Hoosier hunters and wildlife viewers can expect plenty of deer this fall
Indiana hunters may not see a record number of deer, but should have a good year.
It doesn’t seem possible that summer is gone, fall has arrived, and so has deer season.
This year’s overall deer hunting season began Sept. 15 with the opening of the urban deer zone season. It will continue through Jan. 31. The state’s youth hunt weekend is Sept. 28 and 29.
Archery season starts Oct. 1 and runs through Jan. 5. Firearms season starts Nov. 16 and continues through Dec. 1 Muzzleloader season is Dec. 6-22.
For more information on seasons and regulations, visit Hunting.IN.gov. or checkout this year’s state hunting guide.
There is good news this year for deer hunters. Plenty of deer will be available to hunters. Another exceptional harvest is anticipated, although it probably won’t be another record year. And, that’s not a bad thing.
The Hoosier herd is being managed to ensure the animals are healthy, there are plenty to hunt and view, and farmers and automobile drivers and their insurance rates are considered.
Hoosier deer hunters in 2012 harvested 136,248 deer. The deer harvest record has been broken in four of the last five seasons, a trend that Department of Natural Resources deer research biologist Chad Stewart doesn’t expect to continue in 2013, according to information provided by the DNR.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if it was down a little this year,” Stewart said. “But I don’t expect the harvest numbers to fall off a cliff. There will still be plenty of deer out there.”
The main reason Stewart thinks a dip in the harvest might happen is because hunters in 2012 harvested a record number of does. As a result, reproduction was likely down this year compared to previous years.
Stewart emphasized that reducing the deer population to a more balanced level has been the DNR’s goal in recent years. Changes to hunting regulations that went into effect in 2012 were geared toward that goal. The changes included extending archery season, allowing crossbows for all archery hunters and creating a “license bundle” that saved hunters money.
“A reduced deer harvest would mean we are making progress,” Stewart said.
The 2013 license bundles give the additional option of harvesting either two antlerless deer and a buck or three antlerless deer.
While it may not produce a new record harvest, 2013 will be a good one for deer hunters. More and bigger isn’t always best.