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Scientific Collectors/Purposes License

When is a license required?

A Scientific Purposes License is required by state law in Indiana Code 14-22-22 for activities pertaining to the capture/handling/collection of wild animals for scientific purposes, including scientific education. Wild animals, by definition (IC 14-8-2-7), include mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, mollusks, and crustaceans.  Activities including, but not limited to, electro-shocking fish, banding birds, surveying mussels, mist-netting bats, and trapping or capturing mammals and reptiles protected by law require a scientific purposes license. A scientific purposes license is not required by the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife to capture or collect insects or plants, but permission is required from the property manager or Division (for State Parks, State Recreation Areas, State Forests, and dedicated Nature Preserves); please see the contact information listed below.

How do I obtain a license?

An application form must be submitted that includes the purpose of the activity, methods to be used, species to be captured or taken, and the location of the proposed activity. Research proposals should be included to provide additional information. Two relevant scientists/biologists must sign the application form for new applicants. These signatures are required by state law (IC 14-22-22-2) and attest to the character, scientific accomplishments, and fitness of the applicant. You can contact Linnea Petercheff, with the Division of Fish & Wildlife, at 317-233-6527 or at if you have any questions.

Who may apply?

Any individual may apply if he/she meets the qualifications outlined in the regulations to conduct scientific studies and is affiliated with one of the institutions listed (312 IAC 9-10-6). The license is issued in the name of an individual, not a business or university.

When should I apply?

We recommend that you apply at least one to two weeks in advance of your first planned field activities. Some proposed activities, such as those in areas with endangered species or mussels, require more extensive review and can require a longer period of time before issuance of a license.

How and where so I apply?

An individual may obtain an application form on this web page. Please mail a check or money order payable to the Indiana DNR with the application form, proposal, payment, and annual report (if applicable), or upload the application and any additional documents and pay online by credit card or PayPal. Please note that there is an additional fee of $1 plus 1.99% for the credit card fee to pay online. The application form, license fee, and any additional documents can also be mailed to:

License and Permit Supervisor
Division of Fish & Wildlife
402 W. Washington Street, Room W273
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Forms can be emailed to

If you plan to do work on a state park or reservoir property, you will need an additional permit (permission) from the Division of State Parks. View the guidelines (PDF).

If you plan to do work on a dedicated nature preserve, permission from the Division of Nature Preserves is required; contact Wyatt Williams at 317-232-8062 or at

If you plan to do work on a state forest, permission from the Division of Forestry is required; contact Scott Haulton at 317-234-5725 or at

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