Hunters in Indiana can expect another productive deer season in 2013, but probably not as productive as last year’s record setter.
Hoosier deer hunters in 2012 harvested 136,248 deer. Hunters have gotten a record number of deer in four of the last five seasons, a trend that DNR deer research biologist Chad Stewart doesn’t expect to continue in 2013.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if it was down a little this year,” Stewart said. “But I don’t expect the harvest numbers to fall off a cliff. There will still be plenty of deer out there.”
The main reason Stewart thinks a decrease in the harvest might happen is because hunters in 2012 harvested a record number of does. As a result, reproduction was likely down this year.
Stewart emphasized that reducing the deer population to a more balanced level has been the DNR’s goal in recent years. Changes to hunting regulations that went into effect in 2012 were geared toward that goal. The changes included extending archery season, allowing crossbows for all archery hunters and creating a “license bundle” that saved hunters money.
The 2013 license bundles give the additional option of harvesting either two antlerless deer and a buck or three antlerless deer.
Archery season starts October 1. Firearms season starts Nov.ember 16.