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NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Indiana DNR offers new service to help deer hunters find places to hunt

Deer hunting is a popular activity for sportsmen and sportswomen in Indiana, and Allen County is one of the many counties throughout the state that produced the most deer for hunters last year.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has implemented a new system to facilitate the efforts of hunters looking for private property on which to hunt deer. News-Sentinel.com praises the DNR’s ongoing efforts to work with hunters in our state.

As of July 1 and through Jan. 31, 2020, hunters may sign up for the 2019 Deer Hunt Registry, a new service provided by the Division of Fish and Wildlife that allows hunters to register for deer hunting opportunities.

Deer hunters seeking private property in Indiana on which to hunt can connect with landowners, golf courses, parks, land trusts, farmers and communities interested in letting them do so. The system replaces the Hunters Helping Farmers program and incorporates the Community Hunter Access Program.

To learn more, visit wildlife.IN.gov/9420.htm.

Signing up on the Deer Hunt Registry does not guarantee additional hunting opportunities or placement in a managed hunt.

White-tailed deer are abundant in our state. Hunting, including periodic managed hunts in certain areas, helps control the large numbers of deer that create concerns due to the growing problems of deer-vehicle collisions and crop damage. The DNR says closely regulated harvest of female deer is needed to stabilize the population and growth of the species in some areas of the state.

“The trend in the deer herd appears to be stable. We do not measure population size directly, but rather, use a variety of indices that allow us to monitor general trends in the deer herd,” Indiana DNR deer biologist Joe N. Caudell said. “Over the past five years, the goal was to reduce the overall population size to address a rising number of deer vehicle collisions reported by the Indiana Department of Transportation and to reduce the number of damage complaints related to deer. This goal has been achieved. The current goal is to focus deer-herd management in a strategically targeted manner to more adequately balance ecological, recreational and economic needs of the citizens of Indiana.”

While the DNR says prime habitat can be found all over Indiana, it spotlights the southern hilly areas of the state as ideal hunting territory and says the northeastern natural-lake counties of Noble and Steuben are also great deer producers, as is Allen County.

The 2019-2020 deer hunting seasons are as follows:

• Reduction Zone: Sept. 15, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020 (where open)

• Youth Season: Sept. 28-29, 2019

• Archery: Oct. 1, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020

• Firearm: Nov. 16-Dec. 1, 2020

• Muzzleloader: Dec. 7-22, 2019

• Special Antlerless: Dec. 26, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020 (where open)

A full list of season dates, bag limits, and legal equipment can be found on the Indiana DNR’s deer-hunting question-and-answers page at https://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/7389.htm.

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