[r63] Messmer Report: Improvements and expansion of deer hunting for Hoosiers

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, August 24, 2012

This fall, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be rolling out improved and expanded deer hunting opportunities for Hoosiers. These rule changes are a response to the increasing deer-human conflicts and evidence that growing deer populations are straining the environment in some areas.

First, there are changes to the urban deer zones this year. Hunters will now be allowed to purchase an urban deer zone license to hunt in those areas. Additionally, there will be an ‘earn-a-buck’ policy, so hunters must take an antlerless deer before taking an antlered deer. This policy only applies to hunters in an urban deer zone who are hunting with an urban deer zone license.

In urban deer zones, hunters may use a bow or crossbow; and the urban zones include all of Vanderburgh County in southwest Indiana. For a list of the exact urban deer zone areas, you may visitwww.hunting.in.gov. The urban deer zone season has been extended to run continuously through Sept. 15 until Jan. 31.

Improvements to the archery season regulations have also been made. The season was traditionally broken up into an early and late period. Beginning Oct. 1, archery season is now one continuous season, running until the first Sunday in January. The other major change made this year is that crossbows may now be used for the entirety of the archery season. However, you must have a crossbow license, which is new, to use one during archery season.

Next, DNR has created a brand new antlerless season. It is a firearm season that begins on Dec. 26 and runs through the first Sunday in January; and the season will only be allowed in counties that have a bonus county quota of four or more. Locally, this year that will include Dubois, Crawford, Spencer, Warrick, Vanderburgh, Posey, Gibson, Knox, Sullivan, Greene, Lawrence and Orange Counties. You may visit DNR’s website for a map of the Bonus Antlerless County Quotas in each county. In this new season you may use any legal firearm that would typically be allowed in the regular firearm season.

Additionally, the bonus antlerless quotas in House District 63 counties are three in Daviess, three in Martin, four in Dubois and three in Pike.

A new deer license bundle will be offered to hunters this year, as well. For one price, the hunter will get three licenses, for two antlerless and one antlered deer. This bundle license is good for all deer hunting seasons, except for the urban deer zones. The price for a resident will be $65 and for a non-resident will be $295.

Finally, in addition to the traditional check stations, hunters now have the opportunity to check in turkey and deer using the free CheckIN Game online system atwww.checkingame.dnr.in.gov. Hunters will need their unique CustomerID (CID) number. For annual license buyers, the CID number is in the upper left hand corner of your license. Lifetime license holders can look up their CID number using the search link on the CheckIN Game online system.

DNR has created a brand new hunting and trapping guide for this year. You may look for it at your local hunting retailers and fish and wildlife areas, or online atwww.hunting.in.gov for more information. Good luck to all of the hunters looking forward to deer season, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at 317-232-9671 or by email at h63@in.gov