Seventeen state park sites will close twice temporarily in the coming weeks for controlled deer hunts. The state began the deer hunts 26 years ago to manage populations and protect park vegetation.
Anthony Sipes with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources says those are no longer serious issues, but the hunts still continue for management purposes.
“You can never really stop the deer hunts permanently,” Sipes says. “You can’t bring the population down and then call it fixed and stop because at that point, in just a year or two, the population will climb pretty quickly.”
Indiana DNR biologists evaluate which state park properties require a deer management hunt each year based on habitat recovery and previous harvest rates at each park.
The pair of two-day hunts are scheduled for Nov. 18-19 and Dec. 2-3.
Participating state park properties are: Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Indiana Dunes, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Prophetstown, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe River, and Whitewater Memorial state parks, as well as Cave River Valley Natural Area and Trine State Recreation Area.
The DNR says the state park properties will re-open the morning after each two-day hunt and all properties not hosting hunts will operate under normal hours.
Statewide, 1,302 deer were harvested over four days from state parks this time last year.