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Indiana Hunting Guide

Indiana has thousands of acres of national and state public lands that offer ideal hunting opportunities. The state has become particularly popular amongst hunters for its excellent deer hunting.

What to Hunt

Indiana’s diverse landscape supports a relatively diverse selection of popular game species.



Illinois limits deer hunting to shotgun and muzzle-loading rifles only. Deer tags are fairly easy to obtain each season. A healthy deer population means that most hunters will have success in Illinois. Lotteries occur in the spring and summer, with the first lottery being limited to Illinois residents. Illinois has a bag limit of two antlered deer per year, and there is no limit on does.



Illinois has leased 15,000 acres for turkey hunting from private landowners in 39 Illinois counties. Illinois wild turkeys are of the Eastern subspecies. There is a limited lottery drawing for turkey tags in the state. Illinois has both fall and spring seasons for turkeys, though not all counties are open for both fall and spring seasons. Harvested turkeys must be registered before they are field dressed or butchered. Hunters can use shotguns, compound or traditional bows, or crossbows.



Illinois’ wetlands offer a substantial amount of waterfowl hunting, including geese, rails, ducks, teal, snipe, coots, Bluebills, geese, and mergansers. Most of the duck hunting can be found around the Illinois River. Hunters will need state and federal migratory waterfowl stamps. Hunters may use shotguns of at least 10 gauge with a barrel between 17-26” and a total capacity of three or fewer shells. Hunters may also use vertical compound bows, traditional bows, or crossbows.


Upland Game Birds

Pheasant and quail hunting are both available in rural Illinois, particularly the middle and south of the state. Hunters may also target doves, partridge, woodcock, and crow. There is no limit on crow; doves have a daily limit of 15; and the other limits run from 2-8 per day. Hunters may use shotguns of at least 10 gauge. Hunters may also use vertical compound bows or traditional bows, but crossbows are not permitted for upland birds.

Other Indiana game species: Red and Gray Fox, Coyote, Striped Skunk, Opossum, Raccoon, Squirrel Rabbit, Crow, Green Frog, Bullfrog, Snapping Turtle, Softshell Turtle, Snipe, Sora Rail, Early Teal and Dove.

Where to Hunt

Only a small amount of land in Indiana is designated as public land. However, the state does provide a significant amount of hunt-able land.

Waterfowl Hunting Zones

For the purposes of waterfowl hunting, Indiana is divided into three distinct zones: north, central, and south. Each of these zones are subject to their own restrictions and regulations.

The Kankakee Sands

The Kankakee Sands is a nature conservancy that provides waterfowl, turkey, quail, pheasant, dove, and deer hunting throughout the year. Hunting opportunities in this area are limited, so be sure to check with the appropriate office prior to planning your trip.

National Forests and Wildlife Areas

Indiana is home to several national forests and national wildlife areas. These areas are found in the southern and southeastern parts of the state. Indiana’s national forests and wildlife areas offer a variety of large and small game species.

DNR Areas

The Indiana DNR maintains dozens of wildlife management areas throughout the state. These areas vary greatly in size and are each subject to individual restrictions and regulations. Indiana’s DNR areas are found most densely in the north and south regions of the state.

Indiana Private Lands Access Program

Indiana offers financial incentives to landowners in exchange for allowing public hunting on private land. These hunts are limited and allocated through an Indiana DNR lottery. Hunting opportunities from the Indiana Private Lands Access program include pheasant, quail, woodcock, and wild turkey.

Licensing Fees

A valid license issued by the Indiana DNR is required to hunt any species of wild animal in Indiana.

License Resident Nonresident
​Annual Hunting ​$20.00 ​$90.00
​Youth Annual Hunting ​N/A ​$20.00
​Youth Combined Hunting/Trapping ​$12.00 ​N/A
​Five Day Hunting ​$50.00 ​$50.00
​Deer Archery (Archery Season) ​$39.00 ​$240.00
​Deer Crossbow (Archery Season) ​$39.00 ​$240.00
​Deer Firearm (Buck Only – Firearms Season) ​$39.00 ​$240.00
​Deer Military/Refuge (federal military and national wildlife refuges only) ​$39.00 ​$240.00
​Deer Muzzleloader (Muzzleloader Season only) ​$39.00 ​$240.00
​Deer Reduction Zone (Reduction Zones only) ​$39.00 ​$240.00
​Spring Turkey ​$25.00 ​$175.00
​Youth Hunting -18 & under ​$25.00 ​$175.00
​Youth Hunting -18 & under ​$17.00 ​$140.00

Hunter Education

Anyone born after Dec. 31, 1986 must successfully complete a DNR-offered hunter education class to prior to purchasing an Indiana hunting license.

Youth Hunting

Indiana designates several days and seasons throughout the year for youth hunting. During these times, any resident age 17 or younger on the date of the hunt can take any legal game. To participate, youth hunters must be supervised by a licensed, adult hunter over the age of 18. No license is required for the youth hunter.


For the purposes of trapping, Indiana considers the following species to be furbearing mammals: beaver, coyote, gray fox, long-tailed weasel, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, red fox, river otter, and striped skunk. A trapping license is required to take any of these animals be means of a trap.

Trappers must check their traps and remove any animals at least once every 24 hours. Indiana does not regulate how far traps must be set from tile drains or entrances to lodges. It is not permitted to use tree-climbing equipment to remove wild animals from trees, but trappers may use motorized boats to set or check traps. There are no bag or possession limits except for river otters.

Hunting Seasons

Game Season
Red and Gray Fox Oct 15 2023 - Feb 28 2024
Coyote & Striped Skunk Oct 15 2023 - Mar 15 2024
Opossum & Raccoon Nov 8 2023 - Jan 31 2024
Beaver Nov 15 2023 - Mar 15 2024
Turkey* Apr 22 2023 - Apr 23 2023 (Youth)
Apr 26 2023 - May 14 2023
Oct 1 2023 - Jan 7 2024*
Deer* Sep 15 2023 - Jan 31 2024
Squirrel Aug 15 2023 - Jan 31 2024
Ruffed Grouse Suspended
Pheasant Nov 1 2023 - Dec 15 2023
Quail* Nov 1 2023 - Jan 10 2024
Rabbit Nov 1 2023 - Feb 28 2024
Crow Jul 1 2023 - Aug 15 2023
Dec 13 2023 - Mar 1 2024
Green Frog and Bullfrog Jun 15 2023 - Apr 30 2024
Eastern Snapping Turtle, Smooth & Spiny Softshell Turtles Jul 1 2023 - Mar 31 2024
Snipe Sep 1 2023 - Dec 16 2023
Woodcock Oct 15 2023 - Nov 28 2023
Sora Rail Sep 1 2023 - Nov 9 2023
Early Teal Sep 9 2023 - Sep 24 2023
Dove Sep 1 2023 - Jan 3 2024
Ducks, Mergansers, Coots Oct 28 2023 - Jan 28 2024
Geese Sep 9 2023 - Feb 11 2024

*Hunting dates for this species may vary by zone, method of take, or subspecies of animal. Visit the state’s website here to find out more.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information.