Deer Firearms Hunting Season Opens Nov. 15


(Text of Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources Press Release for fall, 2008 deer hunting)


Indiana Deer Harvest Outlook

Favorable weather and a few other factors could combine to produce a record harvest this deer firearm season, which opens Nov. 15.

"We continue to have a healthy deer herd in Indiana," said DNR deer management biologist Chad Stewart. "Hunters can expect to have a tremendous season in 2008. I wouldn't be surprised if we produced a record harvest this year."

Stewart noted that the weather so far this year has been cooler than in recent years past, which should increase deer movement and get more hunters in the field because the weather will be more comfortable for hunting. He said he expects that these two factors could lead to an increased number of deer taken this year.

He also emphasized that EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease), a deer disease that was detected in many parts of the state last year, will hardly be a factor this season.

"The number of counties (with reports of EHD) is down drastically from last year, as are the total number of reports," Stewart said. "In most of those counties, only one or two reports were received. Counties affected over the past two years should recover somewhat this year, and should contribute to more deer harvested by hunters this upcoming season. More deer 'on the hoof' in many areas compared to last year should again contribute to a successful year by hunters."

Buy early

Turns out hunters, like some holiday shoppers, like to buy late. But that can be risky.

According to DNR wildlife information specialist Kevin Hoffman, approximately 30 percent (about 55,000) of all licenses sold in November of last year were sold on the Friday before firearm season opening day. He hopes that those numbers change this season.

"You shouldn't wait until the last minute to buy your firearm license," he said, "It's a good idea to purchase them a few days in advance to avoid any problems."

Computer-related glitches from too many people buying at the same time can be one such setback.

Helping the Hungry

An increased harvest this year could benefit not only hunters but also Hoosiers who need help feeding themselves and their family. Harvesting more deer means a possible increase in donations of venison to organizations that help feed Indiana's needy.

One such group, Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH), provided more than 200,000 individual meals last year. To donate a deer, hunters should contact a participating nearby meat processor, as listed in the 2008-09 DNR Hunting/Trapping Guide (also available at, under Hunting Guide), then take the deer to that location. FHFH pays the processing fees. It's also possible for hunters to donate only a portion of a deer.

Stewart said there are additional benefits besides helping feed the hungry.

"First and foremost, the meat is being used by those who need it the most," he said. "But it also provides hunters the opportunity to hunt longer because they can harvest more deer than they need, yet not waste the meat. This has the potential for hunters to show goodwill toward their fellow Hoosiers while effectively managing the deer population."

The Sportsman's Benevolence Fund is raising money to support statewide deer donation programs through partnerships with non-profit organizations like FHFH.

The Department of Natural Resources supports the fund by selling metallic pins sporting the image of a deer. This year, 25,000 pins were purchased by the DNR Division of Law Enforcement and are being sold for $5, which can potentially generate $125,000 to help feed the hungry.

Information on where to purchase a pin is at To make a donation to FHFH, please contact Deb Treesh at

Q and A on regulations

1) What kind of license do I need to hunt deer with a firearm? How much does it cost?

Generally, a deer license is required for each deer taken. Specific exemptions can be found on pages 2 and 3 of the 2007-08 Hunting and Trapping Guide (also available at The kind of license needed depends on which portion of the season in which you choose to hunt and the equipment you use. You must have a firearm license or bonus antlerless license to hunt with a handgun, shotgun, rifle or muzzleloader during the firearm season. A firearm license is not valid during the muzzleloader season. You must have a muzzleloader license or a bonus antlerless license to hunt with a muzzleloader during the muzzleloader season. Resident deer licenses cost $24.

2) How does the bonus antlerless permit system work?

The bonus antlerless permit system allows hunters to kill additional deer in some counties. A map on page 17 of the 2007-08 Hunting and Trapping guide (also available at indicates the county quota for bonus antler¬less deer. If you are hunting in a county that has a county quota of one or more, you may use bonus antlerless deer licenses starting in the early archery season and continuing throughout the firearm, muzzleloader, and late archery season, using the equipment that is legal during the season in which you are hunting. You may take one bonus antlerless deer per bonus antlerless license. These licenses may be used in any county, but, of course, you may not take more than the county quota for bonus antlerless deer in any specific county. All current bonus antlerless licenses have been valid for hunting since Oct. 1.

3) What types of firearms can be used during the firearm deer season?

Shotguns, handguns, rifles with certain cartridges, muzzleloading long guns and muzzleloading handguns are legal during the firearm season. Muzzleloading firearms are legal during the muzzleloader season and firearm season, but non-muzzleloading firearms are not legal during the muzzleloading season.

Hunters may carry more than one type of legal firearm when hunting during the firearm season only. Shotguns must be 10-, 12-, 16- or 20-gauge or .410 bore loaded with slugs or saboted bullets. Rifled slug barrels are permitted. Combination rifle-shotguns are not allowed.

Muzzleloading firearms must be .44 cali¬ber or larger loaded with a single bullet of at least .357 caliber. Saboted bullets are allowed, provided that the bullet is .357 caliber or larger. A muzzleloading firearm must be loaded from the muzzle. Multiple-barrel muzzleloading long guns are allowed.

Hunters have the option of using rifles chambered for specific cartridges. Rifles that fire a bullet of .357-inch diameter or larger; have a minimum case length of 1.16 inches; and have a maximum case length of 1.625 inches are legal to use only during the deer firearm season. Some cartridges legal for deer hunting include the .357 Magnum, .38-.40 Winchester, .41 Magnum, .41 Special, .44 Magnum, .44 Special, .44-.40 Winchester, .45 Colt, .454 Casull, .475 Linebaugh, .480 Ruger, .50 Action Express, and .500 S&W.

Handguns, other than muzzleloading, must have a barrel at least 4 inches long and must fire a bullet of .243-inch diam¬eter or larger. The handgun cartridge case, without the bullet, must be at least 1.16 inches long. Full metal-jacketed bullets are not permitted. Handguns are not permitted on any military areas. Some types of hand¬gun cartridges legal for deer hunting include .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .44 Special, .45 Colt, .45 Long Colt, .45 Winchester Magnum, .35 Remington and .357 Herrett.

Some illegal handgun cartridges for deer hunting are .38 Special, .38 Smith and Wesson, .38 Colt New Police, .38/200, .38 Long Colt, .38 Super, .38 ACP, .38 Colt Auto, .45 ACP, .45 Automatic and .45 Auto Rim. All .25/.20, .32/.20 and .30 carbine ammunition is also prohibited.

Muzzleloading handguns are allowed. The muzzleloading handgun must be single shot, .50 caliber or larger, loaded with bullets at least .44 caliber and have a barrel at least 12 inches long, measured from the base of the breech plug, excluding tangs and other projec¬tions to the end of the barrel, including the muzzle crown.

It is legal to carry a handgun while hunting deer during the archery, firearm and muzzle¬loader seasons, as long as the handgun is possessed under a handgun permit. It is not legal to take a deer with a handgun, except during the firearm and muzzleloader seasons and in compliance with DNR regulations.

4) How does the new apprentice license system work?

Apprentice licenses were created to allow individuals to experience hunting before going through a hunter education class.

An individual of any age, resident or nonresident, can purchase an apprentice
hunting license (without going through a hunter education class). An individual can purchase only three apprentice hunting licenses, of any combination, during his or her lifetime.

While hunting, the apprentice hunter must be in close proximity to and be able to communicate at all times with a hunter who is at least 18 years old and has a valid hunting license (unless exempt from needing a hunting license). The individual who accompanies the apprentice hunter cannot accompany more than two apprentice hunters at one time while in the field.

5) I have a disability. Can I obtain a permit that allows me special concessions in order to hunt?

The DNR does issue permits to individuals with a disability that prevents them from hunting under standard regulations. An individual with a physical impairment resulting from an injury or disease, excluding impairment from the normal aging process, may be eligible.

Special permits allow hunters who cannot walk or have serious walking limitations to hunt from a vehicle. On state and federal lands, permit holders must obtain permission in advance from a property manager to gain access to lands or roads that are otherwise closed. Hunters who have a disability that prevents them from using a regular bow may be issued a permit to use a crossbow.

To apply for a Persons with Disabilities Hunting Permit, you must complete an application form, and a physician must complete a statement of disability form.

Rules governing the use of a Persons with Disabilities Hunting Permit and application forms are available from the Division of Fish and Wildlife, 402 W. Washington St., W273, Indianapolis, IN 46204; (317) 232-4102 or at To be considered for fall hunting seasons, applications must be received no later than Aug. 1, of the year in which the applicant wishes to hunt.

6) If someone harasses me while I'm hunting is there anything I can do about it?

Yes, it is illegal to intentionally interfere with the legal taking of a game animal by another person on public or private land without permission of the landowner.

Call your local conservation or the DNR Division of Law Enforcement headquarters at
(317) 232-4012.

7) My buddy has a license but can't hunt on opening day. Can I use his license to shoot a deer for him or her?

No, this is referred to as party hunting and is illegal. A party hunting arrangement is when a hunter not only shoots to fill his/her license but shoots additional deer to fill the licenses of other hunting party members.

8) I see a lot of baiting products for sale at sporting goods stores, such Deer Can and, Stump Likker. Is it OK to use these for hunting deer?

No, these products are considered bait; it is illegal to use bait to take deer. Bait is considered any product that is trans¬ported into a hunting area and placed there for animal consumption.

Baits can be in the form of salt, mineral blocks, prepared solid or liquid that is intended for the animal to eat, including the products mentioned above and others like them. An area is considered to have been baited for 10 days after the removal of the bait and any affected soil.

9) If food products like that are illegal, what about cover scents that smell like acorns or apples?

Using a product to mask your own scent, including products designed to eliminate scent, is legal.

10) If I've killed a deer, do I have to tell anyone?

Yes. Immediately upon killing a deer, you must complete a tag on paper that states the hunt¬er's name, address, sex of the deer and the day and month of the kill. You are not required to place the tag on the deer while dragging it out of the field as long as you have filled in the required information and carry that information with you, though you must maintain immediate custody of and visual contact with the deer carcass during this time.

The tag must be attached to the deer before you leave the deer or load the deer in a vehicle. The person who takes the deer must cause the delivery of the deer to an official deer check station within 48 hours of the kill for registration.

For a complete listing of check stations, see pages 42 to 49 of the 2008-2009 Hunting and Trapping Guide (also available at or go to . Before leaving the check station, you must affix the permanent seal to the carcass. The permanent seal must remain attached until the carcass is placed in the custody of another person for processing or until the carcass has been processed and packaged. The deer head must remain attached to the carcass until the tag is attached and locked at the deer check station.

IDNR Fish & Wildlife Div. web site

©Copyright 2008. Donald Lee Jordan

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