Indiana Deer Population:   A reported state estimate at the beginning of 2024 of 700,000 whitetail deer.  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.  Herd analysis at right. 

Indiana Deer News

Public hearing on deer hunting changes to be held in Edinburgh May 1, 2024 Indiana, Daily Journal

... Indiana’s ... proposed changes include:  A statewide bag limit of six antlerless deer ... Hunters would not be able to harvest an antlerless deer on Fish & Wildlife properties with a firearm...

Indiana's first case of chronic wasting disease found in LaGrange County deer April 5, 2024 Indiana, South Bend Tribune on

...the white-tailed deer with CWD was a male that a hunter took in Milford Township, in the southeastern corner of LaGrange County. The nearby Michigan case was several years ago, in a part of Hillsdale County roughly 30 miles from Indiana’s northeast corner..,

Hammond mayor causes stir with comments about beloved albino deer March 31, 2024 Indiana, WBBM Radio Chicago on MSN

... remarks he made about the Crown Point albino deer, which was euthanized after being hit by a car... “I think a mayor of 20 years should trump the albino deer, OK?” he said. “I think I should have been above the fold.” ...

White deer has to be euthanized after being hit by car in Northwest Indiana March 26, 2024 Indiana, CBS News

...  A beloved white deer could not be saved after being hit by a car and had to be euthanized, the City of Crown Point, Indiana said Tuesday night...

    Crown Point's legendary white deer hit by car March 26, 2024 Indiana, The Times of Northwest Indiana

... Snow ... The white deer has been a regular for years ... "The city is working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to find a rehabilitation center for the deer..."

DNR considers deer hunting reform March 21, 2024 Indiana, The Republic

... In a lengthy outline on the Indiana DNR website, the agency detailed the 17 proposed changes and said it would simplify the process for hunters and reduce confusion...The most complicated process, previously decided via rule-making, is the establishment of deer reduction zones. Such zones are created in areas where excess deer conflict with humans, such as car accidents and deer damage...

Deer’s head stuck in plastic container for 12 days February 23, 2024 Indiana, Yahoo News

... The deer was first spotted on February 10 in Vermillion County, Indiana, but troopers couldn’t catch it... the deer had busted through the bottom of the container so it could eat and drink...

Natural Resources Commission seeks input on proposed deer hunting rule changes January 31, 2023 DNR News

The Indiana Natural Resources Commission (NRC) has opened a public comment period for proposed changes to Indiana’s deer hunting rules before they vote on final adoption of the proposed changes. Most proposed changes intend to simplify Indiana’s deer hunting rules to make them easier to understand.  Public comments can be submitted online ... via the “Comment on this rule” link ...

Oh deer, it's the new year January 8, 2024 Indiana, The Daily Journal

...  Indiana DNR reports that 1893 was the year that the deer were extirpated from the state.  For 40 years, there were no deer in Indiana. It was not until 1934 that deer began to be re-introduced to Indiana by DNR. Today, the number of deer in Indiana is estimated by DNR to be approximately 700,000...

Lead shot in deer carcasses is toxic to eagles, other animals. DNR wants hunters to change November 29, 2023 Indiana, The Indianapolis Star

... The state of Indiana can’t tell Hoosiers not to use lead shot when they’re hunting, but it is asking them. Using lead bullets can threaten scavenger species such as bald eagles, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and could put human health at risk, too...

Indiana state parks close for deer hunts November 27, 2023 WISH-TV

... This is the 30th anniversary of the annual hunts ... Last year’s hunt at a program-high 22 parks and areas ended with 1,322 animals taken..,

Indiana data:   A January, 2024, news article reports the DNR estimates the deer population "today" at 700,00, presumably for 2023 A state estimate of 680,000 deer in 2020.  About the same for 2017 at 680,00 estimated using harvest data.  In 2022, limited outbreaks of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, which happen every year, had little negative impact on the deer population.  About 300,000 deer hunters in 2022.  More than 14,000 deer-vehicle collisions reported in 2021.

Reduced hunting in 2019 as Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease took a tool on the herd and reduced traffic accidents indicated a population decline.

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.  

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

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.  

An estimate of 575,000 deer in 2009 and 230,000 in 1990.  A rough population estimate from 1900 to 2000.

Graph of Historic Deer Harvest to 1950 to 2020

Source:  2020 Indiana White-tailed Deer Report

History     Deer were hunted to extinction in Indiana by the early 1900s.  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.  "Due to concerns about deer vehicle collisions and crop damage from deer, the DNR worked to limit deer populations in certain counties in the early 1990s."

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

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).  The first case was detected in LaGrange county in April, 2024, near the Michigan border where other cases had been detected.  No disease found 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.  An outbreak in Franklin County in 2022.

 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: 

- Report Sick or Dead Wildlife

- Indiana Department of Natural Resources   - The Deer Page

- Indiana Whitetail Deer Herd Management  committed to advocating for the health of our deer herd 

- There are 59 permitted wildlife rehabilitators in Indiana