The mission of the Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife is to professionally manage Indiana's fish and wildlife for present and future generations, balancing ecological, recreational, and economic benefits.
With over 250 employees, the Division of Fish & Wildlife has a wide array of staff.
Indiana DFW Mission and Vision
Our mission is to professionally manage Indiana's fish and wildlife for present and future generations, balancing ecological, recreational, and economic benefits.
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)
- Fish and wildlife resources belong to all the people of Indiana.
- Regulated hunting, fishing and trapping are important wildlife management tools.
- Professional management is essential to the long-term welfare of fish and wildlife resources.
- Fish and wildlife resources enrich the quality of human life.
- Fish and wildlife resources are renewable and when wisely managed will indefinitely provide numerous public benefits such as hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife viewing.
- Stewardship of fish and wildlife resources is a shared responsibility between resource managers and the citizens of Indiana.
- Public participation is essential for effective resource management.
- Regulated hunting, fishing and trapping are legitimate pursuits when conducted in fair chase.
- Hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife conservation are vital parts of our heritage.
- 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.
Fish and Wildlife Sections
Fisheries Section Information
- Fisheries Management
- Fisheries Research
- Fish Hatcheries
- Environmental Permitting and Technical Consultation
- Floodway permits
- Public Access
- Aquatic Invasive Species
- Aquatic Habitat
Wildlife Section Information
- Public Lands
- Private Lands
- Wildlife Science Unit
- GoFishIN: Expose students to fishing.
- Hoosier Outdoor Heritage: To expose students and adults to nature and the outdoors
- Project WET: Water Education for Teachers
- Project WILD: Wildlife education
- Volunteer Programs: to engage citizens in our programs
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:
- 380 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.