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By Joe Caudill, Indiana deer biologist

The Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife needs your help to best manage deer populations in the state. For that purpose, we invite you to take the Annual Deer Management Survey.

This survey will ask about your perceptions of deer populations and how you interact with deer. If you hunt deer, it will also ask about your deer hunting and harvest behaviors, thoughts about your deer hunting experience, and views on different deer hunting regulations. 

You may complete the survey by clicking the link below. This link will take you to Qualtrics, the web host of the Division of Fish & Wildlife's online surveys. This link is unique to you and can only be used once, so do not forward it.  

IDNR Report 

Indiana sportsmen have until March 20 to comment on deer hunting regulations proposed by the DNR.

The Indiana Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has opened a public comment period for the proposed changes before they vote on final adoption.

Most proposed changes intend to simplify Indiana’s deer hunting rules to make them easier to understand.
Proposed changes include:

  • A statewide bag limit of six antlerless deer.
  • A newly created County Antlerless Bag Limit instead of season antlerless bag limits. Because of this change, the bonus antlerless license would be the multiple-season antlerless license that could be used in the archery, muzzleloader, and firearms seasons.
  • Hunters would not be able to harvest an antlerless deer on Fish & Wildlife properties with a firearm.
  • The use of crossbow equipment would be allowed with the archery license.
  • The minimum caliber for a muzzleloader would be reduced from 0.44 inches to 0.40 inches.
  • If a deer is unfit for human consumption, DNR staff would be able to issue an authorization to take an antlerless deer in its place that will not count toward the statewide bag limit or county limit.
  • Adding the deer Reduction Zones and County Antlerless Bag Limits.
  • Removing the Special Antlerless Firearms season.

Public comments can be submitted online at IN.gov/nrc/rules/rulemaking-docket/ via the “Comment on this rule” link in the Rulemaking Docket for the Deer Hunting Amendments. Comments can also be mailed to: Natural Resources Commission, Indiana Government Center North , 100 North Senate Ave., Room N103, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

The deadline for public comments is March 20. A public hearing will be held on March 20 from 4 to 8 p.m. ET at the Garrison at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis; you can attend in person or online anytime during that timeframe. To attend the public hearing, starting at 4 p.m. on March 20, go to Microsoft Teams and enter Meeting ID: 296 491 887 327, Passcode: xTCuyW.

Sign up for updates online at wildlife.IN.gov/rule-regulation-changes.

For more information on the proposed rule changes, visit wildlife.IN.gov/rule-regulation-changes/.

Questions about the proposed deer rule changes should be directed to 812-334-3795 or indeerhotline@dnr.IN.gov

By JOHN PEPIN, Deputy Public Information Officer, Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan Deer Harvest InfoMichigan Deer Harvest Info

The 2023 firearm deer season is officially complete. Although there are still deer hunting opportunities happening in December, we know most of our 2023 hunter effort is officially in the books.

The license sales and harvest data are mixed throughout the state.

Harvest figures

The reported deer harvest for the entire state is down compared to last year by a total of 11% or almost 30,000 deer. This is certainly significant in the eyes of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and something that is being closely watched. There are many factors that can contribute to the reduction of harvest.

Reported deer harvest in Michigan as of Dec. 5, 2023 (all deer seasons) decreased compared to the autumn of 2022 by 26% in the Upper Peninsula, 16% in the northern Lower Peninsula and 7% in the southern Lower Peninsula.

Taking a look at where the highest harvest totals are within Michigan’s 83 counties, it is no surprise that they come in the southern portion of the state. Significantly milder winters and abundance of food from agriculture continue to support high deer density where these conditions exist.

MDNR Report

The 2023 muzzleloader season began Friday and ends at the close of shooting hours on Sunday, Dec. 10. When heading out to enjoy your season, remember that legal equipment and other regulations vary based on where you are hunting.

“As the goals of deer management have changed, so do regulations around muzzleloader season,” said Chad Stewart, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist. “The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recognizes the abundant deer population in the southern part of the Lower Peninsula and is focusing on ways to increase antlerless harvest. The DNR wants hunters to have every opportunity to maximize success and help manage the deer population in southern Michigan.”

Due to low hunter success during muzzleloader season, the DNR extended the late antlerless season in 2020, while reducing the muzzleloader season in the southern Lower Peninsula.

Additionally, in the southern Lower Peninsula, any firearm legal during the traditional firearm season (Nov. 15-30) can be used during the muzzleloader season.