The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is looking for volunteer hunters to help "thin the herd" of deer at several state parks, including Lincoln State Park here in the Tri-State in an effort "to ensure balanced and healthy natural communities for all plants and wildlife within park boundaries."

In addition to providing the public a place to enjoy the great outdoors, the purpose of a state park is to provide animals and native plants the opportunity to flourish in their natural habitat with minimal disruption from humans. However, in the case of deer, if left unchecked, the population can grow out of control which can disrupt the natural food supply the park provides as well as lead to inbreeding among the herd which throws the whole natural balance out of whack. These "management hunts" help prevent that from happening while allowing hunters the opportunity to provide food for their own families in the form of venison.

Typically, hunting in a state park isn't allowed. With that said, some do and the DNR has other properties around the state which allow you to hunt for a variety of game. Lincoln and Harmonie State Parks in our area are two that do not.

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How to Apply for Indiana Management Hunts

There are 17 parks across the state participating in the management hunts. As noted earlier, Lincoln is the only one in the Tri-State on the list however, there are a few others within a two to three-hour drive, including Shakamak, Spring Mill, and Turkey Run. Applications can be filled out online through the DNR website. The deadline to register is Monday, August 9th (2021).

What Happens After You Apply

Filling out an application doesn't automatically mean you'll get to hunt. Due to the number of applications, the DNR uses a computer program to randomly select and approve applicants for hunting. Once that has taken place, the DNR will contact you to let you know whether or not you've been selected.

Do You Need a License for the Management Hunts

Yes. You "must possess any valid license to take a deer in Indiana at the time of the application," according to the DNR.

How Many Deer Can You Get

Three. However, only one of them can be "antlered." Also worth noting, any deer you bag during a management hunt does not count toward your season limit. Basically, they're bonus deer.

When Are the Hunts?

November 15th through 16th and November 29th through 30th.

For more information on the hunts, and to apply, visit the Indiana DNR website.

[Source: Indiana Department of Natural Resources]

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