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What’s New In 2016

Hunting Regulations Icon Indiana Hunting

Three notable changes are in place for the 2016-17 hunting and trapping seasons.

The first involves certain rifles for deer hunting, sometimes referred to as high-powered rifles.

The State Legislature passed a law earlier this year that allows some new rifle options for deer hunting on private land only. The new law does not affect regulations for other rifles previously allowed for deer hunting.

In summary, the new options have the following requirements:

  • The rifle must have a barrel length of at least 16 inches.
  • The cartridge must have a case length of at least 1.16 inches.
  • The cartridge must fire a bullet with a diameter that is .243 inches (same as 6mm) or .308 inches (same as 7.62 mm).
  • Bullets with a diameter smaller than .243 inches (same as 6mm), larger than .308 inches (same as 7.62mm), or in between .243 and .308 are not legal.
  • A hunter may not possess more than 10 cartridges for each of these rifles while hunting deer.
  • Full metal jacketed bullets are illegal.
  • The new rifle options can be used only on private land.

The new law also approved use of a handgun that fires the 10mm Auto or .40-caliber Smith & Wesson to hunt deer during seasons when firearms are legal to use. Full metal jacketed bullets are illegal.

Rifles and calibers meeting these requirements also can be used during the deer reduction zone season (beginning Nov. 12 through Jan. 31, 2017) in zones where local ordinances allow the use of a firearm, the youth deer season (Sept. 24-25), the firearms season (Nov. 12-27), and the special antlerless season (Dec. 26-Jan. 1, 2017).

See for a list of some of the legal rifle cartridges and additional information about firearms that are legal to use for deer hunting.

In other legislative action, state law now prohibits the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e., drones) to search for, scout, locate, or detect a wild animal as an aid to taking that animal during the hunting season, and for 14 days prior to the hunting season for that animal.

An “unmanned aerial vehicle” means an aircraft that (a) does not carry a human operator, and (b) is capable of flight under remote control or autonomous programming.

The third change involves untanned hides or unprocessed carcasses of furbearers. Previously, they were illegal to possess after certain dates. There is no longer a deadline for the possession of lawfully obtained untanned hides or unprocessed carcasses of furbearers taken during the season.

Furbearers include the following species: red and gray fox, coyote, striped skunk, Virginia opossum, beaver, mink, muskrat, raccoon, and long-tailed weasel.

Also, a new online licensing system was unveiled earlier this year –

The new system requires customers 18 and older to create an online account. Customers can use the account to buy their licenses, buy or redeem gift certificates, get their Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, and make donations.

If you’re already a DNR customer, log in using the Customer ID located on the top left of a previous license.

Improvements include:

  • Free reprints of licenses.
  • The ability to save a license to your smartphone through the print feature. (Electronic copies of licenses are now valid.)
  • An option to print all valid licenses on one piece of paper, regardless of purchase date.
  • The ability to view active licenses and licenses that have expired in the last 30 days.
  • License options adjusted for your age, residency and hunter education status.
  • Quick links for hunting, fishing and trapping regulations, the Wild Bulletin e-newsletter, and social media accounts for the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.
  • A “shopping cart” feature that allows you to see what you are buying.
  • Email receipts.

The system accepts Visa, Mastercard and Discover. A future version will include the CheckIN Game feature for hunters using computers and mobile devices to report their harvest through their account.