Est. Whitetail Population
No. Licenses Sold Annually
$59 and up
Resident hunting license and deer permit
$350 and up
Non-resident hunting license and deer permit
Arrowed by Dustin Huff in 2021. Ranks No. 2 all-time.
Record B&C Typical Stat
Total B&C Typical Entries
Taken by Timothy J. Beck in Huntington County in 2012. It ranks No. 8 of all time.
Record B&C Non-Typical Stat
Record B&C Non-Typical Entries
Check out the latest info for Indiana. Image by Bruce MacQueen
Season Dates (2023):
Archery season spans Oct. 1 to Jan. 7. Firearms season runs Nov. 18 through Dec. 3. Muzzleloader is Dec. 9 through 24. Youth weekend is Sept. 23 and 24. The reduction zone season is Sept. 15 to Jan. 31 (where open). 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 might only have a couple of seasons left of sleeper status. Great population densities. Big deer. Moderate hunting pressure. One-buck status. Affordable tags. Abundant public land. Although 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.
“The start of firearms season moves a bit each year because it starts the first Saturday after Nov. 11 (Veteran’s Day) each year,” said Joe N. Caudell, state deer project leader for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Fish and Wildlife. “Because of this, in some years firearms season is closer to the peak of the rut for much of Indiana. This year, firearms season will start on Nov. 18, which is about a week past the peak of the rut for much of the state. So, anyone who is interested in hunting the peak should be looking to hunt about a week earlier than the start of firearms season.”
Moderate bouts with epizootic hemorrhagic disease in 2019 and 2022 are the only real negative notes. Some populations are a little lower than normal pre-hunt totals. Get localized info on areas hit the hardest HERE.
“There are many northern counties known for producing large bucks, but we see big deer coming from across the state,” said Moriah Boggess, deer biologist with the Indiana DNR. “The less-known counties are significantly underrated and have great trophy potential. Southern Indiana should see older deer in the coming years as this part of the state recovers from EHD in 2019.”
Should hunters expect a better or worse deer herd and season this year? “We expect about the same deer herd as last year,” Caudell said. “Hunters can track the harvest. This data is updated daily and includes harvest by county and equipment type.”
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. INDIANA PRIVATE LANDS ACCESS (IPLA) is a great program through which private landowners allow controlled public access. Another source of hunting access comes from the INDIANA COMMUNITY HUNTING ACCESS PROGRAM (CHAP). It's 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.
Although 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.
The Indiana DNR 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.
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