Hunting in Indiana is a popular outdoor activity that revolves around various game animals like deer, turkey, and squirrel, along with opportunities to hunt small and woodland games. The state offers numerous programs that benefit hunters, such as the Hunters Helping Farmers Program, connecting hunters with landowners to manage antlerless deer populations. However, it is crucial for hunters to be aware of Indiana’s hunting regulations and requirements to avoid severe repercussions for violations.
Hunting in Indiana is a beloved pastime for many outdoor enthusiasts. The state offers a diverse range of game animals and hunting opportunities, making it an attractive destination for hunters of all skill levels. From deer to turkey, foxes to raccoons, the state’s wildlife provides abundant hunting opportunities.
Indiana Hunting Regulations
To ensure responsible and sustainable hunting practices, Indiana has established several regulations that all hunters must adhere to. Violating these regulations can result in severe penalties, so hunters are advised to be well-informed about the following rules:
Lawful Hunting Hours in Indiana
Hunting hours for different game animals and wildlife are defined by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. For example:
- Turkeys Hunting Hours: One hour and thirty minutes before sunrise until sunset. However, hunting hours for turkeys may vary in different hunting lands within the state.
- Deer Hunting Hours: One hour and thirty minutes before sunrise to one hour and thirty minutes after sunset.
- Waterfowls Hunting Hours: One hour and thirty minutes before sunrise until sunset. Different public hunting lands in Indiana may have specific hunting hours.
For small games in Indiana, there are no defined hunting hours, except for rabbits on some Indiana DNR hunting properties. Furbearers, on the other hand, have no hunting or trapping hours.
Regulations for Wildlife Found Dead
If a game animal or wildlife is found dead in Indiana after being hit by a motor vehicle, a conservation officer, law enforcement officer, or Indiana DNR official can grant permission to possess the dead animal. If a game animal dies from other causes, a conservation officer or designated personnel can issue a possession permit. However, any wildlife or game animal found dead from unknown causes must be reported to the Indiana DNR.
Disturbance of Wildlife Homes
Hunters in Indiana are strictly prohibited from disturbing game animals in their homes, including dens, holes, burrows, nests, etc. Disturbance includes activities like shooting, pursuing, digging, cutting, chipping, using chemicals, smoke, fire, ferrets, or small game to drive out larger game.
While mechanical devices to disturb games in their homes are also prohibited, traps that are legally set are an exception. Introducing other mechanical devices or wearing devices to aid in climbing trees and poles is also prohibited for protection reasons.
Trespassing on private properties while hunting, trapping, or pursuing game animals is strictly prohibited. Landowners and hunters seeking permission from landowners must always request permission. Indiana provides private land permission-seeking forms on their website to facilitate this process.
Using Drones to Hunt
Indiana prohibits the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to locate, search, detect, and scout game animals for hunting purposes for at least 2 weeks before the hunting season of that specific game animal. However, using drones is allowed for wildlife control, research, and agricultural production.
For this regulation, unmanned aerial vehicles are those without physical human operators, capable of flying through remote control or automated programming methods.
Spotlighting While Hunting
Using a spotlight or any form of artificial light from vehicles when in possession of hunting weapons like firearms and archery equipment is prohibited for hunting purposes. An exception is made for fur-bearing games and aquatic life like frogs and crayfish while fishing in Indiana waterbodies. The use of red dot sights is allowed for hunting in the state.
Hunting with a Vehicle
Pursuing or hunting mammals and bird games in Indiana with any motor-driven vehicle, including motorboats, is prohibited. Exceptions are made for disabled hunters with permits and for using vehicles to assess lawfully set traps in hunting lands. The use of motorboats to take waterfowls is also allowed if the motorboat is immobile, motionless, or anchored.
Carrying loaded firearms in off-road vehicles is prohibited unless the firearms are possessed legally, the owner is on their personally owned property, or the owner has permission from a landowner to possess firearms on private property.
Hunter’s Dressing Requirements
Hunters in Indiana are required to wear fluorescent orange outer garments like caps, overalls, coats, hats, jackets, etc., or patches of the color when hunting certain games such as turkey, pheasant, deer, quail, rabbit, and squirrel. Camouflage decorated garments do not meet this requirement.
Indiana Hunting License, Permits, and Tags
Indiana issues various licenses, stamps, permits, and tags for residents and non-residents, categorized based on age, grade, and the type of games.
Youth licenses in Indiana include:
- Residents Youth Consolidated License for Hunting and Trapping: Available to youth residents for hunting and trapping in the state, with an apprentice option. Cost: $7.
- Non-Residents Annual Youth Hunting License: Available for non-resident youths who want to hunt in Indiana. Valid for one year, with an apprentice option. Cost: $17.
- Non-Residents Youth Deer Hunting License: Available for non-residents for deer hunting in Indiana, with an apprentice option. Cost: $25.
- Non-Residents Deer License Bundle: Available for non-residents for deer hunting, with an apprentice option. Cost: $65.
- Non-Residents Youth Spring Turkey Hunting: Available for non-resident youths for spring season turkey hunting. Cost: $25.
- Non-Residents Youth Fall Turkey Hunting: Available for non-resident youths for fall season turkey hunting. Cost: $25.
- Non-Residents Annual Youth Trapping: Available for non-resident youths to trap game animals in Indiana, valid for one year, with an apprentice option. Cost: $17.
Turkey Hunting Licenses
Turkey hunting licenses in Indiana include:
- Spring Turkey Hunting License: Allows hunting turkeys during the spring season. Available for residents and non-resident hunters, with an apprentice option. Cost: $25 (residents) and $120 (non-residents).
- Fall Turkey Hunting Licenses: Allows hunting turkeys during the fall season. Available for residents and non-resident hunters, with an apprentice option. Cost: $25 (residents) and $120 (non-residents).
Hunting stamps in Indiana include:
- Game Bird Habitat Stamp: Allows taking game birds in the state. Available for residents and non-residents. Cost: $6.75.
- Waterfowl Stamp: Allows taking waterfowls in Indiana. Available for residents and non-residents. Cost: $6.75.
Indiana Hunting and Fishing Licenses
Indiana offers licenses that allow holders to participate in both hunting and fishing activities. Some of them are:
- Annual Hunting and Fishing License: Available for residents only, with an apprentice option. Cost: $25.
- Hunting and Fishing License for Disabled American Veterans: Available for disabled veterans who are residents of Indiana, with no apprentice option. Cost: $2.75 (annual) and $27.5 (valid for 10 years).
Small Games Hunting License
Indiana’s small games hunting license includes:
- Annual Hunting Licenses: Valid for one year, available for residents and non-residents, with an apprentice option. Cost: $17 (residents) and $80 (non-residents).
- Five Days Hunting License: Valid for 5 days, available for non-residents only, with an apprentice option. Cost: $31.
- Annual Trapping Licenses: Valid for one year, available for residents and non-residents, with no apprentice option. Cost: $17 (residents) and $140 (non-residents).
Indiana Hunting Season
Hunting season in Indiana varies based on the type of game and the weapons used for hunting. For the 2020/21 hunting season:
Indiana Deer Hunting Season
- Reduction Zone Hunting Season: 15th of September to 31st of January.
- Youth Hunting Season: 26th of September to 27th of September.
- Archery Season: 1st of October to 3rd of January.
- Firearms Season: 14th of November to 29th of November.
- Muzzleloader Season: 5th of December to 20th of December.
- Antlerless Season: 16th of December to 3rd of January.
Bag limits for deer hunting in Indiana vary by hunting region, so hunters should be aware of the specific limit for their zone.
Indiana Turkey Hunting Season
- Fall Firearms Season: 21st of October to 1st of November.
- Fall Archery Season: 1st of October to 1st of November and 5th of December to 3rd of January.
- Spring General Hunting Season: 21st of April to 9th of May.
- Spring Youth Season: 17th of April to 18th of April.
Indiana Small Games Hunting Season
- Gray Squirrel and Fox Squirrel Hunting Season: 15th of August to 31st of January.
- Pheasant Hunting Season: 1st of November to 15th of November.
- Quail Hunting Season: 1st of November to 10th of January.
- Rabbit Hunting Season: 1st of November to 28th of February.
- Crow Hunting Season: 1st of July to 15th of August and 13th of December to 1st of March.
- Green Frog and Bullfrog Hunting Season: 15th of June to 30th of April.
- Eastern Snapping Turtle Season: 1st of July to 31st of March.
Hunters must familiarize themselves with bag limits, special hunting seasons, and requirements for each game animal they intend to hunt.
Indiana Wildlife, Games, and Fish
Indiana offers a diverse array of wildlife and game animals that hunters can pursue. Some of the prominent game animals include:
Indiana Deer Hunting
Deer hunting in Indiana is widespread, with numerous acres of forests and lands providing ample opportunities. Deer can be found in most counties, but Harrison Crawford forest is especially known for deer hunting.
Indiana Turkey Hunting
Turkeys are abundant throughout Indiana, and their numbers increase during the spring season. Turkey harvest is higher in the southern part of the state, but some northern counties like LA Porte, St. Joseph, Starke, and Marshall have a significant turkey population.
Indiana Fox Hunting
Red foxes are the most common fox species in Indiana, often found in scrubs, woodlands, agricultural lands, and even urban and suburban areas.
Indiana Bobcat Hunting
Bobcats are the only wildcats found in Indiana, with a higher population in the southern and central parts of the state.
Indiana Coyote Hunting
Coyote hunting in Indiana is best during the winter season. Coyotes are evenly distributed across all regions of the state, including urbanized areas.
Indiana Quail Hunting
The Northern Bobwhite Quail is the quail species associated with Indiana, found in agricultural landscapes.
Indiana Ducks Hunting
Duck hunting in Indiana takes place in wetland areas away from human habitation, including wildlife refuges and shallow water bodies.
Indiana Raccoons Hunting
Raccoons can be found throughout Indiana, but their population is greatest in the northeast and central parts of the state.
Indiana Hunting Shooting Ranges
Indiana offers numerous shooting ranges for public use, providing a safe and controlled environment for practice and skill improvement. Some of the shooting ranges open to the general public include:
- Atterbury Fish & Wildlife
- Crooked Creek Conservation & Gun Club
- Eagle Creek Park Pistol Range
- Five Points Conservation Club
- Frontier Gun Club
- Glen Park Izaak Walton
- Fulton County Conservation Club
- Griffith Izaak Walton League of America
- Hillside Shooting Sports
- Indian Creek Shooting Center
Indiana Hunting Lands for Sale and Lease
Hunters interested in acquiring hunting lands in Indiana have options for both sale and lease. Some available properties include:
- Covington, Indiana (Fountain County) – 164 acres
- Columbus, Indiana (Brown County) – 250 acres
- Montgomery, Indiana (Daviess County) – 8 acres
- Campbellsburg, Indiana (Washington County) – 95 acres
- Shoals, Indiana (Martin County) – 400 acres
- Auburn, Indiana (DeKalb County) – 4.75 acres
- Cloverdale, Indiana (Owen County) – 126 acres
For those who prefer leasing hunting lands, there are opportunities such as:
- Deer & Turkey Hunting Property Available in Medora, Indiana (Jackson County) – 10,000 acres
- High Fence Trophy Whitetail Hunting Available in Indiana (Whitley County) – 600 acres
- Whitetail deer and turkey woods (Noble county) – 40 acres
- Hunting and Camping Oasis Near Indianapolis (Marion County) – 9 acres
Hunting in Indiana offers a diverse range of game animals and wildlife in well-regulated hunting seasons. Hunters can pursue deer, turkeys, foxes, coyotes, quails, and other small games in the state’s vast woodlands and hunting areas. It is essential for all hunters to abide by Indiana’s hunting regulations, obtain the appropriate licenses, and respect the natural habitats of the game animals. By doing so, hunters can enjoy a rewarding and responsible hunting experience in the Hoosier State.
1. Are there special hunting seasons for different game animals in Indiana?
Yes, Indiana has specific hunting seasons for different game animals. The hunting seasons are regulated and subject to change, so hunters should always check the latest guidelines from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
2. Can non-residents hunt in Indiana?
Yes, non-residents can hunt in Indiana by obtaining the appropriate hunting licenses and permits. Indiana offers various hunting options for non-resident hunters.
3. What are the requirements for hunting with firearms in Indiana?
Hunters using firearms must follow all state and federal regulations regarding the possession and use of firearms. Additionally, fluorescent orange dressing may be required in certain hunting seasons.
4. Are there hunting lands available for lease in Indiana?
Yes, there are hunting lands available for lease in Indiana. Hunters interested in leasing land should explore the options provided by landowners and agencies offering hunting leases.
5. Can hunters use drones for hunting in Indiana?
No, Indiana prohibits the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, for locating, scouting, or hunting game animals. Drones may be allowed for specific purposes like wildlife control, research, and agricultural production with proper authorization.