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Small Game

Hunting Regulations Icon Indiana Hunting

Rabbit

Cottontail rabbit season is from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28.

Hunting hours for rabbits in February on FWAs and at Mississinewa, Patoka, and Salamonie lakes are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour before sunset.

There are no equipment or ammunition restrictions for rabbit hunting. A 12- or 20-gauge shotgun loaded with 6- to 7 1/2-size shot is recommended.

It is illegal to remove a rabbit from a hole, den, or tree hollow with the aid of a ferret or other small animal or other means. Hunter orange clothing requirements must be met while hunting rabbits (General Information).

It is illegal to hunt, take, or possess swamp rabbits, which are an endangered species in Indiana.

Rabbits can be chased with a dog year-round with a hunting license. Certain restrictions apply on DNR-managed properties.

Squirrel

Gray and fox squirrel season is from Aug. 15 through Jan. 31.

Hunter orange clothing requirements (General Information) must be met while hunting squirrels from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31.

There are no equipment or ammunition restrictions for squirrel hunting. A 20-gauge or smaller shotgun loaded with 6- to 7 1/2-size shot or a .22-caliber rimfire rifle is recommended.

Shooting into or disturbing leaf nests and squirrel dens is illegal at all times.

It is illegal to hunt flying squirrels, which are protected species in Indiana. They cannot be possessed without a special permit.

Gray and fox squirrels can be chased with dogs year-round with a hunting license. Certain restrictions apply on DNR-managed properties.

Resident Hunting License Requirements for Small Game, Game Birds, Migratory Birds

Animal

License Required

Small Game

Rabbit, Squirrel* Hunting
Frog, Turtle Hunting or Fishing

Game Birds

Pheasant, Quail Hunting and Game Bird Habitat Stamp
Crow Hunting
Wild Turkey** Turkey and Game Bird Habitat Stamp

Migratory Birds

Waterfowl
(Duck and Goose)
Hunting, Indiana Waterfowl Stamp, HIP Validation
Number, and, if you are 16 or older, a Federal Duck Stamp
Mourning Dove Hunting, HIP Validation Number,
and Game Bird Habitat Stamp
Woodcock Hunting and HIP Validation Number

 

Reptile/Amphibian

All reptiles and amphibians native to Indiana are regulated species.

Species of frogs, lizards, salamanders, snakes, toads, or turtles on the state- or federal-endangered species list may not be taken at any time. Eastern box turtles also are protected and cannot be collected from the wild at any time.

The collection limit for native nongame amphibians and reptiles is two per day and four per year (from April 1 through March 31 of the following year) for any one species. The possession limit is four per species.

Eastern snapping, smooth softshell, and spiny softshell turtles can be taken only between July 1 and March 31 of the following year and must be at least 12 inches in carapace length.

Carapace length is the straight-line measure along the top surface of the shell from the central point of the front edge directly behind the turtle’s neck to a central point on the back edge directly above the turtle’s tail.

A license is required to take a reptile or amphibian from the wild (see Reptile/Amphibian Seasons & Limits table).

Indiana residents older than 17 must possess a valid hunting or fishing license while collecting species of reptiles and amphibians from the wild. All nonresident adults and nonresident youth must possess a nonresident annual hunting license while collecting reptiles and amphibians from the wild.

License holders must obey season dates and bag limits, and use legal methods. An individual with a valid hunting or fishing license may take game frog and game turtle species from a DNR property where hunting or fishing is authorized. Air rifles and firearms cannot be used at state parks.

Other species of reptiles and amphibians may not be taken from any DNR property.

The daily bag limit is 25 for game frog species and four for game turtle species. The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

Reptiles and amphibians collected from the wild in Indiana may not be sold. Only legally collected amphibians or reptiles held for fewer than 30 days may be released at their original capture site if they have never been housed with another animal.

Reptile/Amphibian Seasons & Limits

Species

Season

Daily Bag Limit

Possession Limit

Game Turtles Eastern Snapping Turtle July 1 to March 31 4* 8*
Smooth Softshell Turtle
Spiny Softshell Turtle
Restrictions Turtle traps may be used, but may not have an opening below the water surface. 12-inch minimum carapace length.
Game Frogs Green Frog & Bullfrog June 15 to
April 30
25* 50*
Restrictions Frogs may be taken with the following: a gig or spear with a head not more than 3 inches in width and a single row of tines; long bow and arrow; club; hands alone; hand line with not more than one hook or artificial lure attached; .22-caliber firearm loaded with bird shot only; or an air rifle that fires a lead pellet (.177 diameter minimum) at least 500 feet per second.

 

Attention Small Game Hunters

In early 2020, an outbreak of rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2 (RHDV-2) was identified in wild and domestic rabbits in the Southwestern United States. The recent outbreak is the first detection of this disease in wild rabbits in the U.S. RHDV-2 is highly contagious among rabbits and has the potential to spread rapidly. As of July 2020 (prior to the printing of this Guide), the virus had not been detected in Indiana’s wild rabbit populations. RHDV-2 does not pose a threat to human health.

RHDV-2 can be transmitted among rabbits through direct contact, shared food resources, and excrement. Additionally, surfaces may become contaminated by contact with tissue, blood, meat, fur, or excrement from an infected animal.

As always, hunters should not harvest rabbits or any other game species that appear sick. Hunters should take extra precautions when field dressing rabbits to minimize the potential for spread of disease. The following guidelines are also recommended at this time: use disposable or rubber gloves while handling game, disinfect tools and surfaces, and wash hands after cleaning game.

Remains should not be disposed of where rabbits or scavengers can access them. Instead, bag remains and dispose of them in the trash. Hunters are encouraged to shower and change clothing as soon as possible after cleaning game and to bathe dogs that come into contact with rabbits.

If RHDV-2 spreads to Indiana, it may cause significant local rabbit die-offs. Please report any dead or sick wild rabbits to the DNR at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife