Deer Hunting Questions & Answers
Questions about Indiana’s deer seasons and regulations can be directed to the Indiana Deer Hotline at INDeerHotline@dnr.IN.gov or 812-334-3795, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
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 Deer Reduction 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 a Deer Reduction Zone license in a Deer Reduction Zone, the hunter must take an antlerless deer with a Deer Reduction Zone license prior to taking an antlered deer. The "earn-a-buck" requirement only applies to Deer Reduction 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 county antlerless quota for bonus antlerless deer in any specific county. Antlerless deer harvested with archery, crossbow, muzzleloader, or deer reduction zone licenses do not count as bonus antlerless deer. Antlerless deer harvested using a deer bundle license may apply to the bonus antlerless county quota depending in which season you harvest the deer. Any antlerless deer harvested in firearms season counts towards your bonus antlerless county quota. For more information, see the Indiana Hunting & Trapping Guide.
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 Deer Reduction Zone Season?
No. The Bonus Antlerless License cannot be used to fulfill the Deer Reduction Zone bag limit. You must buy a deer reduction zone license to hunt in these zones when working towards deer reduction zone bag limits.
How many licenses can I buy? How many deer can I harvest?
You are permitted to buy one Firearms License, two Archery or Crossbow licenses, one Muzzleloader license, and 10 Deer Reduction Zone licenses. Each county has a Bonus Antlerless bag limit ranging from zero to eight. 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. See all license fees.
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. See all license fees.
I bought a(n) Archery, Crossbow, Firearms, Muzzleloader, Deer Bundle and/or Deer Reduction Zone license. Will the first Bonus Antlerless license I buy be discounted? (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 Deer Reduction Zone?
A Deer Reduction Zone, Resident Youth Hunt/Trap, Lifetime Comprehensive Hunting or Lifetime Comprehensive Hunting and Fishing license is required to hunt in the Deer Reduction Zones unless you meet a license exemption.
Can I use an archery, crossbow, deer bundle, firearms, muzzleloader, or bonus antlerless license to hunt in a Deer Reduction Zone?
Yes and No. Hunters may harvest deer with these licenses in Deer Reduction Zones (during the appropriate seasons), but those deer will go toward the hunter’s archery/crossbow, firearms, muzzleloader, or bonus antlerless county bag limit. Only deer harvested under a Deer Reduction Zone license count toward the hunter’s Deer Reduction 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 Deer Reduction 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 a Deer Reduction 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, Deer Bundle, Youth Hunt/Trap, Lifetime Comprehensive, 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.
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 Youth License (must be 18 years of age by first day of first hunt to apply), 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?
- Indiana farmland owners, their spouses, and dependent children living with them.
- Resident lessees of farmland who farm that land, their spouses, and dependent children living with them with permission from the landowner.
- 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.
- 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.
- Residents or non-residents participating in a field trial sanctioned by the DNR Director.
- Non-resident military personnel on active duty and stationed within Indiana may hunt and/or fish with a resident license.
- 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 a Deer Reduction 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 two antlerless deer and one antlered deer OR three antlerless deer. The bundle cannot be used in a deer reduction zone to satisfy deer reduction zone bag limits.
How many deer can I harvest during the Special Antlerless Firearms season?
The Special Antlerless Firearms season is closed in 2021-2022. When open, deer harvested during the Special Antlerless Firearms season count toward the bonus antlerless county quota limit. The Special Antlerless Firearms Season is allowed in counties with a county bonus antlerless quota of 4 or more (see the Bonus Antlerless map in the Hunting & Trapping Guide).
What is the deer reduction zone bag limit?
The bag limit is 10 deer, of which only one can be antlered. Individuals hunting in a designated Reduction Zone who are attempting to satisfy the Reduction Zone bag limit must harvest an antlerless deer before harvesting an antlered deer.
Can I purchase and fill two Archery licenses and two Crossbow licenses?
No, you are allowed to purchase and fill either two Archery licenses, two 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 specific circumstances, yes. You are allowed to harvest one antlered deer in the regular statewide deer season, one in any Deer Reduction Zone 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 the Youth season, youth hunters may take the number of antlerless deer that is allowed by the bonus county quota, as well as one antlered deer.
What can I shoot with an Archery license?
You are allowed to purchase and fill two 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 Military areas (Crane NWSC and Atterbury MMTC) and two 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.
When is the Deer Reduction Zone Season?
The Deer Reduction Zone Season is now continuous and runs from Sept. 15, 2021 through Jan. 31, 2022.
When is the Firearms Season?
The Firearms Season starts the first Saturday after Veterans Day and runs for 16 days. The 2021 season is Nov. 13 – Nov. 28.
When is the Archery Season?
Archery Season is from Oct. 1 through the first Sunday in January. The 2021 season runs from Oct. 1, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022.
When is the Muzzleloader Season?
The Muzzleloader Season starts the first Saturday after the end of Firearms Season and runs for 16 days. The 2021 season is Dec. 4-19.
When is the Youth Deer Season?
The Youth Deer Season is the weekend prior to Oct 1. This year, the season is Sept 25-26.
When is the Special Antlerless Firearm Season?
The Special Antlerless Firearms season is closed in 2021-2022. When open, the season starts Dec. 26 and runs through the first Sunday in January of the next year in counties with a County Bonus Antlerless Quota of 4 or more.
In which counties is the Special Antlerless Firearm Season offered?
The Special Antlerless Firearms season is closed in 2021-2022.
In what season can I use the Deer License Bundle?
The Deer License Bundle can be used during the youth, archery, firearm, muzzleloader, and special antlerless firearms seasons. The bundle cannot be used in a deer reduction zone to satisfy deer reduction zone bag limits.
When can crossbows be used?
Crossbows can be used during the entire archery season. Crossbows can also be used during the deer reduction zone season. However, to hunt with a crossbow, you must purchase a crossbow license, deer license bundle, bonus antlerless license, resident youth hunt/trap license, or already have a lifetime comprehensive hunting license.
What rifles are allowed in Firearms Season?
The Department of Natural Resources has received numerous questions regarding recent legislation that legalizes certain rifles for deer hunting beginning in November of 2017.
Equipment on Private Lands
State law (Indiana Code 14-22-2-8) allows some additional rifle cartridges to be used on private land during the deer firearms season.
A summary of the rifle requirements for deer hunting on private land are as follows:
- The rifle cartridges must have a cartridge case length of least 1.16 inches and have a maximum case length of 3 inches
- The cartridge must fire a bullet with a diameter that is .243 inches (same as 6mm) or larger
- A hunter may not possess more than 10 such cartridges for each of these rifles while hunting deer
- These new rifle cartridges may only be used on private land
- Full metal jacketed bullets are illegal
- These new rifle cartridges may be used during the youth deer season, deer firearms season, special antlerless firearms season (where open), and deer reduction season from Nov. 13, 2021 through Jan. 31, 2022 (in deer reduction zones where local ordinances allow the use of a firearm)
Rifle cartridges that are legal under this law for private land include, but are not limited to, the following:
- 6mm BR Remington
- 6mm PPC
- 6mm Remington
- .240 Weatherby
- .243 Winchester
- .243 Winchester Super Short Magnum
- .25 Remington
- .25-06 Remington
- .270 Winchester
- .30 Carbine
- .30 Herrett
- .30 Remington AR
- .30-06 Springfield
- .30-30 Winchester
- .30-40 Krag
- .300 AAC Blackout (.300 Whisper)
- .300 H &H Magnum
- .300 Remington Short Action Ultra Magnum
- .300 Savage
- .300 Weatherby Magnum
- .300 Winchester Magnum
- .300 Winchester Short Magnum
- .300 Remington Ultra Magnum
- .303 British
- .307 Winchester
- .308 Marlin
- .308 Winchester
- .32 Winchester SL
- .35 Remington
- .350 Legend
- .38-55 Winchester
- .444 Marlin
- .45-70 Government
- 6.5 Creedmoor
- 6.8 SPC
Equipment on Public Land
Rifle cartridges for Public Lands (state and federal property) must meet the following requirements:
- Fire a bullet of .357-inch diameter or larger,
- Have a minimum case length of 1.16 inches, and
- Have a maximum case length of 1.8 inches
These cartridges are legal to use only during the deer firearms, youth, reduction zones from Nov. 13, 2021 - Jan. 31, 2022 (in zones where local ordinances allow the use of a firearm), and special antlerless seasons (where open).
Some cartridges legal for deer hunting on public include the .350 Legend, .357 Magnum, .38-.40 Winchester, .41 Magnum, .41 Special, .44 Magnum, .44 Special, .44-.40 Winchester, .45 Colt, .454 Casull, .458 SOCOM, .475 Linebaugh, .480 Ruger, .50 Action Express, .500 S&W, .460 Smith & Wesson, .450 Bushmaster, and .50 Beowulf. Full metal jacketed bullets are illegal.
Air Guns for Deer Hunting
Air guns that use non-ignited compressed air or other gas charged by an external high compression power source and meet the following specifications are now legal for deer hunting during the youth, firearms, and deer reduction zone seasons when firearms are allowed (Nov. 13 – Jan. 31):
- Air rifles .40 caliber or larger that fire a bullet with a single discharge of 400 ft. pounds of energy
- Air bows with an arrow or bolt with metal or metal-edged broadheads and metal points and a minimum speed of 300 feet per second
- Deer Bundle
What licenses can the deer license bundle cover?
You can use the bundle to cover 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 cover 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 cover 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 deer reduction zone 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 firearms 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. Just be sure to follow all season and county quota bag limits.
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. This means antlerless deer cannot be harvested with a firearm during firearms season on DNR properties.
- See the Indiana Hunting and Trapping Guide.
- Contact the DNR property you wish to hunt for exceptions.
If the property has restrictions on bonus antlerless license harvest, use the flowchart to determine how to use the bundle on these properties.
Can I use the bundle in the deer reduction zone?
No, the deer license bundle cannot be used in the deer reduction zone to satisfy deer reduction zone bag limits. It can be used in deer reduction zones when fulfilling regular season bag limits
Now that I've harvested a deer, how do I clean it?
How do I cook venison to make it taste good?
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 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 Deer Reduction Zone season?
Please see the Deer Reduction Zone Interactive map for details.
Can I harvest a buck in a Deer Reduction Zone?
Individuals hunting in a designated deer reduction zone and are attempting to satisfy the deer reduction zone bag limit must harvest an antlerless deer within the deer reduction zone first before taking a buck. Individuals hunting in an area within a Deer Reduction Zone may take a buck if hunting under regular deer hunting season license, and are not required to take a doe first.
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
How should I dispose of the carcass and unwanted animal waste?
Carcasses of deer and other wild animals that are lawfully taken cannot be dumped in streams or other bodies of water. Dumping dead deer and other wild animals in a waterway is considered littering and is a criminal offense punishable by a fine. Rotting carcasses in a waterway can also affect water quality for those downstream. Carcasses should not be burned because this can cause air pollution. Carcasses shouldn’t be left in the open for scavengers and others to see without permission from the landowner. We recommend all discarded carcasses and unwanted animal parts be bagged, placed in your trash, and sent to a landfill.