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Bonus Antlerless Deer

Antlerless Deer Bag Limit

The fundamental approach to controlling white-tailed deer populations is to harvest female deer. Hunters have the opportunity to help in this management effort by participating in the bonus antlerless program.

Bonus antlerless county quotas have been set for the 2016-17 Indiana deer hunting season, with quotas being reduced in five counties and increased in two.

As a result, 59 counties are open for the special antlerless season (Dec. 26 through Jan. 1), one less than a year ago. Only counties with a quota of 4 or above are eligible for the special antlerless season.

In addition to the basic bag limits, hunters can purchase bonus licenses to take additional antlerless deer. No more than one deer can be taken per bonus antlerless license. Bonus antlerless licenses can be used in any season, except the Reduction Zone Season, using the equipment that is legal for that season. Antlerless deer harvested with the deer license bundle can be used toward the bag limit for bonus antlerless deer in that county as well as the archery, muzzleloader, special antlerless-only bag limits. If used toward the bonus antlerless deer county quota, the county quota applies.

Bonus licenses may be used in any county, but you may not take more than the county quota for bonus antlerless deer in any specific county. The map on the right indicates county quotas for bonus antlerless deer. The quota indicates the number of antlerless deer that can be taken with bonus antlerless licenses in that county. No more than one deer can be taken per bonus antlerless license.

County quotas range from A to 8. For counties designated as an “A”, a bonus antlerless license can be used to take one antlerless deer from Nov. 24 through Jan. 1, 2017 (the last four days of regular firearms season, plus muzzleloader and archery seasons). Bonus antlerless licenses cannot be used in an “A” county prior to Nov. 24.

There is no statewide bonus antlerless limit. You may take as many bonus antlerless deer as you desire as long as the county bonus antlerless bag limits and other deer regulations are followed.

Determining bonus antlerless quotas is based on a variety of factors – hunter harvest trend data, crop damage reports, deer-vehicle collisions, deer-vehicle collisions per billion miles driven, and landowner and hunter surveys that measure individual satisfaction level with deer numbers per county.

Data collection starts right after each season’s deer harvest numbers are tabulated.

The DNR’s deer management biologist develops recommendations and provides the data to DNR district wildlife biologists for their input. Indiana Conservation Officers also make recommendations.

The three sets of recommendations are presented to a panel of administrators from DNR Fish & Wildlife and Law Enforcement. The panel reviews the recommendations to establish the bonus antlerless quota for each county.

Bonus antlerless licenses may not be used on DNR-managed Fish & Wildlife Areas and some other DNR properties. They can be used on some Healthy Rivers INitiative sites. Contact the property or go to for details.

Youth/Lifetime License Holders

Comprehensive lifetime hunting/fishing and resident youth hunt/trap license holders are not required to purchase bonus antlerless deer licenses since they are included in those license types. Lifetime/youth license hunters must follow the bonus antlerless bag limits and all other deer regulations.

Special Antlerless Firearms Season

The special antlerless deer (only) firearms season is Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, 2017, in counties with a bonus antlerless deer quota of 4 or more (shaded counties on map). DNR-managed wildlife areas are excluded from the special antlerless season.


Shaded counties are participating in the special antlerless only firearms season, Dec. 26, 2016 through Jan. 1, 2017.

Bonus Antlerless County Quota Map

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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