(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana deer hunters are staring down the barrel of several rule changes being considered by the state.
On Tuesday, the Indiana Natural Resources Commission gave preliminary approval a comprehensive package of rule changes which could take effect in 2011.
If the rules earn final approval, they will be evaluated over a five-year period.
The Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish and Wildlife came up with the proposed rules to focus deer herd reduction.
In 2009, Indiana hunters bagged a record number 132,752 deer. In 15 of the past 17 years the harvest statewide has eclipsed the 100,000 mark, and better then 125,000 in four of the past five years.
"For the last several years, Indiana deer management and associated deer rules were designed to stabilize or slightly grow the deer herd," said Mitch Marcus, wildlife section chief for the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife. "We are now experiencing record-setting harvests, record numbers of deer damage complaints, constituent complaints to legislators, and record numbers of deer-vehicle collisions. The intent of this deer rule proposal is to move Indiana toward a focused, strategically targeted deer-herd reduction."
Among the changes would be shortening the firearms deer season from 14 days to just nine beginning the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
However, more days to hunt would be added. A two-day antlerless-only firearms season in October would be allowed in designated counties, as well as a statewide antlerless-only gun season Dec. 25-Jan. 1.
Other changes include:
With the preliminary approval given by the Natural Resources Commission, public comment is now being taken by the DNR. Comments on the proposal can be submitted online at www.IN.gov/nrc; by mail to Division of Hearings, Indiana Government Center North, 100 North Senate Ave., Indianapolis, IN, 46204; or at public hearings. Dates and locations for a minimum two hearings will be announced at a later date.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources - http://www.in.gov/dnr/index.htm