The most popular phase of Indiana deer hunting begins on Saturday, Nov. 16,
with firearms season, and it serves as a reminder to hunters: follow the
rules, practice ethical hunting behavior, and have an enjoyable, safe time
in the woods.
It’s estimated that at least a quarter-million Hoosiers participate in
firearms season, which runs from Saturday through Dec. 1, the Indiana
Department of Natural Resources said in a statement released on Thursday.
Hunters are required to have a valid deer license unless otherwise exempt.
Exemptions are listed in the DNR Hunting/Trapping Guide, available at
outdoor retail stores or online at dnr.IN.gov/fishwild/2343.htm
Deer licenses can be purchased at IndianaOutdoor.IN.gov as well as at many
DNR-managed properties and at hundreds of retail outlets across the state.
A deer firearms license costs $24 for Indiana residents, $150 for
A firearms license allows a hunter to take one antlered deer with a legal
firearm. A bonus antlerless license is needed to take antlerless deer during
firearms season. Bonus antlerless county quotas are set for each of
Indiana’s 92 counties.
Archery season, which began Oct. 1, runs concurrently with firearms season
and ends on Jan. 5.
Successful hunters are required to report their harvest within 48 hours,
either to a DNR-designated check station or through the CheckIN Game
program. CheckINgame.dnr.IN.gov is a free online option, or the call-in
option can be used at (800) 419-1326 for a $3 charge (Visa or MasterCard
In 2012, hunters reported a record harvest of 136,248 deer, with 55 percent
of the total coming during firearms season.
The DNR manages about 350,000 acres of public land--state forests, state
reservoirs and state fish and wildlife areas--which are available to deer
hunters. Hoosier National Forest offers another 202,000 acres.
A considerable amount of deer hunting also occurs on private land.
Whether hunting on private or public ground, hunters should practice safe
hunting habits. Wear hunter orange clothing, identify your target before
pulling the trigger, and respect private property.
Hunting accidents are extremely rare, but when they do occur, it usually
involves falls from elevated hunting stands. The DNR Division of Law
Enforcement records about 30 hunting-related accidents each year, and about
two-thirds involve falls from elevated tree stands. When using such a stand,
an easy way to avoid injury is to use a full-body safety harness. It can
mean the difference between minor injuries or falling and sustaining serious
injuries or even death.
“Invest in a quality safety harness,” DNR Director Cameron Clark said. “It’s
the least expensive life insurance policy you’ll ever buy.”