In general, hunting seasons for various game in Indiana usually looked something like this:
- Deer: Firearms season usually begins in mid-November and lasts for a couple of weeks. Archery season typically starts in October and extends into early January of the following year. Muzzleloader season often happens in December. There is also a special antlerless firearms season late in December, but the timing can vary.
- Turkey: Spring turkey hunting season often begins in late April and extends through early May. Fall turkey hunting season usually runs from mid-October to late October.
- Waterfowl: These seasons typically vary by zone, but they generally start in October and can extend into January of the following year.
- Small Game (rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, etc.): Seasons for these species usually run from fall into winter, with exact dates varying by species.
- Furbearers (like raccoon, fox, coyote): These seasons can range widely, with some starting in the fall and others not beginning until winter. Trapping seasons often last longer than hunting seasons for the same species.
Bear in mind that specific dates and rules can vary year by year, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) determines them based on factors such as population management needs and environmental conditions.
Also, these dates are contingent on having the appropriate hunting licenses and following all state hunting regulations, including bag limits, hunting methods, and more. It’s also worth noting that certain species may have additional restrictions, such as the need to report harvests to the DNR.
2023 – 2024 Hunting Season Dates
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has provided a schedule for hunting and trapping seasons for various species that will be in effect from February 2023 through March 2024. Here are some highlights:
Woodland Big Game
- Wild Turkey (Youth): April 22, 2023 – April 23, 2023
- Wild Turkey (Spring): April 26, 2023 – May 14, 2023
- Wild Turkey (Fall-Archery): October 01, 2023 – October 29, 2023
- Deer (Reduction Zone): September 15, 2023 – January 31, 2024
- Deer (Youth): September 23, 2023 – September 24, 2023
- Deer (Archery): October 01, 2023 – January 07, 2024
- Deer (Firearms): November 18, 2023 – December 03, 2023
- Deer (Muzzleloader): December 09, 2023 – December 24, 2023
Woodland Small Game
- Gray & Fox Squirrel: August 15, 2023 – January 31, 2024
- Pheasant (statewide-cock only): November 01, 2023 – December 15, 2023
- Quail (North of I-74): November 01, 2023 – December 15, 2023
- Quail (South of I-74): November 01, 2023 – January 10, 2024
- Rabbit: November 01, 2023 – February 28, 2024
Furbearers Hunting & Trapping Season
- Red & Gray Fox: October 15, 2023 – February 28, 2024 (Hunting), October 15, 2023 – January 31, 2024 (Trapping)
- Coyote & Striped Skunk: October 15, 2023 – March 15, 2024 (Both Hunting and Trapping)
- Raccoon & Opossum: November 08, 2023 – January 31, 2024 (Both Hunting and Trapping)
- Beaver: November 15, 2023 – March 15, 2024 (Both Hunting and Trapping)
- Mink, Muskrat & Long-Tailed Weasel: November 15, 2023 – January 31, 2024 (Both Hunting and Trapping)
- River Otter: November 15, 2023 – March 15, 2024 (Only Trapping, No Hunting)
Indiana Deer Hunting Regulations
Deer hunting in Indiana involves a number of regulations pertaining to licensing, seasons, hunting hours, hunting equipment, tagging, and reporting requirements.
Licenses are mandatory for hunting deer unless you are exempt. Depending on the season, different licenses are required. For example, an archery license is needed for the archery season, while a deer firearms license is necessary for the firearms season. A deer license bundle allows an individual to harvest up to three deer and is valid across all deer seasons except for the reduction zone season.
Time, Dress, and Calls
Deer hunting is permitted from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset across all seasons. Hunters must adhere to certain requirements such as wearing hunter orange clothing during specified seasons and not using infrared sensors or electronic deer calls. The deer harvested must adhere to certain specifications too, for example, an antlered deer must have at least one antler that’s at least three inches long.
To track your hunting, each deer killed must be tagged immediately with the hunter’s information and the specifics of the kill. This tag must accompany the deer carcass at all times unless the hunter is in immediate custody and visual contact with it. The hunter has 48 hours to register their harvested deer with the CheckIN Game system, which can be done online, by phone, or through a check station or license retailer. A confirmation number will then be provided, which needs to be recorded on a temporary transportation tag and kept with the deer until processing begins.
Various types of firearms are allowed during different seasons, and it’s legal to carry a handgun without a license while hunting. Regulations are also in place for tree stands, baiting, and hunting dogs. Additional regulations apply in deer reduction zones, which are areas where additional deer harvesting opportunities exist due to high deer densities. The deer reduction zone season and bag limits are separate from the statewide ones, and a separate license is needed.
Remember, these regulations are for deer hunting in this particular jurisdiction, and local laws and regulations might vary in different areas. Always consult local wildlife authorities to get the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Please note that each game species has specific regulations and restrictions. It is always important to verify the specific regulations for each species and each hunting season from the official Indiana Department of Natural Resources website or the latest Hunting & Trapping Guide.