Last Updated: 14th May 2023
Hunting in Indiana is quite popular due to its diverse selection of game species and hunting lands. But many are bummed out because of the limited big game opportunities.
Well, truth be told, it really has limited opportunities for big games. But don’t let that dampen your spirits because the state has quirks to make up for it.
Are you interested in hunting the Hoosier state? Look no further. With just one click, you can discover the various facets of hunting in Indiana in this article.
Table of Contents
Indiana Hunting Seasons
Hunting in Indiana is regulated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which works to ensure sustainable hunting practices and protect wildlife throughout the state.
In Indiana, there are various hunting seasons that you can look forward to. Let’s take a closer look:
|Deer Hunting||Archery: Early October to early January|
Firearms: Mid- to late November
Muzzleloader: Early to mid-December
|Turkey Hunting||Spring Season: Late April to mid-May|
Fall-Archery Season: Throughout October & Early December to early January
Fall-Firearms Season: Mid- to late October
|Waterfowl Hunting||Ducks, Coots, and Mergansers: Late October to late January|
Canada Geese: Late October to mid-February
|Upland Game Bird |
|Crow: Early July to mid-August; Mid-December to early March|
Pheasant: Early November to mid-December
Quail: Early November to mid-January
|Small Game Hunting||Squirrel: Mid-August to late January|
Rabbit: Early November to late February
Popular Hunts in Indiana
In Indiana, the state’s DNR does a great job of managing the wildlife population, which results in ample and enjoyable hunting opportunities for state hunters.
Here’s what to expect when hunting in Indiana:
Whitetail Deer Hunting
Like Ohio, the state of Indiana is proud of its robust population of whitetail deer. In fact, the state has long been boasting a reputation for producing some truly impressive whitetails.
Indiana’s mix of farmland and forest provides ideal whitetail habitat, contributing to their size and health. The state’s deer management program is designed to produce a healthy deer population and provide exciting hunting opportunities. The impressive deer that hunters harvest each year is proof of this.
Regarding bag limits, hunters are allowed one antlered deer per year. The number of antlerless deer a hunter may take varies by county and license type, so it’s important to check the specific regulations for the area you’ll be hunting.
Wild Turkey Hunting
Indiana’s diverse habitat, ranging from hardwood forests to agricultural fields, provides excellent turkey habitat. The state’s turkey population is robust, largely thanks to successful wildlife management programs.
In terms of regulations, remember you’re allowed only one bearded or male turkey in the spring, and either sex in the fall. After harvesting, you must report your turkey within 48 hours via the CheckIN Game system.
The state’s diverse waterways, wetlands, and reservoirs are teeming with waterfowl, making it a haven for hunters looking for an exciting, action-packed experience.
One of the highlights of waterfowl hunting in Indiana is the opportunity to hunt Canada geese. These large, vocal birds are a joy to pursue. Aside from Canada geese, the state also allows hunters to hunt down ducks, coots, and mergansers.
Remember that you’ll need a federal Duck Stamp, Indiana Game Bird Habitat Stamp, and HIP number in addition to your hunting license. And don’t forget, all harvested birds must be reported through the CheckIN Game system within 48 hours.
Top Hunting Locations in Indiana
Indiana boasts many exceptional hunting locations, ranging from dense forests to sprawling wetlands, providing diverse habitats with abundant wildlife.
Here are some of the top hunting destinations in Indiana, their regulations, and the opportunities that await you:
Hoosier National Forest
This is one of the prime hunting destinations in Indiana. Spanning over 200,000 acres, this vast expanse offers excellent opportunities to hunt white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, and more.
Remember, when hunting in Hoosier National Forest, you must follow both Indiana state hunting regulations and federal regulations that apply to National Forest lands.
Specific zones within the forest may have different rules, and some areas may be off-limits to hunting. Always check the most current regulations and maps before you head out.
Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area
This wildlife area that covers 8,000 acres is a paradise for Waterfowlers. It offers a mix of upland and wetland habitats, providing excellent opportunities for duck, goose, and dove hunting that shouldn’t be missed.
Aside from waterfowl hunting, this hunting location is also proud for it offers opportunities to hunt deer and wild turkeys. Its diverse landscape supports a huntable population of these species.
Hunting regulations in Jasper-Pulaski follow Indiana state guidelines. Still, there may also be area-specific rules, such as certain zones reserved for draw hunts, that you need to be aware of.
Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area
This fantastic hunting destination stretches over nearly 10,000 acres in Northwestern Indiana, a true gem for hunters. With its diverse terrain of marshland, open water, and uplands, Willow Slough is an adventure waiting to happen.
This hunting location is a premier location for waterfowl hunting in Indiana. With over 1,200 acres of open water and extensive marshy areas, it’s a magnet for various waterfowl.
But if deer hunting is your passion, this location won’t disappoint you. The upland areas offer excellent habitat for white-tailed deer. The dense cover and open areas make for exciting hunting scenarios, whether using a bow or firearm.
Hunting License and Permits
Before heading afield, it’s important that you’re equipped with the needed license and permits for a legal hunt.
Here are the types of licenses and permits available in the state:
The Indiana DNR opens hunting opportunities to different types of hunters to promote an inclusive hunting experience for all. This includes resident, nonresident, youth, and senior hunters.
|Lifetime Hunting||Ages Under 50: $125.00|
Ages 50-64: $67.00
Ages above 64: $42.00
In Indiana, hunting permits are regulated to monitor the number of potential hunts each season. Also, this regulation also contributes to the conservation funding to ensure the sustainability of the state’s wildlife in the coming years.
|Deer Permits||Deer Bundle: $65.00|
Youth Permit: $24.00
|Deer Bundle: $295.00|
Youth Permit: $24.00
|Wild Turkey Permit||$25.00||$120.00|
|Federal Duck Stamp||$25.00||$25.00|
CheckIN Game System
Did you know the Indiana DNR offers a hassle-free online tool called the CheckIN Game System? It enables hunters to report their harvested game without visiting a check station in person. It’s a wonderful illustration of how technology is simplifying the lives of hunters!
The data collected through the CheckIN Game system is invaluable for wildlife biologists as it helps them monitor game populations and make informed decisions about hunting regulations and conservation efforts.
So, by using the system, you’re not just following the rules—you’re contributing to the future of hunting in Indiana.
Hunters Helping Farmers Program
As we know, the state of Indiana has a thriving population of deer. While this is fantastic for hunters, this robust population of deer can be a bit of a challenge for farmers. Deer can cause significant damage to crops, which can impact a farmer’s livelihood.
That’s where the Hunters Helping Farmers program comes in. This program connects farmers who want to reduce deer populations on their land with responsible hunters looking for places to hunt.
Farmers can enroll in the program by filling out a form with information about their property and the hunting they will allow. Hunters can apply to participate as well. The Indiana DNR then works to match interested hunters with farmers.
Hunting in Indiana brims with diverse opportunities despite lacking a big game selection. With its trophy-quality whitetail deers and a vast selection of hunting lands, this state is surely a hit that shouldn’t be missed.
Want to explore other choices? Check out our hunting-by-state guides to be familiar with opportunities when hunting in other US states.