Bag and Possession Limits

It is crucial to understand and abide by the legal regulations governing the harvest and possession of wild animals. Failure to comply with these limits can result in significant legal consequences.

Daily Bag Limit

Compliance with the daily bag limit is a fundamental rule. Taking more than the specified daily bag limit of a wild animal in a calendar day is strictly prohibited.

Possession Limit

From the second day of the season onward, the possession limit stands at two times the daily bag limit for species other than migratory birds (including waterfowl), deer, and wild turkey.

An important exception exists for wild animals processed and stored at an individual’s primary residence, with the exclusion of waterfowl and migratory birds.

Transportation Regulations

Transporting wild animals across state lines requires strict adherence to regulations. It is illegal to carry, transport, or ship outside Indiana, in open season, in one day, a wild animal in excess of the possession limit.

Tagging Requirement

A harvested wild animal left unattended in the field must have a tag attached or be placed in a container or bag with specific information. This includes the name and address of the person who took the animal, the total number and species of wild animals taken, the date of harvest, and the signature of the person who killed the animal(s).

Sharing and Transporting

Transporting a harvested wild animal for another person is subject to regulations. This is particularly true for animals exceeding your bag limit, unless appropriately tagged.

Carrying the carcass of a wild animal for another person is permissible while in the field or during transportation, provided the person who killed the animal is present.

Pheasant Specifics

Special considerations apply to the transportation of pheasants. The head and head plumage of the bird must remain attached until processing, ensuring compliance with regulations.

Turkey Hunting Hours

For turkey hunting, the legal hours span from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. It's important to note that hunting hours may vary on state-owned property, so hunters should be aware of specific regulations in those areas. (Wild Turkey: Hunting Hours).

Deer Hunting Hours

Deer hunting hours extend from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. It's crucial for hunters to adhere strictly to these designated hours to ensure compliance with regulations.

Furbearer Hunting/Trapping/Running Hours

No specific restrictions apply to furbearer hunting, trapping, or running activities. However, hunters should remain aware of any additional regulations that may apply to specific species or areas.

Small Game Hunting Hours

Small game hunting enjoys flexibility with no specific restrictions on hours. However, exceptions exist for rabbits on designated DNR properties in February. Hunters are advised to consult Small Game Regulations for comprehensive details.

Waterfowl Hunting Hours

Waterfowl, including ducks and geese, are subject to specific hunting hours. The legal timeframe spans from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Teals, however, have different shooting hours, occurring from sunrise to sunset. Hunters should be mindful that shooting hours may differ on state-owned property, and awareness of regulations in Public Hunting Areas is crucial.

Deceased Wild Animals Possession Permit

In the unfortunate event of a deer, wild turkey, river otter, fox squirrel, gray squirrel, Eastern cottontail rabbit, Northern bobwhite, pheasant, or furbearer (e.g., beaver, coyote, fox, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, skunk, long-tailed weasel) succumbing to a motor vehicle collision, individuals have the opportunity to obtain a possession permit.

Permit Issuers

Permits are granted by authorized personnel, including Indiana Conservation Officers (DNR Law Enforcement Districts), other law enforcement officers, DNR property managers or assistant property managers (refer to Public Hunting Areas), and wildlife biologists (refer to DNR Wildlife Biologists).

Circumstances for Permit Issuance

  1. Motor Vehicle Collision: If the animal's demise is a result of a motor vehicle collision, a permit may be issued for possession.

  2. Other Causes: In cases where the animal is found dead due to causes other than a collision, an Indiana Conservation Officer or a person designated by the Conservation Officer may also issue a possession permit.

Reporting Deceased Wildlife

For wildlife found deceased under unknown circumstances, individuals are encouraged to report such instances at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife. This proactive reporting aids in monitoring and addressing potential wildlife health concerns.

Possession Permit for Deceased Wild Animals

In the unfortunate event of a deer, wild turkey, river otter, fox squirrel, gray squirrel, Eastern cottontail rabbit, Northern bobwhite, pheasant, or furbearer (e.g., beaver, coyote, fox, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, skunk, long-tailed weasel) succumbing to a motor vehicle collision, individuals have the opportunity to obtain a possession permit.

Permit Issuers

Permits are granted by authorized personnel, including Indiana Conservation Officers (DNR Law Enforcement Districts), other law enforcement officers, DNR property managers or assistant property managers (refer to Public Hunting Areas), and wildlife biologists (refer to DNR Wildlife Biologists).

Circumstances for Permit Issuance

Motor Vehicle Collision

If the animal's demise is a result of a motor vehicle collision, a permit may be issued for possession.

Other Causes

In cases where the animal is found dead due to causes other than a collision, an Indiana Conservation Officer or a person designated by the Conservation Officer may also issue a possession permit.

Reporting Deceased Wildlife

For wildlife found deceased under unknown circumstances, individuals are encouraged to report such instances at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife. This proactive reporting aids in monitoring and addressing potential wildlife health concerns.

Trespassing Regulations

It is illegal to hunt, trap, chase, or retrieve game on private land without the consent of the landowner or tenant.

Obtaining Permission

Always ask permission before entering private property. A form requesting permission to access private land can be found at hunting.IN.gov.

Use of Drones in Hunting

State law strictly prohibits the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) for searching, scouting, locating, or detecting wild animals as an aid to hunt during the hunting season and 14 days before the hunting season for that animal. Exceptions exist for agricultural production, nuisance wild animal control, and scientific research.

Definition of "Unmanned Aerial Vehicle"

An "unmanned aerial vehicle" refers to an aircraft that lacks a human operator and is capable of flight under remote control or autonomous programming.

Exceptions and Permitted Uses

Drones may be utilized to locate deer that have already been lawfully killed. However, it's important to note that their use on DNR property requires a special permit from the property.

Prohibition of Party Hunting

Engaging in party hunting is strictly illegal. This practice involves a hunter not only harvesting game to fulfill their own license but also taking additional game to meet the license requirements of other members within the hunting party.

Illegal Spotlighting Activities

Deliberately casting a spotlight or any artificial light from a motor vehicle while in possession of a firearm (including a handgun), bow, or crossbow is strictly prohibited by law.

Additionally, shining a spotlight, searchlight, or any other artificial light with the intent to take, attempt to take, or assist someone else in taking any wild animal (excluding furbearing mammals, crayfish, and frogs) or while engaging in fishing is also considered illegal.

Legal Use of Red Dot Sights

Red dot sights have been approved for use in all hunting activities, providing hunters with a versatile and legal sighting option for their firearms.

Hunting Regulations Regarding Vehicles and Boats

Authorized Exceptions

  • Persons with Disabilities Hunting Permit: Individuals authorized to hunt from a stationary vehicle with a Persons with Disabilities Hunting Permit may do so.

  • Waterfowl and Squirrel Hunting from Motorboat: Waterfowl or squirrel hunting from a motorboat is permitted under specific conditions. The boat must be beached, anchored, tied to a stationary object, or motionless, except for natural elements like wind or water current, or hand-operated oars or paddles.

Legal Restrictions

  • Off-road Vehicles and Loaded Firearms: It is illegal to ride an off-road vehicle with a loaded firearm unless the firearm is a legally possessed handgun. Exceptions include situations where the person with the firearm owns the property, has a contractual interest, or has explicit permission from the landowner to possess the firearm on the property as per Indiana Code 14-16-1-23.

Requirement for Retrieval

Legal Obligation

  • Killing or Crippling Wild Animals: It is illegal to kill or cripple any wild animal without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the animal and include it in the bag limit.

  • Private Property Retrieval: Entering private property without permission to retrieve downed game is also illegal. Hunters must obtain permission before retrieving game on private land.

Pre-Hunt Precautions

  • Permission for Tracking: Before hunting, individuals should ensure they have explicit permission to track game on land adjacent to their hunting area. This proactive step helps avoid legal complications and respects property rights.

Handgun Regulations

Carry Without License

  • Permitted Carry: While hunting, individuals may carry a handgun without a handgun license as per Indiana Code 35-47-2-1 available at iga.IN.gov.

Deer Hunting Restrictions

  • Limited Use for Deer: Taking a deer with a handgun is only legal during the firearms season, muzzleloader season with a muzzleloading handgun, and when complying with DNR regulations.

These regulations aim to ensure responsible handgun use during hunting activities.

Camera Placement on DNR Properties

Permitted Areas

  • Allowed Locations: Trail or game cameras are permitted on Fish & Wildlife Areas, Wetland Conservation Areas, Wildlife Management Areas, State Forests, and State Recreation Areas.

Marking Requirements

  • Legible Marking: Cameras must be legibly marked with either:
    • (A) The owner's name, address, and telephone number in the English language.
    • (B) The individual’s customer identification number issued by the department.

Restricted Areas

  • Prohibited Areas: Trail or game cameras are not allowed on State Parks or Dedicated Nature Preserves not part of the specified properties.

These guidelines ensure responsible and regulated use of trail or game cameras on designated DNR properties.

Disposal of Wild Animal Carcasses

Environmental Considerations

  • Avoid Waterway Dumping: Carcasses of lawfully taken wild animals must not be dumped in streams or other bodies of water to prevent adverse effects on downstream water quality.

Legal Consequences

  • Littering Offense: Dumping dead wild animals in waterways is considered littering, constituting a criminal offense that may result in fines.

Air Pollution Concerns

  • Avoid Burning: Carcasses should not be burned to prevent air pollution, ensuring responsible disposal practices.

Respect for Property Owners

  • Permission Requirement: Carcasses cannot be left in the open without landowner permission. Dumping on public land is prohibited.

Recommended Disposal Method

  • Bagging and Landfill: The DNR recommends bagging discarded carcasses and unwanted animal parts for disposal in landfills as an environmentally responsible approach.

Prohibited Shooting Practices

Roadway Restrictions

  • Public Roads Prohibition: It is illegal to hunt, shoot, or kill any animal or shoot at any object within, into, upon, or across any public road.

Waterway Regulations

  • Boundary Waters and State Waters: Shooting into or across the waters of the state or boundary waters is strictly prohibited, except in the lawful pursuit of wildlife.

Compliance with Wildlife Pursuit

  • Exception Clause: The prohibition on shooting across roads or waters does not apply when engaged in the lawful pursuit of wildlife, ensuring adherence to wildlife regulations.

Hunting Opportunities in Indiana

Abundant Wildlife Areas

Indiana's Division of Fish & Wildlife oversees vast expanses, totaling over 170,000 acres. These include:

  • Fish & Wildlife Areas
  • Wetland Conservation Areas
  • Wildlife Management Areas

Additional Acreage

Supplementing these areas are Reservoir properties and State Forests, contributing an additional 200,000-plus acres to the hunting landscape.

Diverse Hunting Spots

This amalgamation of territories offers a diverse range of hunting opportunities for the public. To pinpoint a hunting spot near you, explore on.IN.gov/where2hunt.

Indiana Private Lands Access Program

Unlocking Private Hunting Opportunities

The Indiana Private Lands Access program opens doors for hunters to explore and utilize privately owned lands enrolled in the initiative. This initiative serves as a bridge between hunters and landowners.

For Landowners

For landowners interested in contributing to this program, detailed information and enrollment procedures are available at on.IN.gov/private-lands-access. Discover a collaborative platform fostering a harmonious relationship between hunters and private landowners.

Prevention of Harassment

Protecting the Rights of Hunters & Trappers

It is a violation of the law to deliberately disrupt or obstruct the lawful pursuit of game animals by another individual, whether on public or private land without the landowner's consent. Respect the rights of fellow hunters and trappers to ensure a fair and lawful hunting experience.

Prohibition on Selling Wild Game

Preserving Wildlife Conservation

The sale, trade, or barter of protected or regulated wild animals, including their live specimens, carcasses, or meat, is strictly prohibited. Exceptions include specific items like furbearers, river otters, squirrel tails and hides, deer hides, antlers, hooves, and cured pheasant, quail, and turkey feathers, which may be sold only if obtained through lawful means. Uphold wildlife conservation by adhering to these regulations.

Regulations on DNR and Federal Properties

Property-Specific Hunting and Trapping Rules

It is essential to recognize that hunting and trapping regulations can differ on various state or federal properties. Before engaging in hunting or trapping activities on these areas, consult the property manager for the most up-to-date and specific regulations. Stay informed to ensure compliance with the rules governing DNR and federal properties (Public Hunting Areas).

Penalties for Violations

Class C Infraction for Violation

A violation of fish and wildlife laws or regulations constitutes a Class C infraction. If committed knowingly or intentionally, it escalates to a Class C misdemeanor.

Specific Penalties for Deer and Wild Turkey Violations

Taking a deer or wild turkey in violation of any regulation incurs a $500 penalty, in addition to any other applicable legal consequences. Moreover, intentional violations may result in charges ranging from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor, particularly with a prior conviction.

Seizure of Equipment

Equipment, including guns and vehicles, employed in intentional violations of fish and wildlife laws may be seized for evidentiary purposes. Upon conviction, the court holds the discretion to confiscate these items.

Hunter Orange Requirements

Mandatory Fluorescent Orange Apparel

Hunters are obligated to comply with fluorescent orange (or "hunter orange") clothing regulations. The following items, in solid fluorescent orange, must be worn as outer garments, exposed at all times:

  • Vest
  • Coat
  • Jacket
  • Coveralls
  • Hat or Cap

Minimal logos or patches are permissible, but camouflage-patterned fluorescent orange garments do not fulfill the requirement.

Applicable Hunting Seasons

Fluorescent orange attire is mandatory during the hunting seasons for the following game:

  • Deer (refer to Deer Regulations)
  • Wild Turkey (specifically when fall turkey season coincides with a deer firearms season, see Wild Turkey)
  • Rabbit
  • Pheasant
  • Quail
  • Woodcock
  • Squirrel (from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31)

Silencers/Suppressors

Legality and Usage

Silencers/suppressors can be employed for taking wild animals without obtaining a permit or special authorization from the Indiana DNR. However, their utilization must strictly adhere to federal law.

Legal Implications

It is crucial to note that hunting on private land without explicit consent from the landowner or tenant, coupled with the possession or use of a silencer or suppressor, is deemed a Class B misdemeanor. Refer to Indiana Code 14-22-38-4.5 for detailed information on the associated legal provisions.

Purple Paint = No Trespassing

Property Boundary Marking

Landowners have the option to indicate restricted entry on their property by using purple paint on trees or posts along the perimeter. This purple marking must be easily visible to anyone approaching the property. Importantly, the legal effect of a perimeter marked with purple paint is equivalent to that of a traditional "No Trespassing" sign.

For additional details and regulations, refer to Indiana Code 35-43-2-2 available at iga.IN.gov.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.