Find all deer information in one place
Deer archery season now underway
Bowhunters can pursue deer starting Oct. 1 until Jan. 3, 2021.
Buy an archery license, a crossbow license, a bonus antlerless license, or a deer bundle license online today at on.IN.gov/INHuntFish. A crossbow license is required to use a crossbow during the deer archery season, unless you have a bonus antlerless license, deer license bundle, resident youth comprehensive hunting license, or comprehensive lifetime hunting license. A bonus antlerless license can be used to take an additional antlerless deer with archery equipment or a crossbow in accordance with that county’s quota. Please note that bonus antlerless deer cannot be taken in Benton or Tipton counties until Nov. 26, and some DNR properties do not allow bonus antlerless deer to be taken on that property.
If you’re hunting from a tree stand, remember to use a safety harness to prevent falls.
For more information on bag limits and quotas, check out the Indiana Hunting & Trapping Guide.
Buy your deer license now
Signing in to buy hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses looks a little different now. A new state online portal called Access Indiana, which allows citizens to interact with multiple Indiana state agencies through a single login, has launched. If you haven’t already purchased your hunting license for this fall, we suggest creating your Access Indiana account today.
Find instructions for getting started online. For additional assistance with a username or password, call 800-457-8283 for Access Indiana customer support. The DNR is unable to assist with usernames and passwords. More information about the Access Indiana portal, answers to FAQs, and other helpful information is available online.
If you buy your license at a store near you, don’t wait in long lines at your license retailer the day before the season starts - buy now. Find a list of license retailers online. Check your license for accuracy before you leave the store.
Find more information about deer licenses, seasons, and regulations on our website. Remember, the resident youth consolidated hunt/trap license includes all deer hunting privileges.
Multiple deer, four seasons, one license
If you hunt in more than one season, this is the license deal for you! A deer bundle license can be used in all seasons (except the deer reduction zone season) using legal equipment during that season and gives the hunter the privilege to harvest up to three deer (3 antlerless OR 1 antlered and 2 antlerless deer). Season dates, legal equipment, and all other deer hunting laws apply. Antlerless deer taken with a deer license bundle can count toward the archery season bag limit, muzzleloader season bag limit, or as a bonus antlerless deer in that county, depending on the season and equipment used.
Why limit yourself to one season to fill your freezer? Bundle today!
Deer processing may be different this year
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some Indiana deer processors may have adjusted hours, may not be taking full carcasses, or may not be taking deer at all this fall. Indiana DNR recommends you plan ahead and contact your processor before taking a deer to them.
For the do-it-yourselfer, videos about skinning, butchering, and preparing your meat are available at deer.dnr.IN.gov under Field to Freezer: Meat Preparation. Remember to wear gloves, wash your hands after processing, and clean and disinfect your instruments after use.
Have your deer checked for CWD
Indiana DNR has opportunities statewide to have your deer checked for chronic wasting disease (CWD) during the 2020-21 deer hunting season. Hunters may voluntarily submit samples for testing at select fish & wildlife areas (FWAs) and state fish hatcheries (SFHs) throughout the hunting season. Deer heads can be dropped into designated coolers at select FWAs and SFHs, or hunters may make an appointment for their harvested deer to be sampled by a biologist during office hours. The 2020-21 sampling locations and their hours of operation are listed on the website.
Alternatively, hunters may independently submit their deer to the Purdue Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (ADDL) for testing for a fee. Hunters should complete the submission form and follow the shipping instructions on Purdue ADDL’s website.
Hunters who submit a deer for CWD testing will receive a metal tag reminiscent of Indiana’s historical deer harvest confirmation process.
If you’re hunting out of state, know before you go
If you plan to hunt deer somewhere other than Indiana, remember to check carcass transportation regulations in the state which you are hunting. Indiana’s carcass transportation regulations can be found on our website. Help us reduce the risk of spreading disease by following state regulations.
Have questions about deer seasons or regulations?
Use our Deer Hotline by emailing INDeerHotline@dnr.IN.gov or calling 812-334-3795, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
Hunting seasons beginning in October
Wild Turkey Fall Archery: Oct. 1 – Nov. 1
Deer Archery: Oct. 1 – Jan. 3, 2021
Woodcock: Oct. 15 – Nov. 28
Red and Gray Fox: Oct. 15 – Feb. 28, 2021
Coyote and Striped Skunk: Oct. 15 – Mar. 15, 2021
Wild Turkey Fall Firearms: Oct. 21 – Nov. 1
Ducks, Coots, Mergansers:
North Zone: Oct. 24 – Dec. 13
Central Zone: Oct. 31 – Nov. 8
North Zone: Oct. 24 – Nov. 1
Central Zone: Oct. 31 – Nov. 8
North Zone: Oct. 17 – 18
Central Zone: Oct. 24 – 25
South Zone: Oct. 31 – Nov. 1
North Zone: Oct. 17 – 18
Central Zone: Oct. 24 – 25
South Zone: Oct. 31 – Nov. 1
Mourning dove season will close on Oct. 18. Dog running season for raccoon and opossum will close on Oct. 25.
Stay safe this hunting season
Hunters across the state are taking to the woods, fields, and wetlands. We would like to remind everyone to be aware of their surroundings as they participate in the pastime they enjoy. Fall weather attracts many to the outdoors – be mindful of other visitors, never shoot beyond your target, and always fully identify an animal before taking a shot.
If you’ll be hunting from a tree stand, remember to wear a safety harness connected to a tree stand safety line or tree belt. The majority of hunting accident reports DNR receives are related to falls from tree stands and are preventable. Don’t become another statistic: stay connected from the moment you leave the ground. Learn more about tree stand safety online.
Check in your deer, wild turkey, or river otter
The Indiana CheckIN Game system allows hunters and trappers to check in their harvested game from any device connected to the internet. You will receive a confirmation number that must be written down on a temporary transportation tag for the harvested game species (turkey, deer). Be sure to check your information to ensure accuracy before submitting. Deer and wild turkeys must be checked in within 48 hours of harvest; river otters must be checked in within 24 hours of harvest. Have your Customer ID and harvest information ready.
Remember, you don’t need to log in to your account to check in game for this fall – you can do so by clicking Game CheckIN and entering your Customer ID number and date of birth.
Please do not re-enter the correct information if you have entered incorrect information into the CheckIN Game system because each submission registers as a harvested animal. Email your confirmation number, name, and changes that need to be made to INhuntfish@dnr.IN.gov.
To view all game that was previously checked in with the CheckIN Game system, you will need to set up an account through our online system. You can purchase licenses, check in game, complete your HIP registration, and make a donation through your account.
Hunters still have the option of visiting traditional check stations where a confirmation number will be provided to hunters to place on their temporary transportation tag. There is also a phone-in option at 1-800-419-1326; however, there is a $3 charge for this service (Visa or MasterCard only).
Stay safe on the road – look out for deer
As the days shorten and the breeding season for deer approaches, the chances of encountering deer on Indiana roadways increases significantly. Motorists should pay close attention while driving to decrease the risk of collision. Deer-vehicle accidents can be minimized by practicing good defensive driving skills.
Staying aware and keeping the following information in mind can help motorists reduce their chances of becoming another deer-vehicle collision statistic:
- Deer are most active at dawn and dusk.
- Deer often travel in groups. If you see one deer, another is likely nearby.
- Be especially careful in areas where you have seen deer before.
- Use high beams when there is no opposing traffic. Scan for deer’s illuminated eyes or dark silhouettes along the side of the road.
- If you see a deer, slow your speed drastically, even if it is far away.
- Exercise extreme caution along wooded edges, at hills, and during blind turns.
- Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Most serious crashes occur when drivers try to miss a deer, but hit something else.
Statistics about deer-vehicle collisions in Indiana are available in the 2019 Indiana Deer Report.
As water temperatures cool down, muskie fishing will heat up this fall. Muskies will actively feed to prepare themselves for the cold winter months ahead. Anglers should focus on fishing shallow areas where bait fish will also congregate. Fishing with large crankbaits, jerkbaits, and swimbaits can hook anglers the fish of a lifetime, as muskies in Indiana can reach 50+ inches in length.
As leaves change color and start to fall, it’s also a great time to hit the streams for smallmouth bass fishing. Crisp nights and low water levels concentrate fish in deep, clear water. Big bass usually can be found in the upstream portion of pools or in slack water behind boulders or logs. Anglers should remember these big fish are wary, and a stealthy approach is necessary. Using light fishing line or fluorocarbon is recommended with clear water. Fishing isolated cover may produce the largest fish. Prey fish are abundant, and some species will be schooling as they migrate to winter locations. Try matching lures to available prey color and size. Some good choices in lures are soft plastic crayfish and minnow baits. Fall evenings can elicit an exciting top water bite.
Use our Where to Fish map to find great fishing locations. Some sites also have stream water level gauges to help you prepare.
Remember to practice responsible recreation
Looking to enjoy the fall weather? Most recreational activities are available at all Fish & Wildlife Areas. While visiting, make sure you’re doing your part to keep properties healthy, beautiful, and safe. Remember to carry out your trash and enjoy the outdoors safely by parking only in designated areas and driving 30 mph or less.
Be sure to prepare for your visit and know where you’re going. Hunters are not required to wear hunter orange until firearms season in November, and could be hard to spot. If you see a bowhunter, give them space to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Consider wearing hunter orange when entering areas where hunters are present, especially when venturing off-trail.
Time to evict bats from your home
As temperatures drop, most Hoosiers hunker down to stay warm, and native bats are preparing to do the same. Big brown bats may use buildings for hibernation, causing homeowners to search for solutions to evict their unwelcome guests.
Bat removal takes finesse. Ideally, temperatures should be above 50-60°F for five consecutive nights without high winds or precipitation. August through October is the best time to remove bats. In winter and early spring (November – April), most of Indiana’s bat species are hibernating and should NOT be removed at this time. In the summer (June – August), bats are rearing pups and should NOT be evicted to prevent trapping juveniles.
Using one-way, funnel-shaped exclusion devices to evict bats is the most efficient method of removing and preventing bats from roosting in structures. These devices allow bats to exit but not enter a building. Once it is clear and bats are not entering elsewhere, the bat entrance(s) can be repaired. A variety of materials can be used, making it easy to find a solution that works best for your home.
For immediate assistance with injured bats, please contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. If you need help figuring out bat-proofing solutions for your home, consider contacting your district wildlife biologist.
Report sick or dead wildlife
Help DNR track wildlife health over time and detect potential disease outbreaks through a new reporting system. Individuals are encouraged to report fish or wildlife displaying odd behavior or signs of disease. DNR is especially interested in incidents involving the death of five or more animals, recurring deaths of animals in the same location over a period of time, deer exhibiting signs that may indicate chronic wasting disease or epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or incidents involving threatened or endangered species.
Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund at Work: Amphibians
DNR herpetologists are currently conducting their annual fall nest searches for state endangered hellbenders in the Blue River. Hellbenders have become extremely rare in Indiana, but DNR, along with Purdue University and several zoos are working together to recover the species. By collecting eggs and rearing them in captivity, biologists are able to release hellbenders large enough that most fish predators won’t be able to eat them. Partnering agencies in Kentucky and Ohio also have been providing eggs from their populations. Hellbenders from these eggs will eventually be released into Indiana waters. You can help further hellbender conservation efforts by donating to the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund.
Recent news releases
- Oct. 11 – Big Sit!, Goose Pond Fish & Wildlife Area
- Oct. 29 – Early Childhood Development Workshop, Martinsville
- Buy a license
- Hunting information
- Where to Hunt
- Fishing information
- Where to Fish
- Fish & Wildlife properties
The Indiana Natural Resources Foundation's mission is to support and encourage the charitable, educational and scientific programs of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Together, we have helped expand public lands, restore wildlife habitat and create education opportunities.
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.