Statement issued Tuesday:
Select Indiana State Parks will be closed temporarily for two rounds of controlled deer reductions in the coming weeks.
The first reduction is Nov. 15-16; the second round is Nov. 29-30. The participating parks will close to the general public the evening before each of the two efforts and re-open the morning after each two-day reduction.
Each year, DNR biologists evaluate which parks require a reduction in deer population, based on habitat recovery and previous hunter success at each park. The state parks closing temporarily this year for deer reductions are Brown County, Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Shakamak, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe, Versailles, and Whitewater Memorial.
Indiana’s state parks are home to more than 32 state-endangered plants and numerous significant natural communities. Deer reductions help control browsing by deer to a level that helps maintain ecosystems.
“Although the parks have had much success since the first reduction in 1993, a high no-show rate of those drawn and over-selective hunting remain a challenge for the program,” said Mike Mycroft, chief of natural resources in the DNR Division of State Parks and Reservoirs, who oversees the program.
Only individuals and those listed on their applications drawn last September may participate at any park, besides Indiana Dunes State Park.
At Indiana Dunes State Park each morning of the reductions, a public standby drawing to fill spots left vacant after 9:30 a.m. CST will take place. To be eligible for the draw, the candidate must be an Indiana resident (or possess a valid lifetime license to take deer), be 18 years of age by Nov. 15, and possess any valid deer license. Those wishing to participate can bring up to two fellow participants. Any firearm legal for taking deer in Indiana (excluding archery) is allowed.
Participants can harvest up to three deer, only one of which can be antlered. Deer taken are in addition to all other state bag limits. Individuals must wear a hunter orange hat or cap and a hunter orange vest, jacket, or overalls at all times while on the property. Potential hunters can register for the standby drawing beginning at 9 a.m. CST at the main gate of Indiana Dunes State Park. A valid photo ID is required. The draw results will be announced at approximately 9:45 a.m. CST near the main gate. Shooting hours conclude at 3 p.m. CST each day.
Information regarding 2011 state park deer reductions, including applications, will be available next summer at http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/.