Indiana deer hunters had unprecedented success during the 2009 seasons,
shattering the previous state record by taking more than 130,000 deer for
the first time in the 59-year history of the modern era, the Indiana
Department of Natural Resources said.
According to a statement released on Thursday, reports submitted from 453
check stations across Indiana placed the 2009 total at 132,752 deer: more
than 3,000, or 2 percent, above the 2008 harvest of 129,748, which was the
“It’s kind of predictable,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer management
biologist. “We’re going to have a record or near-record harvest every year
unless things change. For a couple of years now we’ve had increased license
sales. We’ve also had high unemployment. Maybe people have more time to be
out. I wish I could say.”
Some good news: there were no reports of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in
2009 after outbreaks the previous three years. EHD is an insect-borne virus
that affects white-tailed deer. It is transmitted by biting insects called
midges. EHD is not transmitted to humans and is not normally found in
“That means going into the season there were more deer on the ground
available to hunters rather than disease getting them first,” Stewart said.
The full season report can be viewed at www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/files/fw2009_Deer_Season_Summary.pdf
The 2009 total was bolstered by a record 79,771 antlerless deer, 60 percent
of the harvest.
The hunting season began in urban deer zones on Sept. 15, followed by a
two-day youth only weekend (Sept. 26-27) and the early archery (Oct. 1-Nov.
29), firearms (Nov. 14-29), muzzleloader (Dec. 5-20) and late archery (Dec.
5 to Jan. 3) segments.
Adult males (antlered bucks) made up 40 percent of the total, of which 64
percent were 2.5 years old or older.
Hunters found the most success in the northeast corner of the state, where
Steuben, Kosciusko and Noble counties ranked first, second and fourth,
Steuben hunters bagged 4,102 deer to mark the fifth straight year that
county has led the state. It also was the first time any county topped the
4,000 mark in a single year. Kosciusko recorded 3,652 deer, followed by
Switzerland with 3,223; Noble, 3,086; and Franklin, 3,063.
Modern-era records were set in 33 counties, and another 22 counties showed
harvest increases from the 2008 season. Harvest totals declined in 36
counties compared to 2008. Compiling the data is a lengthy process that
begins in October when check stations are supplied envelopes for returning
pink carbon copies of hunter-reported deer. Some stations submit reports on
a weekly basis as requested; a few wait until the end of the season to
return the information at one time.
The 2009 season also gave the DNR an opportunity to continue its ongoing
surveillance for signs of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer. Testing
failed to detect CWD in tissue samples collected from 835 deer and has not
been found in more than 11,000 specimens tested since 2002. The DNR also
began surveillance for bovine tuberculosis by collecting tissue samples from
431 hunter harvested deer from Franklin, Harrison and Wayne counties. The
DNR is awaiting results of testing on those samples from the National
Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.