Deer Hunting in Indiana

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  • A
  • Unknown

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 200,000

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $41 and Up

    Annual hunting license is $17. Archery, crossbow, muzzleloader and rifle tags are $24. The deer license bundle is $65.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $181 and Up

    Annual hunting license is $80. Five-day hunting license is $31. Archery, crossbow, muzzleloader and rifle tags are $150. The deer license bundle is $295.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 195 5/8"

    Taken by Dave Roberts in 1985.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 521

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 303 7/8"

    Taken by Timothy J. Beck in Huntington County in 2012. It ranks No. 7 of all time.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 306

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

A big buck taken by a young Tristin Scudder. (Photo courtesy of Tristin Scudder)

Season Dates (2020):

Archery season spans October 1 to January 3. Firearms season runs November 14 to 29. Muzzleloader is December 5 to 20. Youth weekend is September 26 to 27. The reduction zone season is September 15 to January 31 (where open). And the special antlerless season runs December 26 to January 3 (where open). Please check the Indiana DNR website to confirm season dates.

The Grade: A

Indiana might not register on some radars, but it’s picking up steam. It may only have a couple seasons left of “sleeper status.” Great population densities. Big deer. Moderate hunting pressure. One-buck status. Affordable tags. Abundant public. While the dreaded disease is in several bordering counties to the west, Hoosier country is still a certified CWD-free state. It also boasts a great venison-donation program called the Sportsmen’s Benevolence Fund. See what we’re getting at? It gets an A … all day.

A moderate bout with epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in 2019 is the only negative note. Some populations are a little lower than normal pre-hunt totals. Get localized info on areas hit the hardest here. Note quotas for this season were reduced to help offset last year's EHD die-off.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

Federal, state and third-party lands are in play. Conservation areas, fish and wildlife areas, state forests, state recreation areas, national forests, national wildlife refuges, nature preserves, wildlife trusts and other opportunities abound. Even the Nature Conservancy has a meaningful presence here. The Indiana Private Lands Access (IPLA) program is another great program where private landowners allow controlled public access. Another great source of hunting access comes from the Indiana Community Hunting Access Program (CHAP). It is designed to increase opportunities and reduce deer-human conflicts near urban areas. And don’t forget to apply for some of the best reserved hunts in the nation.

While the central region of the state is mostly void of notable public lands, the northern and southernmost counties are littered with access. The interactive “Where to Hunt” map can help pinpoint good public-land opportunities in specific areas of interest.

The Indiana DNR also publishes historical and real-time, in-season harvest data. The agency also provides other good resources for hunt planning, including a map that illustrates the percentages of county areas that offer good deer habitat. Other valuable resources include the annual management goal reports and extremely detailed county-based deer data.

Hunters who plan to spend a lot of time chasing Indiana deer might consider looking to the deer reduction zone hunts. These are more urbanized areas, and allow additional hunting opportunities in addition to statewide bag limits. According to the DNR, it technically allows hunters to tag a second Hoosier buck. However, it’s on an earn-a-buck system and an antlerless deer must be taken first.

All in all, big deer are found throughout Indiana. Hunters crank out solid numbers from the northernmost counties down to the Ohio River. Looking at record-book entries from the past decade, on localized levels, hunters in Dekalb, Harrison, Franklin, Jasper, Newton, Noble, Parke, Ripley and Sullivan are some of the best at stacking up top-end deer. Still, some of the best habitat in the country is located along the Ohio and its tributaries.

Indiana Harvests

  • Tim Bailey

    IN, Indiana

  • Kyle Murr

    Franklin , Indiana

From the Realtree Trophy Den