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Indiana fees for hunting antlerless deer reduced
Spaulding Outdoors
By Jack Spaulding

To better maintain a balanced deer herd, the DNR for years has encouraged the taking of antlerless deer during hunting season. Recently, the Natural Resources Commission ratified a proposal by the DNR to reduce the cost of certain bonus antlerless deer tags.

Under the new proposal, the cost of the first bonus antlerless deer license remains $24 for Indiana residents and $150 for non-residents. But, to encourage the taking of additional antlerless deer, the cost for the second and subsequent bonus antlerless tags falls to $15 for Indiana residents and $24 for non-residents.

Hunters with Indiana lifetime hunting licenses will continue receiving the maximum number of antlerless permits without charge.

“Since the whitetail deer was re-introduced into Indiana in the 1950s, deer hunting has been both a sport and a biological necessity,” said Kyle Hupfer, DNR director. “Man has always been the primary predator for whitetail deer, so hunting is important in maintaining Indiana’s deer herd population at a proper biological level and a size more acceptable to the human population.

“The new fee structure established yesterday will help with herd management while also reducing the financial burden on hunters who assist the state in regulating the deer population.”

Fall turkey season results
Biological statistical data is sometimes slow to emerge. Crunching the numbers, counting the licenses, and processing the check station results are a grueling accountant’s nightmare. Even though Indiana has just finished up the 2006 spring turkey hunting season, the final tally for the first ever fall season in 2005 only recently became available.

In the first Indiana Fall Season, hunters harvested 716 wild turkeys in 53 of the 60 counties open to turkey hunting during the first modern-day fall wild turkey hunting season - held from October 1 to 23, 2005.

Counties harvesting at least 30 birds were Switzerland, Harrison, Warrick, Pike, Orange, Jefferson, Crawford and Perry counties.

The archery-only portion of the season occurred from October 1 to 18 in 60 counties. The combined firearms and archery season occurred from October 19 to 23.

Firearm hunting was limited to 26 counties in south-central and southeast Indiana. About 19 percent of the turkeys were taken during the archery-only portion of the season and 581 turkeys, about 81 percent, were taken during the combined firearms and archery portion.

Across both portions of the season, archers harvested 181 birds (25 percent), while firearm hunters took 525 birds (75 percent).

Comprehensive lifetime license holders harvested 62 percent of the birds, followed by resident fall turkey license holders, who took 22 percent of the wild birds. Juvenile birds made up 27 percent of the harvest, while adults composed 73 percent. State wildlife research biologist Steve Backs reported, based on observations in other states, a high proportion of adults in the fall harvest generally occurs following poor summer brood production.

“Brood production in Indiana during summer 2005 was the lowest recorded in 13 years, and was in notable contrast to the above average brood production during summer 2004, which was the highest recorded in 13 years,” said Backs.

Backs explained the wide extremes in brood production between the summers of 2004 and 2005 probably resulted in much higher proportion of adults available for harvest.

“Fall turkey hunting research in other states show adult gobblers are generally the least vulnerable individuals in the autumn turkey population,” said Backs.

“Hunter selection for larger birds, when given the opportunity, may help explain the high proportion of adult males in the harvest.” Backs predicted the first fall season is probably not indicative of what is to be expected over time.

“Besides the novelty of this first season and the general inexperience of Indiana hunters with fall turkey hunting, there were several environmental events that influenced the harvest,” said Backs.

Record warm temperatures influenced bird activity and reduced their normal food demands. The first killing frost in southern Indiana was at least three weeks later than normal, and several hunters complained about the nuisance of mosquitoes during the firearms portion of the season.

“Wild turkey movements were also influenced by one of the heaviest mast crops in recent years. Besides the abundant mast foods, there were still many unharvested agricultural crop fields. The fall turkey hunting experience should improve over time,” Backs concluded.

DNR adds defibrillators
Safety has always been a concern at DNR properties. As a part of those efforts, the DNR has recently purchased more than 300 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to be used by state conservation officers and at DNR properties.

AEDs are used to assist people suffering from sudden cardiac arrest and increase their chances of survival. As many as 450,000 people annually are stricken with sudden cardiac arrest and an AED will dramatically increase their chances of survival. In fact, the survival rates decrease about 10 percent for every minute passing before defibrillation is administered.

“With the purchase of this new equipment and the training of more than 300 DNR employees, we have been able to add another level of safety and make a visit to a DNR property a better experience for the whole family,” said DNR Director Kyle Hupfer.

The AEDs are being placed in every conservation officer’s vehicle as well as at least one in every park and reservoir throughout the state. Most DNR historic sites, selected fish and wildlife areas, state forests, recreation areas and DNR nurseries will have an AED onsite.

In effort to maximize the benefit of having defibrillators on hand, the properties were chosen based upon factors such as high public visitation, minimal staffing, and secluded or isolated areas. Further, along with the conservation officers, more than 150 DNR employees have been trained in CPR and the use of the AEDs.

The units were purchased with a combination of law enforcement boating funds and money from the DNR’s budget.

Readers with questions or comments can contact Jack Spaulding by e-mail at or by writing to him in care of this publication.

This farm news was published in the June 7, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.