Indiana Deer Population:  A state estimate of 680,000 deer in 2020, about the same in 2017 estimated from harvest data, down from about 730,000 deer in 2015.  About 700,000 deer in 2014, 730,000 in 2013, and 780,000 in 2012.  Current deer hunt data.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Indiana deer harvest data and news archive.

Indiana Deer News


Township receiving comments on draft deer management plan September 9, 2021 Indiana, Indiana Gazette
... Archery hunting is the only method permitted by the plan ... Those interested in applying to be on the committee can fill out an application for vacant board or commission, available on the township’s website, www.whitetownship.org, under documents and forms...

Deer are now preparing their coats for summer May 13, 2021 Indiana, WTHITV.com
... Recently, residents have spotted deer with hair coats that look patchy and dingy...  it's fine.  Each spring and fall, deer begin their molting process. That's when they shed their current coat for the next season...

... officials believe heavy snow, cold temperatures and poor nutrition played a part in their deaths.  Lab results confirmed the presence of parasites in the wild white-tailed deer that were found dead in late February and early March...

Deer tested for wasting disease March 30, 2021 Indiana, KPCnews.com
... 893 wild deer in Indiana were tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) through the end of the 2020-21 deer season ... not detected ..,

No CWD detected in deer in Indiana March 14, 2021 Indiana, The Journal Gazette
... A total of 893 wild deer in Indiana were tested for chronic wasting disease through the end of the 2020-21 deer season, an increase from the 823 tested in 2019..,

Hunters spur increase in number of deer tested for CWD March 1, 2021 Indiana, Eyewitness News (WEHT/WTVW)
... A total of 893 wild deer in Indiana were tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) through the end of the 2020-21 deer season, ... CWD has been found in the neighboring states of Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio but has not been detected CWD in Indiana to date...

... was never forced into captivity or restrained, even though the family considered him a pet, but he did learn how to go in and out of the home's doggie door by following huskies... they're hearing from a lot of people in the community who have offered to start a petition or fundraising campaign to get the deer back...

Bloomington, November Cull Nets 40 Deer At Griffy Lake Nature Preserve December 24, 2020 Indiana, Indiana Public Media
... The Department of Natural Resources created the CHAP program to increase opportunities for hunting white-tailed deer and alleviate “human/deer conflicts.” ... The nature preserve is only two square miles, so the ideal number of deer at Griffy Lake would be 10 [U.S. Forest research puts an ideal number at 15 to 28 per square mile] ...

Group Rallies Together to Save Deer From Icy Lake in Indiana December 9, 2020 Indiana, Yahoo Lifestyle
... was struggling to get out ...Video of the rescue shows two men paddling out to the deer in a rowboat, grabbing the protesting animal, and bringing her back to shore...

... Griffy Lake Nature Preserve in 2020 was designated as a deer reduction zone (DRZ) by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Under DRZ regulations, each hunter is permitted to take up to one antlered and up to nine antlerless deer within the DRZ...

Annual State Park Deer Hunt Begins Monday November 9, 2020 Indiana, 93.1 WIBC Indianapolis
... The Department of Natural Resources holds deer hunts each year in parks ... The hunts began in 1993 ... About 5,300 hunters were chosen by random draw in September, about half the number who applied...

How one FNR researcher coordinates observation of Indiana's deer population November 2, 2020 Indiana, Purdue Agricultural Communications
... Using trail cameras, the project uses distance sampling where researchers estimate the distance the deer is from the camera and, then, using “statistical wizardry” extrapolates the population density in that area. This is also the chief method used to keep an eye on predator populations ...

Hunting season begins and deer are on the run October 6, 2020 Indiana, Washington Times Herald
... In 1900, deer had been hunted completely out of the state. In the 1930s, some deer were introduced into the state parks. By 1951, there were 5,000 deer and now, state officials estimate the deer herd at 23 per square mile and totaling 680,000..,

... Reports are added to an active database that helps DNR track wildlife health over time and detect disease outbreaks.  The form can be found at on.IN.gov/sickwildlife.

Indiana DNR form allows people to report dead, sick animals September 8, 2020 WAVE 3
... Deer with signs that may indicate chronic wasting disease (CWD) such as emaciation, staggering or standing with poor posture ...Deer with signs that may indicate EHD such as death in or near water, loss of appetite and wariness, swelling around the head ...

  Abandoned fawn becomes a dear friend for Zalas family August 16, 2020 Indiana, South Bend Tribune
...  Does often leave fawns for up to 12 hours.  A day later Clint returned to the island and the fawn was still in the same spot and no mom anywhere.  The fawn was not cleaned off from birth and was stressed... it had the signs of dehydration such as curling of the ears ... [lives free and mingles with other deer] ...

... For the past few years, a white deer has made her way around the city, prancing around backyards, being spotted by residents and captivating hearts.  Most refer to her as "Snow," ...

Safe Use of Butorphanol–Azaperone–Medetomidine to Immobilize Free‐Ranging White‐tailed Deer  JR McDermott, W Leuenberger, CA Haymes… - Wildlife Society Bulletin, 2020
... Butorphanol–Azaperone–Medetomidine (BAM) is a relatively new drug mixture compounded for the past decade to immobilize mammals, particularly ungulates... we found that BAM was an efficacious and safe drug to use on white‐tailed deer captured by a variety of trapping methods...

DNR Will Trap And Remove Collar From Remaining Bloomington Deer March 6, 2020 Indiana, IndianaPublicMedia.com
... There are two known cases of Bloomington deer that have been killed by the tracking collars ... the agency became aware of potential problems in early November 2019, when it was notified of a deer with a too-tight collar...

... Ball State started a study in 2013 ... the study ended in 2017 the deer collars remained... Recently a dead dear was found on South Ballantine Road in Bloomington with blood on its neck where it had apparently tried to get the collar off and failed...

  Firefighters rescue deer from frozen Porter County lake February 8, 2020 Indiana, Northwest Indiana Times
... The crew was able to wrangle the deer and help it safely back to the shore ... The deer was reported to be in good health ...

Reindeer stopped in traffic on way to meet Santa, police say December 20, 2019 Indiana, Northwest Indiana Times
... a driver called police after they thought they saw a live deer in the back of a van driving through Schererville ...The reindeer was later spotted Thursday at Protsman Elementary School in Dyer accompanied by a man in a festive hat, red tunic and striped tights, presumably a North Pole elf...
Deer harvest data available to hunters on DNR website December 1, 2019 Indiana, Terre Haute Tribune Star
... Indiana DNR has launched a new website allowing deer hunters to access white-tailed deer harvest data as it is accumulated by the state...

... “These are Indiana deer hunters who have been trained and screened by White Buffalo," ...

State Park Sites Scheduled To Close For Deer Hunts November 11, 2019 Indiana, Northeast Indiana Public Radio
... “You can never really stop the deer hunts permanently," Sipes says. "You can’t bring the population down and then call it fixed and stop because at that point, in just a year or two, the population will climb pretty quickly.”...

Why 17 Indiana State Parks will close for controlled deer hunts November 7, 2019 Indianapolis Star on MSN.com
... The organized hunts began in 1993. Last year, selected hunters killed 1,302 deer during controlled hunts. Since the deer reductions began in 1993, over 37,000 deer have been killed,..

Reports of taking trophy deer lead to hunting charges October 2, 2019 Indiana, Tribune Star
... phone numbers that afternoon described him killing the deer and were time-stamped about 45 minutes before he purchased the appropriate license online ...

Panel receptive to using airbows to hunt deer October 1, 2019 Indiana, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
...  a crossbow with compressed air to hunt deer.... The Natural Resources Commission ... said these “air-bows are more efficient than a regular long bow, recurve bow, or compound bow, and are not considered to be archery equipment...

... More than 200 potential cases have been reported in the WLKY viewing area while eight have been tested and confirmed... 

DNR Reduces Bonus Antlerless Quota For Counties Impacted By Deer Virus September 13, 2019 Indiana, Indiana Public Media
... The state is lowering some bonus antlerless quotas because of ... Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD... The DNR also looks at how deer-vehicle collisions and the previous hunting season impacted the deer population when setting its bonus quotas...

A "Deer"-ing Rescue On The Ohio River September 13, 2019 Indiana, Eagle Radio 99.3 FM WSCH
... an eight-point buck was swimming in the river... struggling to stay afloat... grabbed the deer by the antlers and held its head above the water beside the boat...

... A deer died from epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in southeast Indiana... The most recent significant outbreaks were in 2007 and 2012...

Bloomington Deer Cull Scheduled For Later This Year June 27, 2019 Indiana, WFIU
... White Buffalo Inc. will recruit, train, and supervise the hunt scheduled for November and December...

Court upholds DNR's right to hold deer culls in state parks April 25, 2019 Indiana, Chesterton Tribune
... the Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed DNR’s authority to hold controlled deer hunts at state parks... In 2017, a public interest organization called the Center for Wildlife Ethics Inc. went to court to challenge DNR’s authority to hold such hunts...

Senator Says Hunting Guide Bill Would Stop Overhunting February 22, 2019 Indiana, Eagle 99.3 FM WSCH
... Senate Bill 363 would keep hunting guides from leading hunts if they violating license laws... “Many people are concerned the deer population is getting too small in our state because of overhunting,” ...

... The state's wildlife preservation programs rely on the sale of hunting licenses as a main source of funding ... Indiana sold more than 552,100 hunting licenses, tags and permits in 2006, but the number was down to about 426,300 in 2016 ...

Kids shooting bows and arrows in schools could help turn declining hunting numbers around January 2, 2018 Indiana, Indianapolis Star
... "Our system and conservation relies on money from licenses and equipment sales — without it, it's a spiraling problem." ... Indiana ... has the largest youth deer hunt across the country ...

... Chronic Wasting Disease ... has been found in three neighboring states. In two of them, Michigan and Illinois, deer with CWD have been found within 30 miles of the Indiana border... Deer numbers will dwindle ...

Indianapolis, As many as 100 deer likely to be harvested in planned Eagle Creek deer hunt December 20, 2018 Indiana, Indianapolis Star
... More than 500 deer have already been harvested during the three previous hunts...The city pays $90,000 for a three-year contract with USDA to do the hunts ... "It's hard to hear there is an overabundance when we don't see them," ...

... A small community in LaGrange County is horrified after a deer they grew accustomed to seeing around their homes was shot by an Indiana Department of Natural Resources officer, and they say children witnessed the entire incident unfold...

Bloomington, City Reschedules Griffy Lake Deer Cull To Recruit More Hunters November 15, 2018 Indiana, WFIU
... More than 20 hunters expressed interest, but White Buffalo told the city it needed more to meet its reduction goals...  a $32,500 Community Hunting Access Program grant to conduct regulated deer hunts ...

2018 Indiana Deer Forecast  October 29, 2018 Game & Fish ·
... "The trend in the deer herd appears to be stable. We do not measure population size directly" ... A nearly balanced doe-to-buck ratio in the Indiana deer herd means the rutting period is condensed, which allows almost all does to become bred quickly and drop their fawns at the optimal time of the year ..,

Pet Deer Found After Weeks-Long Search In Kane County October 28, 2018 Indiana, WBBM NewsRadio 
... Gerdisch rescued Abigail from a processing plant in Indiana and said he felt sick not knowing how she was doing...

... The Deer Research Program has developed an online survey that will allow the DNR to survey all hunters and non-hunters with internet access on a yearly basis to help monitor observed trends in deer populations and to assess desires for deer management.  Any individual with a DNR account can provide input on a regular basis. Customers who purchase licenses will receive an invitation to complete surveys in their email...

DNR asking deer hunters to help monitor for chronic wasting disease September 28, 2018 Indiana, Chesterton Tribune
... help monitor the deer populations in Northwest and Northeast Indiana for chronic wasting disease (CWD) by voluntarily submitting harvested deer to the DNR for testing during the 2018-19 deer hunting season...

Bloomington, Local Hunter-Led Deer Cull Approved For Griffy Lake Preserve September 20, 2018 Indiana, WFIU
... The amendment will allow the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to move forward with an organized deer cull led by local hunters... Many residents opposed to the plan call the cull unnecessary and an invasion of the Griffy Lake area...

Bloomington City council: Vote against killing more deer   September 19, 2018 Indiana,  by Maria Katrien Heslin, former Bloomington deputy mayor, heraldtimesonline
... There’s no public demand for the kill... The city doesn’t know how many deer remain in the preserve ... it was stated 10-to-30 deer per square mile was sufficient for plant regeneration; inexplicably now staff says it should be 5 per square mile ...

...  residents opposed to a proposed deer cull at Griffy Lake say they want to see more data that shows the cull is necessary... the department is unsure how many deer are currently in the preserve ...

Indiana data:  An state estimate of 680,000 deer in 2020.  About the same for 2017 at 680,00 estimated using harvest data.  About 730,000 deer in 2015, 700,000 deer in 2014, 730,000 in 2013, and 780,000 in 2012.   The 2017 harvest data suggests a moderate downward trend since 2015, about stable in 2018 according to the state.  In 2017, newly formed Deer Advisory Councils reported seeing fewer deer.   In 2017 a live deer was set on fire after being hit by a car.  
      For 2016, the state's goal was to stabilize or reduce the herd.  High powered rifles were legalized for deer hunting in 2016.  A right to hunt amendment was passed in 2016.  Fenced deer hunting was legalized in 2016. Significant reductions in young forests, oak and hickory noted in 2016 provide less support for deer.  The deer population has been on a slow steady decline since 2007-08, especially in the southwest. The DNR reduced the number of antlerless permits in 2014 to moderate the trend.  
     In 2011 the Department of Natural Resources estimated anywhere from 500,000 to 1,000,000 deer in the state, roughly 750,000 which is used as the base for the current estimates relying on harvest data.  There was no formal population estimate when the state announced it planned to reduce the population by 25 percent.  The population declined particularly in 2012, but also in 2013, as a result of outbreaks of EHD, a viral disease. Deer populations in the south rebounded somewhat, but populations in the north have been slower to recover.  A record antlerless harvest in 2012 was designed to reduce the population. A hard winter in 2013-14 also drove the population lower. Does have been 30 to 40 percent of the harvest. Hunting data. Graph of Historic Deer Harvest to 2017, Source IDNR, Click to Enlarge

History   
Deer were hunted to extinction in Indiana by the early 1900's.  The last deer reported killed in 1893 in Knox County.  No deer were reported until a 1934 restocking effort, trapping and transporting 400 deer from other states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina. By 1943, there were an estimated 900 deer.  In 1951 with an estimated 5,000 deer, Indiana opened selected areas to regulated hunting.   Deer were still rare in many areas into the 1960s and were stocked in military installations.

Deer population estimates:  1940:  800.    1950:  3,000   1960:  17,000.     1968:   40,000

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).  Not detected in the state up to 2021 with more than 800 animals tested each year for 2020 and 2019.
   Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). In 2017.  A mild outbreak in 2015
    Bovine TB first identified in a wild deer in 2016.

Report poachers at 1-800-TIP-IDNR.  More information on the IDNR website.
Other useful links: 
Indiana Whitetail Deer Herd Management  committed to advocating for the health of our deer herd 
-  Automated Reporting Information Exchange System, has information on deer-vehicle collisions.
- BANDIS, deer management in Bloomington, Indiana. On Facebook