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Indiana

Hunting

General Information

Bag and Possession Limits

It is illegal to take more than the daily bag limit of a wild animal in a calendar day.

Beginning the second day of the season, the possession limit is two times the daily bag limit for species other than migratory birds (including waterfowl), deer, and wild turkey.

The possession limit does not apply to a wild animal that is processed and stored at an individual’s primary residence, except for waterfowl and migratory birds.

It is illegal to carry, transport, or ship outside Indiana, in open season, in one day, a wild animal that the individual has taken in open season in excess of the possession limit.

A harvested wild animal left unattended (not in the immediate vicinity of the individual who took the animal) while in the field must have a tag attached or be in a container or bag with the following information: the name and address of the person who took the animal, total number and species of wild animals taken, the date the wild animals were taken, and the signature of the person who killed the animal(s).

You cannot transport a harvested wild animal for another person that is in excess of your bag limit unless the animal is tagged as described above.

You may carry the carcass of a wild animal for another person while in the field or transporting from the field as long as the person who killed the animal is present with you.

When transporting pheasant, the head and head plumage of the bird must remain attached until processing.

Legal Hunting Hours

Turkey: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset (the hunting hours may differ on state-owned property — see Wild Turkey: Hunting Hours).

Deer: One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Furbearer: Trapping/Hunting/Running: No restrictions.

Small Game: No restrictions, except for rabbits on designated DNR properties in February (see Small Game Regulations).

Waterfowl (ducks and geese): One-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except for teals, which are sunrise to sunset. Shooting hours may differ on state-owned property (see Public Hunting Areas).

Wild Animals Found Dead

If a deer, wild turkey, river otter, fox squirrel, gray squirrel, Eastern cottontail rabbit, Northern bobwhite, pheasant, or furbearer (e.g., beaver, coyote, fox, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, skunk, long-tailed weasel) dies after a collision with a motor vehicle, an Indiana Conservation Officer (see DNR Law Enforcement Districts) or other law enforcement officer, DNR property manager or assistant property manager (see Public Hunting Areas), or wildlife biologist (see DNR Wildlife Biologists) may issue a permit to an individual to possess the dead animal.

An Indiana Conservation Officer or a person designated by the Conservation Officer may also issue a permit to possess one of these animals if it is found dead from another cause.

Wildlife found deceased from unknown causes can be reported at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife.

Disturbing Nests or Dens

It is illegal to disturb the den, nest, hole, burrow, or house of a wild animal by shooting, digging, cutting, or chipping into the animal home and with the aid of smoke, fire, fumes, chemicals, a ferret or other small animal, or with any mechanical device (other than a lawfully set trap) introduced into the location where the animal is hidden or sheltered.

A person must not wear or use a device to climb poles or trees or possess an ax or saw while in the field at night. This is to ensure the prevention of dislodging a wild animal from its home or other location where it has hidden itself for security or protection.

Trespassing

It is illegal to hunt, trap, chase, or retrieve game on private land without the consent of the landowner or tenant.

Always ask permission before entering private property. A form requesting permission to access private land can be found at hunting.IN.gov.

Use of Drones

State law prohibits the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to search for, scout, locate, or detect a wild animal as an aid to take that animal during the hunting season and for 14 days prior to the hunting season for that animal. There are a few exceptions for purposes such as agricultural production, nuisance wild animal control, and scientific research.

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

Party Hunting

Party hunting is illegal. In a party hunting arrangement, a hunter not only shoots to fill their license but also shoots additional game to fill the licenses of other hunting party members.

Spotlighting

It is illegal for a person to deliberately cast a spotlight or other artificial light from a motor vehicle if in possession of any firearm (including a handgun), bow, or crossbow.

It is also illegal to shine a spotlight, searchlight, or other artificial light for the purpose of taking, attempting to take, or assisting another person to take any wild animal, excluding furbearing mammals, crayfish, and frogs or while fishing.

Red Dot Sights

Red dot sights are legal for all hunting.

Hunting from a Vehicle or Boat

Mammals and birds may not be taken or chased from, by the use of, or with the aid of any motor-driven conveyance (including boats), except:

  • By an individual authorized to hunt from a stationary vehicle with a Persons with Disabilities Hunting Permit.
  • To hunt waterfowl or squirrels from a motorboat if the boat is beached, resting at anchor, tied to a stationary object, or otherwise without motion, except as provided by wind, water current, or hand-operated oars or paddles.

It is illegal to ride an off-road vehicle with a loaded firearm unless it’s a legally possessed handgun or if the person carrying the firearm is operating the vehicle on property the person owns, has a contractual interest in, or has permission from the landowner to possess the firearm on the property in accordance with Indiana Code 14-16-1-23.

Wanton Waste

It is illegal to kill or cripple any wild animal without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the animal. It is also illegal to enter private property without permission to retrieve downed game. Before hunting, individuals should make sure they have permission to track game on land adjoining their hunting area.

Handguns

While hunting, an individual may carry a handgun without a handgun license in accordance with Indiana Code 35-47-2-1 found at iga.IN.gov. It is illegal to take a deer with a handgun except during the firearms season, during the muzzleloader season with a muzzleloading handgun, and when in compliance with DNR regulations.

Disposing of Carcasses

Carcasses of wild animals that are lawfully taken cannot be dumped in streams or other bodies of water. Rotting carcasses in a waterway can affect water quality downstream.

Dumping dead wild animals in a waterway is considered littering and is a criminal offense punishable by a fine.

Carcasses should not be burned, as the act can cause air pollution. Carcasses cannot be left in the open for scavengers or people to see without permission from the landowner. Do not dump carcasses on public land. The DNR recommends all discarded carcasses and unwanted animal parts be bagged and sent to a landfill.

Shooting Across Roads or Waters

It is illegal to hunt, shoot at, or kill any animal or to shoot at any object within, into, upon, or across any public road. It is illegal to shoot into or across the waters of the state or boundary waters of the state, except in the lawful pursuit of wildlife.

Where to Hunt

Indiana’s Division of Fish & Wildlife manages 169,164 acres of land. Some of this land includes Fish & Wildlife areas, Wetland Conservation Areas, and Wildlife Management Areas. Reservoir properties and State Forests add another 200,000-plus acres. This combination provides various hunting opportunities for the public. To find a hunting spot near you, visit on.IN.gov/where2hunt.

Indiana Private Lands Access

The Indiana Private Lands Access program provides hunting opportunities to hunters to hunt on privately owned land enrolled in the program. When the application period is open, hunters can apply online at on.IN.gov/reservedhunt for a chance to participate. For more information about the program, visit on.IN.gov/private-lands-access.

Harassment of Hunters & Trappers

It is illegal to intentionally interfere with the legal taking of a game animal by another person on public land or on private land without permission of the landowner.

Selling of Wild Game

Protected or regulated wild animals, live, dead, or the meat therefrom, cannot be sold, traded or bartered. (Exceptions: furbearers, squirrel tails, deer hides, antlers, hooves, and cured game bird feathers may be sold. All must be lawfully taken.)

DNR, Federal Property Rules

Hunting and trapping regulations may vary on some state or federal properties. Please check with the property manager for current regulations before hunting or trapping on state or federal areas (see Public Hunting Areas).

Violation Penalties

A violation of a fish and wildlife law or regulation is a Class C infraction. If it is done with knowledge or intent, it is a Class C misdemeanor.

Any person who takes a deer or wild turkey in violation of any regulation will be penalized $500 in addition to any other penalty under the law and can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor or Class A misdemeanor (with a prior conviction). Equipment such as guns and vehicles used in intentional violation of fish and wildlife laws may be seized for evidence and, upon conviction, confiscated at the discretion of the court.

Purple Paint=No Trespassing

Landowners can mark the perimeter of their property where entry is denied to the public with purple paint on either trees or posts. The purple marks must be readily visible to any person approaching the property. A purple-paint perimeter serves the same legal purpose as a “No Trespassing” sign. For more information, see Indiana Code 35-43-2-2 at iga.IN.gov.

Silencers/Suppressors

Silencers/suppressors can be used to take wild animals without a permit or special authorization from the Indiana DNR, but they must be used in accordance with federal law. It is a Class B misdemeanor to hunt on private land without consent from the landowner or tenant and use or possess a silencer or suppressor (Indiana Code 14-22-38-4.5).

Hunter Orange Requirements

To meet fluorescent orange (or “hunter orange”) clothing requirements, hunters must wear one or more of the following items that is solid fluorescent orange in color and exposed at all times as an outer garment: vest, coat, jacket, coveralls, hat, or cap. Minimal logos or patches are allowed.

Camouflage-patterned fluorescent orange garments do not satisfy the requirement.

Fluorescent orange must be worn when hunting: