There’s still time to harvest a deer
Three deer hunting seasons are open in January, but two are closing soon. Archery and special antlerless firearms seasons close Jan. 3. Reduction zone season runs until Jan. 31. Find current harvest numbers, answers to frequently asked questions, processing videos, and more on our deer website.
DNR requesting gray fox reports
In 2020, DNR began a gray fox research project in collaboration with the Wildlife Ecology Institute and Luther College. You can help make the project successful by reporting gray fox sightings. Gray foxes have brown legs and ear backs, and a black stripe down the top of their tail, as opposed to red foxes, which have black legs and ear backs, and usually a white tip on the tail. Learn more about the project and find a form to submit sightings online.
Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.
Coyote teeth needed
As part of ongoing research with Purdue University, DNR needs teeth from coyotes hunted or trapped during the regulated season. Teeth are needed from 30 Indiana counties: Benton, Brown, Carroll, Clark, Crawford, DeKalb, Elkhart, Floyd, Fountain, Greene, Harrison, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, LaGrange, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Noble, Orange, Owen, Perry, St. Joseph, Steuben, Tippecanoe, Warren, Washington, and White.
Help us spread the word. We need several hundred coyote teeth to make this project successful. You can request teeth envelopes and an instruction sheet by emailing WildlifeIndex@dnr.IN.gov or calling 812-822-3304.
Apply for light goose hunting opportunities
The light goose conservation order is open from Feb. 15 through March 31, statewide. The light goose conservation order is a continental effort to reduce snow and Ross’s goose populations by allowing hunting for these species outside of the regular season. An Indiana hunting license, Indiana waterfowl stamp privilege, and a free permit are required to participate. A federal duck stamp and HIP registration are not necessary. The free permit and additional information are available online.
Hunting and trapping seasons ending soon
Multiple hunting and trapping seasons close within the next month:
Deer Archery Season: Ends Jan. 3
Deer Special Antlerless Firearms Season: Ends Jan. 3
Deer Reduction Zone: Ends Jan. 31
Turkey Fall Archery: Ends Jan. 3
Raccoon & Opossum (hunting, trapping): Ends Jan. 31
Gray & Fox Squirrel: Ends Jan. 31
Quail (South of I-74): Ends Jan. 10
Mink, Muskrat, & Long-tailed Weasel: Ends Jan. 31
Red & Gray Fox (trapping): Ends Jan. 31
Dove: Ends Jan. 7
North Zone Duck: Ends Jan. 3
Central Zone Duck: Ends Jan. 10
South Zone Duck: Ends Jan. 24
Catch a bite on the ice
Winter can be a very productive and fun time to go fishing. The most important thing for ice fishing is safety. There is no such thing as guaranteed “safe” ice. Check out our guidelines or watch this video for tips on how to stay safe and what to do if the ice breaks.
For novice anglers, favorable weather days that have mild temperatures, low wind, and are sunny offer a more enjoyable experience. Anglers often target plentiful and eager-to-bite bluegill. Use light line and a small jig tipped with live bait for your best odds of catching fish. Another commonly targeted species is largemouth bass. Using flashy jigging baits can attract largemouth or you can set out tip-ups to cover more area. Tip-ups are fairly simple and use a single hook and split shot to suspend live bait (minnow or shiner) a foot or two off the bottom. These remote fishing devices shoot up a flag when there’s a bite. Anglers of all skill levels like to chase flags that pop up, knowing their next trophy fish could be on the other end.
Both bluegill and bass are typically found around vegetation. Fishing near the edge of or above weed beds can bring success.
Lakes and many depth maps can be found on the Where to Fish Map.
Christmas tree fish structures ready to be deployed at Whitewater Lake.
Fisheries staff place habitat structures in central Indiana lakes
Habitat structures are valuable not only for anglers, but also for fish. Besides being advantageous to anglers by congregating fish, structure provides food and shelter for fish. Many impoundments in Indiana have limited habitat structures due to decomposition of woody material over time and a lack of natural inputs. While Indiana is addressing these issues in larger impoundments through the reservoir habitat improvement program, projects are also being undertaken at smaller public waters.
For the past two years, the central Indiana district fisheries office has improved structure in several smaller public impoundments through the placement of donated materials. To date, local home improvement stores have donated more than 300 unsold Christmas trees for use as fish structure. In 2020, these donations were used to create 72 fish habitat structures that were placed in Plover/Sandpiper pits, Stone Arch Lake, Beaver Bottom Lake, and Whitewater Lake. These repurposed Christmas trees would have gone to a landfill if they hadn’t been donated, making this a win-win for business and the environment. The structures were placed near high-use bank-fishing areas, around fishing piers, and in other shallow-water areas where they can be accessed by both shore and boat anglers. Most structures are placed in 4 to 8 feet of water to provide shallow-water habitat for fish and to make the fish easy for anglers to locate.
Please note that adding fish habitat structures to public waters requires a permit in accordance with the Lake Preservation Act (Indiana Code 14-26-2) and Indiana Administrative Code (312 IAC 11-4-7). Individuals cannot place Christmas trees into public waters without a permit.
To locate a fishing area near you, see our recently updated Where to Fish Map. Find information about fish habitat structures you can install at your private pond or lake on our website. Have questions about fishing or fisheries management near you? Contact your district fisheries biologist.
Biologists caught this 40-pound flathead catfish near Bloomfield.
White River fish sampling project complete
Fish community, water chemistry, and macroinvertebrate (water insect) sampling has concluded for the White River Mainstem Project. The project was a collaborative effort between the DNR, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and the Muncie Sanitary District's Bureau of Water Quality to sample the West Fork White River and White River mainstem from its headwaters to its confluence with the Wabash River.
Over 17,000 fish comprising 93 species were collected from the 62 fish sample stations. Some of the less commonly found species collected were the American eel, shovelnose sturgeon, mountain madtom, and harlequin darter. Sites will be evaluated using the Index of Biotic Integrity, which is a metric that represents the overall health of the fish community. Sites with more darters and minnows, sensitive species, and insect-eating fish receive higher scores, which indicate better environmental conditions.
Detailed information was collected on game fish species, including smallmouth bass, rock bass and catfish species. Several 18-plus inch smallmouth bass, 9-plus inch rock bass, and 25-plus inch channel catfish were collected during sampling. The largest fish collected was a 40-pound flathead catfish. Game fish information that is expected to come out next year will be incorporated into management reports on the Where to Fish Map.
For more information about the project and to view individual site information, please visit 2020 White River Mainstem Project story map.
Bald eagle successfully recovered in Indiana
Previously listed as a species of special concern, the bald eagle is officially recovered in Indiana. DNR biologists estimated Indiana supported about 300 nesting pairs across 84 counties in 2020. DNR reintroduced bald eagles to the state from 1985–1989, an effort funded by the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund. In just 35 years, bald eagles went from nonexistent on the Hoosier landscape to a thriving population statewide. Read more about their story to recovery using the link below.
Coyote activity increases in wintertime
Indiana residents are more likely to see coyotes during wintertime but shouldn’t be alarmed. Coyotes become more active during winter months as young coyotes leave their families to find a new home and the breeding season begins. During this time, coyotes may look larger than they are due to their thick winter coats, but the average coyote weighs only 20-30 pounds.
National Day of Service, Jan. 18
On Jan. 18, help celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by taking the 5 gallon challenge at any Division of Fish & Wildlife property across the state. Bring a small bag or bucket to a property and pick up trash as you enjoy your visit. Your small act of kindness keeps public lands and waterways healthy and beautiful for people and wildlife.
Find a property to visit on Jan. 18 at on.IN.gov/dfwproperties. If you post a picture, tag the Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife and use #bucketINtrashOUT to share your good work.
Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund at Work: Mammals
How can you save endangered species? By donating to the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund. DNR has used a portion of these donations to aid in conservation of the Allegheny woodrat, a state endangered mammal with limited habitat in southern Indiana. In the early 2000s, DNR discovered that Allegheny woodrat populations lacked a diverse gene pool and were dying at rates higher than the expected from predators alone. A portion of your donations allowed DNR biologists to improve the genetic diversity of the state’s Allegheny woodrat population by moving individuals captured in neighboring states to the Hoosier state. Those funds also aided efforts to reduce woodrat deaths caused by a parasite spread by raccoons. The effects of these management efforts are still seen today, nearly 10 years later. A recent genetic analysis has shown that most of the Allegheny woodrat populations in Indiana have retained the genetic diversity they gained from the translocation efforts.
This significant victory in Allegheny woodrat conservation was made possible through contributions to the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund by Hoosiers like you. Donations have lasting impacts that help drive research and management of Indiana’s imperiled species. Find more information about how you can help woodrats and other species of concern by visiting our website.
NRC meets at Fort Harrison State Park
The Natural Resources Commission will conduct its regular bi-monthly meeting on Jan. 19 at Fort Harrison State Park. The agenda will be posted before the meeting.
Find a listing of upcoming events on the DNR Calendar.