New fish & wildlife area open in west-central Indiana's Putnam County
Deer Creek Fish & Wildlife area has an information and check-in station just north of U.S. Highway 40 in Putnam County.
Outdoor folks are always looking for new areas to hike, hunt and fish, and a new area is now open in west-central Indiana.
Deer Creek, Indiana’s newest fish and wildlife area, has nearly 2,000 acres of woods and rolling agricultural land for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.
The new fish and wildlife area was part of the old state penal farm, now the Putnamville Correctional Facility, located in the western part of Putnam County about 50 miles southwest of Indianapolis.
Several years back, the military wanted more land at the facility at Camp Atterbury. After some negotiations, the state agreed to swap some of the land it owned at the camp for the nearly 2,000 acres at the Putnamville facility.
At one time, the state farm was a large working agricultural operation, but over the years most of the acreage was no longer used for producing food or training inmates.
The Department of Natural Resources took possession of the land in 2010. The Deer Creek FWA consists of two or three blocks of land, one located south of U.S. 40 and the current correctional facility, and the other is located north of the highway. A Putnam County road separates the two northern blocks.
The FWA has areas of rolling interspersed agricultural land and mature oak and hickory dominated woods. In the northern section, there is a four-acre lake, which offers fishing for bass, bluegill and catfish. There is ample room for bank fishing.
There is no auto or bicycle traffic on the FWA; only foot traffic is allowed. There is a parking lot off County Road 75, and one can hike to the lake. There is a bush hog trail and then an old road which leads to the lake.
Mark Huter, Deer Creek property manager, says since the area is limited to walk-in traffic, “it usually is pretty quiet around the lake...There usually are only a couple fishermen per day.”
Deer Creek, from which the area gains it’s name, meanders through the southern portion of the FMA. Although the water level has been low this summer, at times Deer Creek can produce some nice smallmouth bass as well as panfish.
Located along State Highway 243 a couple miles south of U.S. 40, there is a parking area for the southern portion. There also is a drop box for dropping permits and harvest/use information.
The property is open to public access only on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday and closed the other three days.
While fishing is limited at Deer Creek, there is ample opportunity for hunting. Deer, quail, rabbit, turkey, squirrel, dove and waterfowl are available on the property. Turkey, dove, deer hunts are available through the state computer draw system. Quail and rabbit hunting is only on Saturdays.
According to the Deer Creek FWA brochure, in addition to a hunting and/or fishing license, permits are required for the following activities:
Permission to hunt on Deer Creek FWA must be obtained before entering the field. Daily hunt permit cards must be in possession of the hunter and recorded through established sell-service procedures outlined at the check-in station, located just north of the correctional facility about a quarter mile. Self-service drop boxes are located at several places.
Collecting permits are required from the property manager or DNR for the collection of anything except nuts, berries and mushrooms.
While currently, there is a maintenance facility on the property, there is no office. However, Huter says future plans call for an office, which also would serve as the office for several other properties in west-central Indiana.
Huter currently works out of an office in Linton. Addition information may be obtained by calling 1-812-659-9901 or the DNR in Indianapolis at 317-232-4200.