Potential Record Indiana Deer Season

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Last year's whitetail deer harvest in Indiana was the largest ever with 132,752 deer taken and this year officials are predicting an even larger harvest. 13 WTHR.com has a brief write up on the potential harvest.

State wildlife officials say Indiana's deer hunters are expected to take a near-record number of deer during the state's deer-hunting seasons.

The state's firearms season for white-tailed deer begins Saturday and that 16-day hunt usually accounts for most of the deer taken by hunters.

Deer biologist Chad Stewart of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources expects hunters to take a record or near-record number of deer during the state's various fall hunting seasons.

It's interesting that some states continue to pump up the total harvest, but yet overall hunter numbers are declining.


jaybe's picture

Several years ago I was told

Several years ago I was told by a friend that one of the best-kept secrets about deer hunting was the large number of huge whitetails in northern Indiana. He told of driving down there to a relative's house and one evening they went out just before dark and saw enough big bucks to make his eyes bug out.

133,000 deer is noting to sneeze at, either. That's a lot of venison from a state that has a lot of large cities and isn't generally known as a deer hunters haven.

The comment was made that while the numbers of the annual harvest continues to be "pumped up", the overall number of hunters is declining. I really don't know about other states, but in the state I usually hunt, the hunters who are out there usually have several tags in their pocket. Unlimited doe permits in large parts of the state mean that the hunters who are still sticking with it - not being discouraged by some of the factors that cause others to quit hunting - are taking more and more deer each. I sometimes hear of hunters who have taken 6, 8 or even 10 deer in a single season. Some with a bow, some with a rifle and others with a muzzle loader. When hunting with all three weapons, their season extends from October 1 all the way into the first few days of January. That's a little over three months in which they can legally pursue deer, and with a pocket full of tags, they can fill an entire freezer with prime venison.

Perhaps that's what is happening in Indiana. At any rate, good luck to the Hoosier hunters and may their aim be true.



hawkeye270's picture

I agree that it is pretty

I agree that it is pretty crazy that Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fish and Game's across the country are able to keep up harvests, and in some cases such as this one, actually inflate their harvest despite the current drops into hunter retainment and recruitment that we are seeing across the country. They can always offer the current hunters more tags but that will only work up to a certain point. Every predator has a prey satiation point where they can not kill and consume any more individuals. Humans are no different, although hunting them is awesome, there is a limit to how much meat we can consume over a year and therefore we need to start getting our hunter numbers back up.

CVC wrote: "I wonder if there isn't more of a reason for the mulie decline than just not adapting to urban life." -- Another major factor that is affecting mule deer populations is encroachment into their habitat by white tailed deer. Across the country where the two species ranges mix, white tails are pushing mule deer out. It seems counter intuitive as mule deer are larger but it is not the case. The more aggresive white tails are pushing mule deer out of thier normal ranges. I was just talking to a rancher two weeks ago that used to only have mule deer on his property... and lots of them. Once white tails started moving in, he saw mule deer numbers drop. Last year was the first year that he didn't see even a single mule deer. And he said that so far this hunting season... he hadn't seen one either.

So with us eating up so much of their habitat from one side, and white tails flanking form the other, mule deer are in for quite the turf war.

CVC's picture

Hmmmm....not an easy

Hmmmm....not an easy solution, but habitat protection is a viable one, but how do you stop the whitetail from encroaching upon the mulies terrority?  Allocate more white tail tags in certain areas to keep the numbers down?

The mulie is a wonderful species and like the rams we discussed earlier needs to be protected and preserved.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

That's a great thing!  Good

That's a great thing!  Good story.

It's amazing to me how much the whitetail population is increasing across the country, but the mule deer population is plummeting.  You would think that deer are deer, so they should all be doing okay.  However, that is not necessarily the case.  Maybe it's because whitetail can adapt to the urban environment, but you have not seen mulies do that yet.  Tough to say.

CVC's picture

I hunt Saratoga Wy and we

I hunt Saratoga Wy and we stay in town. There are lots of mulies, does, fawns and bucks living right in the city limits, sleeping and eating right in people's front lawns so these deer have adapted to urban living.  It goes without saying that the whitetail has adapted well to urban living, just observe the small patch of woods in the city and the deer it holds as proof.

But, I wonder if there isn't more of a reason for the mulie decline than just not adapting to urban life.

CVC's picture

I wonder how they track the

I wonder how they track the numbers?  Do they have a check-in program?  You make a good point about liberal tags to offset declining hunter numbers....makes sense to me.

Kansas still only allows one buck per season.  You can get multiple does, but nothing like some other states.

ecubackpacker's picture

Thinking about the numbers

Thinking about the numbers for a minute...say 90% of the deer are taken during the 16 day firearms season...that's a little over 7,400 deer per day. That's a lot of deer hitting the ground and venison for the freezer.

Most states are being very liberal with the bag limits now in an effort to keep the deer herds in check. They have to with the declining number of hunters.

Let's hope and pray it's a safe season for Indiana and all other states as well.