Select Indiana state parks will close temporarily for two rounds of controlled deer reduction hunts in the coming weeks.
The first reduction is Nov. 14-15. The second round is Nov. 28-29. The participating parks will close to the general public the evening before each of the two efforts and will re-open the morning after each two-day reduction.
The state parks closing temporarily this year for deer reductions are Brown County, Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Shades, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe, Turkey Run, Versailles, and Whitewater Memorial.
Each year, DNR biologists evaluate which parks require a reduction based on habitat recovery and previous hunter success at each park. The state parks are home to more than 32 state-endangered plants and numerous significant natural communities. The reductions help control browsing by deer to a level that helps maintain habitat throughout the state parks.
Though 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.
Only individuals and those listed on their applications drawn last September may participate at any park, besides Indiana Dunes, Turkey Run, Fort Harrison, and Spring Mill state parks. A public standby drawing to fill spots left vacant after 7:30 a.m. local time will take place at Indiana Dunes (firearms hunt), Turkey Run (firearms hunt), Spring Mill (firearms hunt), and Fort Harrison (archery hunt) state parks each morning.
To be eligible for the standby drawings, the candidate must be an Indiana resident (or possess an Indiana lifetime license to take deer), be 18 years old by Nov. 14, 2011, and possess any valid deer license for Indiana. You must present a photo ID and any valid filled or unfilled license to take deer. Standby drawings will take place at 8:30 a.m. local time. Potential standby participants can apply onsite between 7:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. local time but cannot enter the park before 7:30 a.m. Applications can include up to three individuals. This is a drawing based on how many unclaimed spots there are for each day. It is not first-come, first-served. Spots will be limited as they are based on the number of no-shows each day. The need for stand-in hunters increases with each hunt day. If you have questions, please call the property of interest.
Information regarding 2012 state park deer reductions, including applications, will be available next summer at http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/.
More information: Mike Mycroft, State Parks & Reservoirs, (317) 232-4128