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Indiana DFW Mission and Vision

The mission of the Division of Fish and Wildlife is to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations by balancing the biological, ecological, recreational, and economic benefits of Indiana’s fish, wildlife and their habitats.


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)


The Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife:

  • Values biological, ecological, and social sciences for the advancement of conservation while engaging citizens
  • Serves as a bold, creative ambassador for conservation
  • Values the roles of citizens in conservation
  • Fosters a culture of respect, fairness, accountability, transparency, and the application of sound science
  • Nurtures our identity so that citizens understand our mission and how conservation contributes to the quality of life
  • Engages in proactive dialogue to foster trust and transparency

Fish & Wildlife Offices

Office of Public Lands


  • Fish & Wildlife Properties
  • Fish Hatcheries
  • Public Access

Office of Private Lands


  • Private Lands Wildlife Biologists
  • Invasive Species Biologists
  • Environmental Unit Biologists
  • Lake and River Enhancement Biologists
  • Shooting Range Development Specialist 

Office of Science and Research


  • Fish Research and Management Biologists
  • Wildlife Research Biologists
  • Fish & Wildlife Health Biologists
  • Biometrician and Data Management
  • Social Science

Office of Planning and Public Engagement


  • Planning and Business 
  • Licensing and Permits 
  • Public Engagement: Outreach, Education, Volunteering and Citizen Science


The mission and values of the Division of Fish & Wildlife provide a foundation for the following targets:

  • Protect aquatic and terrestrial habitat for all wildlife species through initiatives such as land acquisition, conservation easements, reserve programs (Farm Bill), partnerships, improved land use, and educational strategies.
  • Use marketing strategies to increase the sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses, and to communicate and educate the public on the importance of fish and wildlife management and conservation programs.
  • Increase the capabilities of the Wildlife Diversity Program commensurate with new federal funding opportunities.
  • Develop solid, landscape-level biological information and use that information to communicate the importance of active management for all wildlife species.
  • Improve opportunities for the hunting, fishing, and trapping public to enjoy traditional pursuits.
  • Establish protocols to address invasive species and wildlife disease issues.

History of Fish & Wildlife

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:

  • 432 Public Access Sites
  • 151,000 acres for wildlife management
  • Over 100 Fish & Wildlife Areas and satellite properties
  • 12 DFW-operated shooting ranges

The quest for additional wildlife habitat is ongoing, thanks to the original efforts of Indiana’s conservation organizations. See how you can help.