Hunters awaiting the Nov. 4 opening of rabbit, quail and pheasant seasons might have to work a little harder this year than in the past, but with a little effort they can still enjoy quality hunting.

Due to losses in early successional habitat, rabbit, quail, and pheasant populations across Indiana have steadily declined from highs a half-century ago but good small game numbers can still be found. According to Budd Veverka, DNR farmland game research biologist, hunters during the 2010-2011 hunting season harvested an estimated 246,000 rabbits, 19,500 quail, and 9,300 wild pheasants.

The 2011-2012 rabbit, quail and pheasant hunting dates and daily bag limits are as follows:

Game species — Hunting dates Daily — bag limit

  • Rabbit  — Nov. 4, 2011 – Feb. 15, 2012 — 5
  • Pheasant (cock only) — Nov. 4, 2011 – Dec. 18, 2011 — 2
  • Quail (north of Indiana 26) — Nov. 4, 2011 – Dec. 18, 2011 — 5
  • Quail (south of Indiana 26) — Nov. 4, 2011 – Jan. 15, 2012 — 8

Season dates and daily bag limits may vary on state-owned properties. Please contact each property for specific information.

To hunt rabbit, an individual must have an annual hunting license, or a lifetime hunting or youth comprehensive hunting license. To hunt quail or pheasant, an individual must have an annual hunting license and a game bird habitat stamp, or a lifetime comprehensive hunting or youth comprehensive hunting license. Individuals with a lifetime basic hunting license must buy the game bird habitat stamp annually.

While hunting rabbit, quail, pheasant, and squirrel, hunters must wear one outer garment exposed at all times that is solid florescent orange. Please gain permission before hunting on privately owned land.

For additional information, please see the small game hunting guide at: http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/files/fw-upland_smallgame_guide.pdf.

More information: Budd Veverka, DNR farmland game biologist, (812) 334-1137

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