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The mission of the Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife is to professionally manage Indiana's fish and wildlife for present and future generations, balancing ecological, recreational, and economic benefits.
With over 250 employees, the Division of Fish & Wildlife has a wide array of staff.
Our mission is to professionally manage Indiana's fish and wildlife for present and future generations, balancing ecological, recreational, and economic benefits.
Indiana statute defines the authority and responsibilities of the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife:
The [Division of Fish & Wildlife] shall . . . provide for the protection, reproduction, care, management, survival and regulation of wild animal populations regardless of whether the wild animals are present on public or private property . . . [and] Organize and pursue a program of research and management of wild animals that will serve the best interests of the resources and the people of Indiana.
(Indiana Code Title 14, Article 22, Chapter 2, Section 3)
Conservation of fish and wildlife resources has a rich history in Indiana that predates the Civil War.
1849 – Greene County passed what is believed to be the state’s first conservation law, making it illegal to poison fish. Eight years later, the state instituted a closed season on the hunting of deer, wild turkey and other game birds. Other laws followed, including protection of songbirds in 1873 and season dates for the hunting of ducks and woodcock in 1877.
1881 – The State Legislature created the Office of Commissioner of Fisheries, the first statewide office tasked with managing Indiana’s fish resources. Jurisdiction was extended to include game animals and birds in 1889.
1889 – Jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Fisheries Office was extended to include game animals and birds.
1901 – Indiana’s first hunting license was established and sold for $1.
1913 – Fishing privileges were added to hunting license; still $1.
1919 – The Department of Conservation (DOC) was created with five divisions, including the Division of Fish & Game. The Division included 39 employees, with a goal to increase hunting opportunities through the purchase of land.
Shortly after the turn of the century, 3,000 conservation clubs in Indiana with a combined membership of more than 300,000 rallied the State Legislature to purchase land for wildlife. Properties such as the Brown County Game Preserve and the Jasper County Game Reservation were the direct results of these efforts.
1965 – The State Legislature passed the Natural Resources Act, creating the Department of Natural Resources. This action put the DOC and its Division of Fish & Game under the DNR umbrella.
1973 – The Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act was passed. This authorized the Department of Natural Resources to develop programs to protect and manage rare species in Indiana.
Today, outdoor recreation enthusiasts of all ages enjoy hunting and fishing opportunities statewide with:
The quest for additional wildlife habitat is ongoing, thanks to the original efforts of Indiana’s conservation organizations. See how you can help.