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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Fish & Wildlife > Hunting & Trapping > Hunting & Trapping Guide > Deer Hunting Questions & Answers Deer Hunting Questions & Answers

Licenses

Can I use my Firearms License to take an antlerless deer?

No. The Firearms License can only be used to harvest an antlered deer and can only be used during the Firearms Season.

Do I need to purchase a Hunting License (general = small game species) in addition to my Deer Hunting license in order to hunt deer?

No. A Hunting License only covers small game species like rabbit, squirrel, red fox, grey fox, coyote, etc. A Deer Hunting license must be purchased to hunt deer. See hunting guide for more information.

Can I use my Firearms License during Muzzleloader Season?

No. The Firearms License can only be used during Firearms Season.

Can I use my Muzzleloader License during Firearms Season?

No. The Muzzleloader License can only be used during Muzzleloader Season

Do I have to buy a Firearms, Archery, or Muzzleloader License before I buy a Bonus Antlerless License?

No. The Bonus Antlerless License can be purchased separately.

Is a Bonus Antlerless License valid for all seasons?

No. The Bonus Antlerless License is valid for the Archery, Firearms, Muzzleloader and Late Antlerless seasons only and it is valid only for antlerless deer (See Property Restrictions). The Bonus Antlerless License cannot be used to fulfill the Urban Deer Zone bag limit.

Do I have to shoot an antlered deer before I shoot an antlerless deer? (or vice versa)

Yes and No. There is no required sequence in harvesting deer for statewide seasons (youth, archery, firearms, muzzleloader). If a hunter is using an urban deer zone license in an urban deer zone, the hunter must take an antlerless deer with an urban deer zone license prior to taking an antlered deer. The "earn-a-buck" requirement only applies to urban deer zone bag limits, which are in addition to statewide bag limits.

How many bonus licenses can I use?

There is no statewide limit for bonus antlerless deer. You may not take more than the bonus antlerless county quota for bonus antlerless deer in any specific county. Antlerless deer harvested with archery, crossbow, muzzleloader, or urban zone licenses do not count as bonus antlerless deer.

Is my Bonus Antlerless License valid for the Archery Season?

Yes, except for counties designated as "A". The Bonus Antlerless License can be used during the Archery Season using any legal archery equipment including crossbows. You may not use a bonus antlerless license in counties designated as "A" until the last four days of the firearms season. (See Property Restrictions)

Is my Bonus Antlerless License valid for the Firearms Season?

Yes. The Bonus Antlerless License can be used during the Firearms Season using any legal firearm. For counties designated as "A", a bonus antlerless license is valid beginning the last four days of the firearm season. (See Property Restrictions)

Is my Bonus Antlerless License valid for the Muzzleloader Season?

Yes. The Bonus Antlerless License can be used during the Muzzleloader Season using any legal muzzleloading equipment. (See Property Restrictions)

Is my Bonus Antlerless License valid for the Urban Deer Zone Season?

No. The Bonus Antlerless License cannot be used to fulfill the Urban Deer Zone bag limit.

How many licenses can I buy? How many deer can I harvest?

You are permitted to buy one (1) Firearms License, two (2) Archery or Crossbow licenses, one (1) Muzzleloader license, and four (4) Urban Deer Zone licenses. Each county has a Bonus Antlerless bag limit ranging from zero (0) to eight (8). You are permitted to purchase and use the number of Bonus Antlerless licenses that each county allows. Each license will allow you to harvest one deer (exceptions: youth licenses, deer license bundle, lifetime license). Check the deer season bag limit summary in the hunting and trapping guide.

How much do the licenses cost?

Each deer license costs $24 for an Indiana resident and $150 for a non-resident. In addition, the second and subsequent Bonus Antlerless licenses cost $15 for residents and $24 for non-residents.

How much does a deer license bundle cost?

The Resident Deer License Bundle costs $65, the Nonresident Deer License Bundle costs $295, and the Nonresident Youth Deer License Bundle costs $65. A resident youth should purchase a Youth Hunt/Trap License for $7 which covers all deer seasons and bag limits.

I bought a(n) Archery, Crossbow, Firearms, Muzzleloader, Urban Zone license. Will the first Bonus Antlerless license I buy cost me $15 for a resident or $24 for a non-resident?

No. Your first Bonus Antlerless license will cost you $24 for a resident or $150 for a non-resident. Your second and subsequent Bonus Antlerless licenses will cost $15 for resident or $24 for a non-resident.

What kind of license do I need to buy for the Urban Deer Zone?

An Urban Deer Zone, Resident Youth Hunt/Trap, Lifetime Comprehensive Hunting or Lifetime Comprehensive Hunting and Fishing license is required to hunt in the Urban Deer Zones unless you meet a license exemption.

Can I use an archery, crossbow, or bonus antlerless license to hunt in an Urban Deer Zone?

Yes and No. Hunters may harvest deer with archery, crossbow or bonus antlerless licenses in Urban Deer Zones, but those deer will go toward the hunter’s archery/crossbow or bonus antlerless county bag limit. Only deer harvested under an Urban Deer Zone license count toward the hunter’s Urban Deer Zone bag limit.

What kind of license do I need to have for the Special Antlerless Firearms season?

You need a Bonus Antlerless license, Deer License Bundle, Lifetime Comprehensive Hunting license, Lifetime Comprehensive Hunting and Fishing license, Resident Youth Hunt/Trap license, or meet a license exemption. When Archery and Urban Deer Zone seasons overlap the Special Antlerless Firearm season, you may also continue to hunt those seasons with the appropriate licenses.

What kind of license do I need to have in order to hunt with a crossbow?

A Crossbow license is required to hunt with a crossbow during the archery season, unless that individual has a valid Resident Youth Hunt/Trap, Deer License Bundle, Lifetime Comprehensive Hunting, Lifetime Comprehensive Hunting and Fishing license, a Bonus Antlerless license, or is exempt from needing a license. Hunters may also use crossbows when hunting with an Urban Zone license, as long as there are no local restrictions against crossbows in the area they plan to hunt.

What kind of license do I need to buy to register for the Military/Refuge Deer Hunts?

In order to register for the Military/Refuge hunts, you need to possess any valid deer hunting license, including all Resident Deer licenses, Non-Resident Deer licenses, Youth license or Lifetime Comprehensive license.

What kind of license do I need to hunt on a Military/Refuge Deer Hunts?

In most situations, it is best to use a Military/Refuge license because the harvested deer will not count against your statewide bag limits. You may, however, use a Resident or Non-Resident Deer License (Archery, Crossbow, Firearm, Muzzleloader, Bonus Antlerless license), but these licenses can only be used when the military or refuge hunt coincides with the season in which the license is valid and the harvested deer will count against your statewide bag limits. A Deer License Bundle, Youth License or Lifetime Comprehensive License may also be used.

What kind of license do I need to buy to register for the State Park Deer Reduction Hunts?

In order to register for the State Park Deer Reduction, you need to purchase a Resident Deer License, a Non-Resident Deer License, a Youth License or possess a Lifetime Comprehensive License. The purchase of an additional license is not required when drawn to hunt deer in a State Park.

I have already taken my quota of Bonus Antlerless deer in my county. Can I take a deer during the Special Antlerless Firearms Season in that county?

No. Once you reach the Bonus Antlerless Quota Limit for your county, you can no longer utilize a Bonus Antlerless License in that particular county (or any multi-use license that would be used as a Bonus Antlerless license in that season, e.g., a deer license bundle).

I have already taken my quota of Bonus Antlerless deer in my county. Can I use a Bonus Antlerless license in another county?

Yes. You are allowed to take the Bonus Antlerless Quota limit in each county in Indiana.

Can I use a landowner’s exemption if I lease farmland for hunting?

No. The exemption is for farmland owners and lessees of farmland that farm that land.

What are the exemptions to purchasing a hunting license?

  1. Indiana farmland owners, their spouses and dependent children living with them.
  2. Resident lessees of farmland who farm that land, their spouses and dependent children living with them with permission from the landowner.
  3. Resident of Indiana engaged in full-time military service and who are carrying leave orders and a valid Indiana driver’s license or voter registration card.
  4. An individual who is less than 13 years of age; does not possess a bow or firearm; and is accompanied by an individual who is at least 18 years of age and holds a valid license.
  5. Residents or non-residents participating in a field trial sanctioned by the DNR Director.
  6. Non-resident military personnel on active duty and stationed within Indiana may hunt and/or fish with a resident license.
  7. A non-resident youth younger than 18 years old may hunt, trap and/or fish with a resident license if their parent, grandparent or legal guardian is an Indiana resident.

Bag Limits

How many deer can I shoot with my license?

You are allowed to harvest one deer per license (with the exception of the deer license bundle, youth hunt/trap license or lifetime license.)

How many deer can I shoot in one day?

There is no daily bag limit for deer, however, you must stay within the state and county bag limits.

How many antlered deer can I harvest?

You are allowed to harvest one antlered deer per year in the regular deer season in Indiana. Additional opportunities may be granted to take an additional antlered deer in special circumstances, such as hunting in an urban deer zone, a military/refuge hunt, or in a State Park hunt.

How many deer can I harvest with a deer license bundle?

This license includes privileges to harvest 2 antlerless deer and 1 antlered deer or 3 antlerless deer. The bundle cannot be used in an urban deer zone to satisfy urban deer zone bag limit

How many deer can I harvest during the Special Antlerless Deer Only firearms season?

Deer harvested during this season count toward the bonus antlerless county quota limit. The Special Antlerless Firearm season is only allowed in counties with a bonus antlerless quota of 4 or more.

What is the urban deer zone bag limit?

The bag limit remains at 4 antlerless deer or 3 antlerless deer and 1 antlered deer.

Can I purchase and fill two (2) Archery licenses and two (2) Crossbow licenses?

No, You are allowed to purchase and fill either two (2) Archery license, two (2) Crossbow licenses or one of each.

What is the bag limit for a deer crossbow license?

You are allowed to purchase and fill two Crossbow licenses which allows you to harvest one antlerless deer and one deer of either sex using a crossbow; however, if you do harvest an antlered deer with either of the Crossbow licenses, you will not be able to harvest an antlered deer using an Archery, Firearms, or Muzzleloader license during either the Archery season, the Firearms season or Muzzleloader season respectively. Any combination that totals two archery or crossbow licenses can be used during a hunting season.

Can I take more than one antlered deer per year?

Under certain circumstances, yes. You are allowed to harvest one antlered deer in the regular statewide deer season, one in any Urban Deer Zone using Archery equipment and an Urban Deer Zone license after harvesting an antlerless deer, one for each Military/Refuge hunt you have access to; using a Military license, and one for each State Park Hunt you are selected to participate in. If you are selected for a State Park Hunt, a license is not required.

How many deer can I harvest during youth deer season?

During this season, youth hunters may now take the number of antlerless deer that is allowed by the bonus county quota, as well as one (1) antlered deer.

What can I shoot with an Archery license?

You are allowed to purchase and fill two (2) Archery licenses which allows you to harvest one antlerless deer and one deer of either sex using conventional archery equipment (longbow, recurve or compound bow); however, if you do harvest an antlered deer with either of the Archery licenses, you will not be able to harvest an antlered deer using a Firearms license or a Muzzleloader license during either the Firearms season or Muzzleloader season respectively.

What can I shoot with a Firearms license?

A Firearms license allows you to harvest one antlered deer only during the Firearms Season.

What can I shoot with a Muzzleloader license?

A Muzzleloader license allows you to harvest one deer of either sex, during the Muzzleloader Season, unless you have taken an antlered deer previously.

How many deer can I harvest in the Military/Refuge Hunts?

You are allowed to harvest one deer per license. There are two (2) Military areas (Crane NWSC and Atterbury MMTC) and two (2) Refuge areas (Muscatatuck NWR and Big Oaks NWR). Each have their own requirements on hunting deer on their respective properties. If you are selected for a hunt on one or more of these properties, information will be available online at www.hunting.in.gov.

Seasons

When is the Urban Deer Season?

The Urban Deer Season is now continuous and runs from Sept. 15 through Jan. 31.

When is the Firearms Season?

The Firearms Season starts the first Saturday after Veteran's Day, and runs for 16 days. The 2014 season is Nov. 15 - Nov. 30.

When is the Archery Season?

Archery Season is from October 1 through the first Sunday in January. The 2014 season runs from Oct. 1 to Jan. 4. As of 2012, there is no longer a break between early and late archery season.

When is the Muzzleloader Season?

The Muzzleloader Season starts the 1st Saturday after the end of Firearms Season and runs for sixteen (16) days. The 2014 season is Dec. 6 - 21.

When is the Youth Deer Season?

The Youth Deer Season this year is Sept. 27 - 28, 2014.

When is the Special Antlerless Firearm Season?

The special antlerless deer only firearm season starts Dec. 26 and runs through the first Sunday in January (Jan. 4, 2015) in counties with a bonus antlerless quota of 4 or more.

In which counties is the Special Antlerless Firearm Season offered?

Any county with a bonus antlerless quota of four or more. (See Property Restrictions)

In what season can I use the deer license bundle?

The deer license bundle can be used during the special youth deer, archery, firearm, muzzleloader, and special antlerless deer only seasons. The bundle cannot be used in an urban deer zone to satisfy urban deer zone bag limits.

Equipment

Is a .30-30 or .45-70 legal for deer hunting in 2014-15?

These weapons are not legal for deer hunting in the 2014-15 season, as they fire bullets smaller than the .357-inch diameter minimum. A proposed rule change for the 2015-16 hunting season would allow rifles that fire bullets as small as .243-inch diameter (which includes both .30-30 and .45-70 rifles), but this rule change is not yet approved.

What are the rifle cartridge size requirements for Firearms Season?

Cartridges must fire a bullet of .357-inch diameter or larger and have a case length between 1.16 and 1.8 inches. Examples of legal cartridges now include the .460 Smith & Wesson, .450 Bushmaster, and .50 Beowulf as well as the .357 Magnum, .38-.40 Winchester, .41 Special and others.

When can crossbows be used?

Crossbows can now be used during the entire archery season. Crossbows can also be used during the urban deer zone season. However, to hunt with a crossbow, you must purchase a crossbow license, or a deer license bundle.

Deer Bundle

What licenses can the deer license bundle replace?

You can use the bundle to replace the one antlered deer you would harvest using your archery/crossbow license OR your firearms license OR your muzzleloader license.

AND The bundle can be used to replace up to two antlerless deer you would harvest using your archery/crossbow license OR your muzzleloader license OR your bonus antlerless license.

OR You can use the bundle to replace the three antlerless deer you would harvest using your archery/crossbow license, muzzleloader license, and/or bonus antlerless license.

What are the benefits of the deer bundle for multi-season hunters?

The benefits are:

  • The ability to hunt multiple seasons (except the urban season) and harvest up to three deer.
  • The opportunity to hunt antlered deer in the archery/crossbow, firearms, and muzzleloader seasons until you harvest an antlered deer.
  • Increased cost savings the more seasons you hunt.

What are some examples of things you CAN do with the deer bundle license?

  • You can hunt for your antlered deer during archery season while filling antlerless bags. If you do not have an antlered deer come by during archery season, pick up a legal firearm and go out during that season.
  • You can have three licenses available during firearms season, and if you don't fill them, take your muzzleloader out during muzzleloader season, or take your firearms out in the special antlerless season and try to harvest an antlerless deer.
  • You can have a license privilege that allows you to harvest 1 antlered and 2 antlerless or 3 antlerless deer during the archery season, flip back and forth using different types of legal archery equipment (long/recurve/compound/cross) during the archery season if you prefer. If you choose not to harvest all three deer with archery equipment, you can pick up a legal firearm and hunt during firearms, muzzleloader, or special antlerless season until you reach your bag limit for the deer bundle.

Can I use the bundle as a bonus antlerless license on DNR properties?

The bundle cannot be used to take bonus antlerless deer on a DNR property during special antlerless deer season nor during any regular deer season, except where authorized.

Can I use the bundle in the urban deer zone?

No, the deer license bundle cannot be used in the urban deer zone to satisfy urban deer zone bag limits. It can be used in urban zones when fulfilling regular season bag limits

Can I use a crossbow with the deer bundle?

Yes, any legal equipment can be used for the seasons that the bundle can be used

Other Information

Now that I've harvested a deer, how do I clean it?

Links to deer processing videos:
Deer skinning
Deer Quartering
Deer Loins and Foreleg
Deer Hind Quarter

How do I cook venison to make it taste good?

Links to deer recipe videos:
Sesame Venison Kabobs (Grilled)
How to cook Venison Parmesan
Venison Steaks with Bleu Cheese Sauce
Venison Pumpkin Chili

What good manners should I follow when I am hunting?

Review them on the hunting etiquette page.

What are the legal firearms for Firearms Season?

The legal firearms for the Firearms Season are shotguns, handguns, center-fire rifles of specific cartridge dimensions, muzzleloading handguns and muzzleloading long guns.

What are the legal firearms for Muzzleloader Season?

The legal firearms for the Muzzleloader Season are muzzleloading handguns and muzzleloading long guns only.

What is the minimum acreage to be considered a landowner?

There is no minimum acreage. The only requirement is that the land has to be used for some type of agricultural production (i.e. growing corn, soybeans, wheat, Christmas trees, timber that is harvested, raising cattle, sheep, pigs, goats etc.) or is assessed as agricultural land for property tax purposes.

If I shoot a deer and it goes on a neighboring property, can I legally retrieve the deer?

Unless you have permission from the landowner, preferably written, you may not go onto his/her property to retrieve/track the deer. Contact your local Conservation Officer for assistance (Central Dispatch, (812) 837-9536).

What do I do if a landowner does not give me permission to retrieve the deer I shot?

Contact your local Conservation Officer for assistance in retrieving the deer. He/she can be contacted via the Sheriff's office or the DNR Law Enforcement District for your county. The landowner can still legally refuse to give up the deer.

When must a deer hunter wear orange?

Hunter orange is required for all deer hunters during Youth, Firearm, Muzzleloader, or Special Antlerless Firearm season. Hunter orange must be worn at all times during the hunt, including walking to and from the hunting location. A good rule of thumb is: if it's any kind of firearms season, and you have your hunting weapon with you, you need to be wearing hunter orange.

How much hunter orange is required on a ground blind?

A ground blind must have at least 144 square inches of hunter orange material that is visible from any direction during any season in which a hunter is already required to wear hunter orange.

What is "baiting"?

Baiting includes any of the following: 1) a solid or liquid that is transported and intended for consumption, 2) salt, 3) mineral blocks, and 4) food that is transported and placed for consumption, including, but not limited to, piles of apples and corn placed in the field. An area is considered baited for ten (10) days after the removal of the bait and the baited soil. Hunting an orchard, or another area which may be attractive to deer as a result of normal agricultural activity, is not prohibited.

If baiting is illegal, why do stores sell product such as Stump Likker?

Stump Likker and other similar products are not illegal to sell or illegal to use as a supplement to wildlife. However, it is illegal to hunt over these products.

Which counties qualify for the Urban Deer Zone season?

The urban deer zone includes the entirety of Lake, Marion, Porter, and Vanderburgh counties and sections of Allen, Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Kosciusko, LaPorte, and Tippecanoe counties (see hunting guide for details).

Can I harvest a buck in an Urban Deer Zone?

Individuals hunting in a designated urban deer zone and are attempting to satisfy the urban deer zone bag limit must harvest an antlerless deer within the urban deer zone first before taking a buck. Individuals hunting in an area within an Urban Deer Zone may take a buck if hunting under regular deer hunting season license, and are not required to take a doe first.