animals. His grandfather was a well known cattle and horse rancher who first instilled Mike’s keen interest in animals and why they react the way they do in different situations. Mike’s insatiable curiosity in this realm led him to team with other professionals to make the HECS discovery in 2009. Mike has hunted all over the world and has taken over 30 species with archery gear including 48 elk to date. Mike currently hosts “Hunting with HECS TV” on the Pursuit Channel. He has also written many bow hunting and archery articles as well as being a guest on many different hunting podcasts.