Ind. Hunters Took 129K Deer In 2011 Season

Posted On March 12, 2012

Tom Ober, of Manchester, took his 12-point buck on opening day of rifle season in Switzerland County, the second-leading deer harvest county in the state during the 2011 deer season.


(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Indiana’s 2011 deer season was not a record breaker, but it was still pretty good.


Hunters statewide harvested 129,018 deer combined in this past archery, firearm, and muzzleloader season. The figure is down 3.7 percent from the all time record of 134,004 set in 2010, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Fish & Wildlife.


“It becomes somewhat predictable that the harvest would fall in line close to where it has the past couple of years,” said Chad Stewart, deer management biologist for the DNR. “It appears in some areas the deer population is in fact down, but those areas aren’t many. Overall, the deer herd is thriving in our state.”


Out of Indiana’s 92 counties, Switzerland County was second in the state with 3,309 deer taken, about 200 behind Steuben County where hunters took 3,532 deer.


Rounding out the top ten counties were Kosciusko (3,123), Noble (3,025), Dearborn (2,885), Franklin (2,876), Harrison (2,680), Washington (2,605), Parke (2,561) and LaGrange (2,523). 


Muzzleloader hunters had a third-straight record year with 33,571 deer, up 10.5 percent from the previous year. Most, however, were taken in firearms season with 79,717, down 7.5 percent.


Stewart says although overall harvest numbers are down, claims of the decline of the Indiana deer herd is greatly exaggerated.


“Local populations in some areas may be down, but the state’s herd is overall abundant and healthy,” Stewart said. 


The department believes the weather during the bulk of the deer season was a reason for the harvest decline. The Indiana State Climate Office said it was the ninth-warmest November in the past 26 years with 21 days during the month experiencing above normal temperatures. It was also the third wettest November in history.


Over the past 60 years in Indiana’s modern hunting era, hunters have claimed nearly 2.99 million deer.


Other 2011 deer season numbers in Indiana:


Hunters purchased 276,398 deer licenses in 2011, a three percent increase from 2010 when 268,485 licenses were bought.


The 2011 statewide harvest was still almost 5,500 deer above the 10-year average.


64 counties registered totals that were higher than their 10-year annual averages. 


Fourteen counties had record harvests: Boone (460), Crawford (1,925), Decatur (727), Floyd (712), Jennings (1,962), Marion (329), Montgomery (1,204), Randolph (667), Shelby (396), Sullivan (1,917), Vermillion (1,380), Vigo (1,507), Wabash (1,798), and White (1,233).