Sports and Outdoors

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Large deer harvest forecast for 2011 season

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Firearms season for white-tailed deer in Indiana opens Nov. 12, and a DNR wildlife expert predicts another year of near-record harvest numbers.

Hunters are coming off a third straight record harvest, having tagged 134,004 deer in 2010. DNR deer biologist Chad Stewart said conditions for the 2011 season are shaping up similarly to the 2010 season.

“I’d hate to predict a record, but we should be close to it” Stewart said. “It’s almost guaranteed to be a top-three harvest.”

Firearms season generally accounts for about 65 percent of the overall deer harvest. Legal firearms for firearms season are shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns and center-fire rifles of specific cartridge dimensions.

The 16-day firearms season ends Nov. 27.

Hunters on opening weekend of firearms season last year harvested 37,525 deer.

Steuben County led the state in overall number of deer harvested last year with 3,948. The harvest exceeded 1,000 deer in 64 counties; exceeded 2,000 deer in 17 counties; and exceeded 3,000 deer in five counties. Counties with high harvests tend to have a good mix of woods and farm ground.

“For a deer hunter, Indiana is great because it can sustain a very high population and a very healthy population,” Stewart said.

The number of antlered deer harvested in 2010 was 53,007, or about 40 percent of the overall harvest.
Muzzleloader season starts Dec. 3 and lasts through Dec. 18. Early archery season, which is already underway, lasts through Nov. 27. Late archery season opens Dec. 3 and lasts through Jan. 1, 2012.

Unless otherwise exempted, a license is required to hunt deer during the firearms season. The DNR is encouraging hunters to buy their licenses early and avoid waiting until the last minute. The DNR Customer Service Center and the DNR Deer Hotline will not be open on Friday, Nov. 11, in observance of Veterans Day.

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