One of the best-known responsibilities of the Department of Natural Resources is the regulation of wild animals through the Division of Fish and Wildlife. With a few limited exceptions, the responsibility includes all wild animals.
A "wild animal" is one that lives in the wild or is not domesticated. Both native species and species brought into Indiana from other states or countries are subject to regulation. An "animal" is defined by statute to include "all mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, and mollusks."
In addition to performing regulatory functions, the Division of Fish and Wildlife:
- manages properties in Indiana
- provides public information hunting, fishing, or trapping
- supports non-game species of animals such as river otters and eagles
- protects and rehabilitates wildlife habitat
Responsibilities for the regulation of fish and wildlife are assigned by the Indiana General Assembly in statutes and implemented largely through rules. Most statutory authority is set forth in IC 14-22, what is sometimes called the "Fish and Wildlife Code." The Natural Resources Commission adopts permanent rules to help implement the Fish and Wildlife Code, and these rules have the force and effect of law.
- 312 IAC 9-1 General Application of Definitions
These rule provisions contain definitions to supplement definitions set forth by statute at IC 14-8 or by rule at 312 IAC 1.
- 312 IAC 9-2 Restrictions and Standards Applicable to Wild Animals
These rule provisions describe several restrictions and standards with general application to taking, chasing, or possessing wild animals.
- 312 IAC 9-3 Standards for Hunting and Trapping Mammals
These rule provisions govern wild animals that are mammals. In many instances, seasons or bag limits are described for particular species of mammals (such as white-tailed deer). Endangered and threatened species of mammals are protected.
- 312 IAC 9-4 Standards for Hunting Birds
These rules provisions supplement regulations established by the federal government for migratory birds and waterfowl. Endangered and threatened species of birds are protected.
- 312 IAC 9-5 Standards for Taking Reptiles and Amphibians
These rule provisions govern wild animals that are reptiles and amphibians. Endangered and threatened species of reptiles and amphibians are protected.
- 312 IAC 9-6 Sport and Commercial Fishing Standards
These rule provisions contain standards for commercial and sport fishing. Endangered and threatened species of fish are protected.
- 312 IAC 9-7 Individual Fishing Standards
These rule provisions contain standards that apply to an exempt or licensed individual who fishes on waters containing state-owned fish.
- 312 IAC 9-10 Special Licenses
These rule provisions govern special licenses and permits applicable to the management of wild animals. Examples include falconry licenses, nuisance wild-animal control permits, scientific collector permits, and dog training ground permits.
- 312 IAC 9-11 Wild Animal Possession Permits
These rule provisions set standards for the possession of certain types of wild animals, including cage requirements. Included among the wild animals requiring a permit are: cats (other than common house cats), bears, some species of rabbits and squirrels, foxes, minks, beavers, skunks, opossums, raccoons, some species of weasels, coyotes, beavers, venomous reptiles, and members of the crocodile family.
- 312 IAC 9-12 Hunter Education
These rule provisions set the standards for mandatory hunter education for an individual born after December 31, 1985.