The countdown continues: It’s almost deer season!
Keep an eye on our social media this season for tips and tricks on deer hunting and check out our deer resources online for more information.
It takes two: Take a youth hunting
Do you know a kid who loves hunting? DNR has a few special opportunities each year to help our young Hoosiers go outdoors and hunt. Youth deer season is Sept. 23-24.
Does your kid just want to try hunting? Nov. 25-26 are the last free hunting days of this year. Any resident 17 and younger needs no license or stamp to hunt (unless they are 16 or older and pursuing waterfowl; then a duck stamp is required).
Special note: Due to a county bonus antlerless quota of zero in Fayette and Franklin counties, no antlerless deer can be harvested during the two-day youth season in September because the number of antlerless deer that can normally be harvested is based on the county bonus antlerless quota. Youth will be able to harvest antlerless deer during archery and muzzleloader seasons with equipment that is legal during those seasons but will not be able to harvest antlerless deer with a firearm in 2023.
Read more below about changes to the County Bonus Antlerless Quota or visit our webpage on EHD.
Find your own hunting buddy and have fun outside!
Apply for a Put/Take Pheasant Hunt
Applications for the 2023 Put/Take Pheasant Hunts open Wednesday, Sept. 13 at 7 a.m. ET and will continue to the end of the Put/Take Pheasant Hunt period or until hunts sell out. The hunts take place from Nov. 18–26. Registration costs $30 per registered hunter and is first-come, first-served. Once the daily hunter quota is reached, the area becomes unavailable. Hunters should print their registration confirmation sheet and bring it with them on the day of their hunts. The bag limit is two pheasants per person each day.
The Fish & Wildlife areas (FWA) participating in the Put/Take Pheasant Hunts are Atterbury, Glendale, J.E. Roush Lake, Pigeon River, Tri-County, Willow Slough, and Winamac. To find out more information regarding the Put/Take Pheasant Hunt, please contact the property at which you are interested in hunting. For more information, register online.
County bonus antlerless quotas reduced for 2023-24
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is a common disease in the Indiana deer herd, and every year the DNR receives reports of EHD throughout the state via its online reporting system at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife. In some years, EHD can affect a larger-than-normal portion of the deer and becomes widespread across a county. In those instances, the DNR lowers the County Bonus Antlerless Quotas (CBAQ) in the impacted counties to offset the effect of the counties’ EHD outbreak.
This year, after collecting data to map and evaluate the effects of EHD, DNR has lowered the CBAQ to zero for Fayette and Franklin counties (down from the normal CBAQ of three) in an effort to lower the harvest during the next one to two years in this area. At that quota, the DNR expects the population will recover in about five years. With a CBAQ of zero, the DNR expects about 125 antlerless deer to be harvested in Fayette County and 400 antlerless deer to be harvested in Franklin County using crossbows, archery equipment, and muzzleloaders.
A county bonus antlerless quota of zero in Fayette and Franklin counties will also mean that no antlerless deer can be harvested during the two-day youth season in September because the number of antlerless deer that can normally be harvested is based on the county bonus antlerless quota. Youth will be able to harvest antlerless deer during archery and muzzleloader seasons with equipment that is legal during those seasons. But they will not be able to harvest antlerless deer with a firearm in 2023.
To see the other counties with changes in their CBAQ, view our webpage on EHD.
Fall into fishing this autumn
What will you fish for this fall? During autumn, fish are still biting and active as they begin to prepare for winter. In the early fall, you can cast your lines in the morning and evening, while in late fall, you can fish in the afternoon and early evening when the water is warmest. Watch for some of our favorite fall catches:
- Muskie, striped and hybrid striped bass, rock bass, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass: Cast lures that look like baitfish (minnows and shad).
- Crappie: Use jigs or live bait near sunken logs, standing timber, or docks.
- Trout and salmon: Cast out flies, spinners, and spoons for these species once they return to Lake Michigan tributaries.
- Bluegill and catfish: Cast live bait or lures for bluegill and sink bait to the bottom to catch catfish.
The end of summer doesn’t mean that you have to put away the rod and reel. Instead, enjoy the changing season by the water.
Early migratory bird hunting seasons for 2023-2024
As summer turns to fall, DNR wants to remind you that your favorite seasons are returning soon. Several migratory bird hunting seasons open in September.
Species * Area * Dates ** Daily Bag Limit
Mourning Dove * Statewide * Sept. 1 - Oct. 15 * 15
Snipe * Statewide * Sept. 1 - Dec. 16 * 8
Sora Rail * Statewide * Sept. 1 - Nov. 9 * 25
Early Teal * Statewide * Sept. 9 - 24 * 6
Geese (Canada, Brant, White-fronted, Snow, and Ross's) * North, Central & South Zones * Sept. 9 - 17 * See below
The dark goose bag limit may include five Canada geese for the entire season. “Dark geese” includes Canada geese, white-fronted geese, and brant. The daily bag limit for all dark geese in the aggregate is five, with no other limitations by species. The daily bag limit for light geese (snow and Ross’s geese) remains 20.
A valid hunting license is required to hunt migratory game birds and waterfowl. In addition, HIP registration, Indiana Game Bird, Indiana Migratory Waterfowl stamp privileges, and/or a Federal duck stamp may also be required, depending on species hunted.
Find full migratory bird hunting season dates and bag limits on our website.
Onto the next round: Reserved hunt applications available now
The next round of reserved hunt applications is open for deer, waterfowl, and game bird hunts. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 24. See the different hunts and participating properties below:
- Fish & Wildlife Area (FWA) Waterfowl Hunts: Participating FWAs include LaSalle, Kingsbury, Hovey Lake, Goose Pond, and Kankakee. Province Pond Wetland Conservation Area, managed by J.E. Roush Lake FWA, will also participate.
- FWA Firearms Deer Hunts: Deer Creek and Fairbanks Landing FWAs.
- State Park Deer Hunts: Participating properties include Chain O’Lakes, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, O’Bannon Woods, Ouabache, Prophetstown, Raccoon, Shades, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Tippecanoe River, Turkey Run, Versailles, and Whitewater Memorial state parks. Cave River Valley Natural Area, managed by Spring Mill State Park, will also participate.
- November Game Bird Area (GBA) Hunts: Counties with Game Bird Areas include Benton, Jasper, Newton, Warren, and White. Hunters may choose from a variety of hunt dates in November. These hunts are not put/take pheasant hunts.
- Youth Only Game Bird Area (GBA) Hunts: Counties with Game Bird Areas include Benton, Jasper, Newton, Warren, and White. Hunters may choose from a variety of hunt dates in November and must have an adult at least 18 years of age present while attending. These hunts are not put/take pheasant hunts.
- Indiana Private Lands Access (IPLA) Hunts: IPLA will offer reserved hunts for game bird, waterfowl, and deer on private lands.
The application process is consolidated into the online services website along with licenses, CheckIN Game, and HIP registration. An online account is not required to apply, but a Customer ID number is needed. Only one application per hunt is allowed.
Bowhunting this fall? Become an Archer’s Index volunteer!
If you enjoy viewing wildlife while you hunt, DNR has the perfect opportunity for you. The Archer’s Index utilizes your quiet hours spent sitting in the field to capture valuable data for wildlife management. You can help Indiana DNR by volunteering to record wildlife seen while bowhunting from Oct. 1 to Nov. 17, the day before deer firearms season opens.
After signing up online, you will be mailed a packet with forms and instructions on how to participate.
Learn more and sign up on our volunteer webpage.
Love dove? It’s time to hunt!
September is the perfect time to hunt mourning dove. The season is open from now until Oct. 15, before taking a break and reopening Nov. 1.
Dove hunting is the perfect way to fill your freezer with healthy and tasty wild game while enjoying the beauty and warmth of the changing seasons. Be sure to snag your Game Bird Habitat Stamp and hunting license before you head outdoors.
Don’t forget, some DNR properties may have additional regulations for dove hunting, so be sure to check with the property you’re interested in for more details.
Indiana DNR finds common wall lizards in southeastern Indiana
Common wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) are a European species that became established in Cincinnati during the early 1950s after several individuals were intentionally released. This non-native species has since colonized much of the Cincinnati area, including parts of northern Kentucky, and is currently expanding into nearby areas of southwest Ohio and southeast Indiana. In July, biologists located a colony of 20-35 common wall lizards during surveys for the species in Lawrenceburg, about 2 miles from the Ohio state line. Common wall lizards are not generally dangerous.
Since the initial discovery at Lawrenceburg, members of the public and DNR have identified wall lizards in the nearby communities of Aurora and Rising Sun. These sites are located along the Ohio River where the lizards reside in the river’s rocky and vegetated banks and a nearby rock wall. Indiana DNR is conducting additional surveys to better understand the occurrence of this lizard in southeast Indiana.
Sightings, especially those backed by photographs, should be directed to the Indiana DNR Herpetology Program’s reporting email at HerpSurveys@dnr.IN.gov.
September 23-24: A Public Lands Celebration for Everyone
A special weekend for outdoor enthusiasts is coming up. Sept. 23 and 24 celebrates National Public Lands Day (NPLD) and National Hunting and Fishing Day. DNR has many opportunities for you to show up and demonstrate your appreciation for the resources we treasure.
NPLD, Sept. 23, is a day to show you care for public lands through volunteer action. Join a group at one of the many organized volunteer events or take some time to relax and collect trash at your favorite site with family and friends while protecting wildlife and natural resources.
National Hunting and Fishing Day, also Sept. 23, is a perfect time to share your love of outdoor recreation with others as it falls on the last Free Fishing Day of the year. And if that’s not exciting enough, you can enjoy free entry to State Parks, State Recreation Areas, and State Forests on Sunday, Sept. 24 in recognition of this special weekend. Looking for a property to visit? Check out our property list. We know public lands are meaningful to you and we invite you to show your appreciation during this weekend. Visit the DNR events calendar and our volunteer page to learn more about opportunities near you.
Tag, you’re it: Volunteer for monarch butterfly tagging
Grab your shoes and sunscreen and join DNR staff and the Monarch Joint Venture in tagging monarch butterflies at Tri-County Fish & Wildlife Area (FWA) on Saturday, Sept. 16. You can work with our staff to catch and tag monarch butterflies to better understand their fall migration patterns.
All ages are welcome, but minors must be accompanied by an adult. Don’t worry—we’ll bring the water and snacks. Register now!
Coming soon: More Natural Resources Commission meetings
The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) is meeting twice more this year to discuss upcoming activities of the DNR. If you’re interested in attending, join us on one of the dates below.
- Sept. 19: 6 p.m., ET (5 p.m., CT), Abe Martin Lodge in Brown County State Park, Nashville
- Nov. 21: 10 a.m., ET (9 a.m., CT), Fort Harrison State Park, Garrison, Indianapolis
Recent news releases
- Sept. 9 – Dive into an Immersive Aquatic Adventure: Explore, Learn, Net!, Southeastway Park
- Sept. 9 – Macroinvertebrate Exploration, Goose Pond FWA
- Sept. 16 – Monarch Butterfly Tagging, Tri-County FWA
- Sept. 20 – Weed Wrangle, Winamac FWA
- Sept. 23 – National Public Lands Day, Goose Pond FWA
- Sept. 23 – Surf -n- Turf Clean Up Day, Blue Grass FWA
- Oct. 5 – Growing up WILD Training, Virtual
- Oct. 8 – The Big Sit & Wild Game Lunch, Goose Pond FWA
- 2024: April 8 – Total Solar Eclipse, State of Indiana
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The Indiana Natural Resources Foundation celebrates and preserves Indiana’s natural legacy by raising funds to support the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its programs. Together, we have helped expand public lands, restore wildlife habitat, and create outdoor educational and recreational opportunities for Hoosiers.
About Fish and Wildlife Management in Indiana
Fish and wildlife management and public access are funded by fishing and hunting license revenue and also through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. These programs collect excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment, and motor boat fuels. The money is distributed among state fish and wildlife agencies based on land size and the number of licensed anglers and hunters in each state. Find out more information about fish and wildlife management in Indiana at Wildlife.IN.gov.