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Deer hunters could see another big year in Indiana

October 01, 2010 at 12:16 AM

Back-to-back record years for Indiana deer hunters and the fact regulations are unchanged give DNR deer management biologist Chad Stewart reason to believe hunters are in for another banner year in 2010.

“I’m anticipating another top-five all-time harvest,” Stewart said. “I would not be surprised if we exceeded 130,000 total deer or achieved a new record.”

In 2009, hunters bagged a record 132,752 deer – 3,000 more than the previous high mark set in 2008.

Although hunters have had the opportunity to pursue deer in the urban zone season since Sept. 15, and during the youth two-day season Sept. 25 and 26, deer hunting begins in earnest when the early archery season opens statewide on Friday (Oct. 1).

“I’m anticipating a successful early archery season due to the early corn harvest,” Stewart said.

The early archery season accounted for 21 percent of the total harvest in 2009, or 27,818 deer.

The early archery season extends through Nov. 28. During this season, a hunter can take two deer – either an antlered and antlerless deer, or two antlerless deer – but a separate license is required for each deer taken.

Archery hunters also can purchase bonus antlerless permits designed to target female deer as a fundamental approach to controlling white-tailed deer populations. In addition to the basic bag limits, hunters can use bonus permits in any county. There is no statewide limit, but quotas are assigned to each county ranging from A to 8. Go to http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/files/fw-Bonus_Antlerless_Map.pdf to find a map showing bonus antlerless quotas by county.

Bonus antlerless licenses may not be used in an “A” county prior to Nov. 25.

Many Indiana DNR properties (e.g., fish and wildlife areas, state forests, recreation areas, reservoirs, etc.) do not allow use of bonus antlerless licenses because they receive sufficient hunting pressure to keep deer populations in check and do not require additional harvest of deer. Contact the property manager where you plan to hunt for information.

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