Indiana Hunting and Deer Hunting News


Diseases hitting deer herd across the Country.    10 Whitetail Deer Diseases


 Investigative article on deer farming, disease and high fence hunting.


New Law: House Bill 1231-Hunting & Property Mgnt. has passed

Rifle Season Clarification - Bad News for Indiana Bow Hunters!       Indiana Rifle Season

Where to Hunt in Indiana?    DNR Where to Hunt Info

Latest News!!  

June 2016     New Indiana State Deer Biologist Hired

Indiana DNR names Joe Caudell as our new Indiana Deer Biologist.  Hopefully this is a good move for the Indiana Deer Herd.

Joe Caudell, PH.D.

Bloomington Field Office

5595 East SR 46

Bloomington, IN 47401

July 2016       Bovine Tuberculosis 2016 Surveillance Summary

     Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) was detected on a cattle farm in Franklin County in April of 2016.  Previously, bTB had been detected in farmed deer and cattle in 2007 and 2008 in Franklin County and on a cattle farm in Dearborn County in 2011.  As a result, Indiana DNR began a surveillance program in whitetail deer in 2009.  From 2008-2015 over 1,400 deer have been tested and all tested deer have been negative for bTB.  However, the number of deer tested each year has not been enough to detect bTB at a low prevalence rate ( < 1%) at a 95% confidence interval of test results.


     As part of the "clean up protocol" IDNR will work with BOAH, USDA APHIS Veterinary Services and USDA APHIS Wildlife Services to remove and test wildlife species from the infected premises and adjacent properties where possible.  All trapped animals will be trapped, euthanized and tested for bTB.  Deer on the properties will be shot and tested for bTB.

The remainder of the deer testing needed to be done will occur during the regular deer season in 2016/2017.  Between 550 and 2,000 deer will be needed for testing to achieve a 95% confidence level to detect bTB at a .025% prevalence rate.  bTB is both sex and age biased with bucks over 2 years old testing positive more than younger bucks and does.  If the DNR can test more bucks 2 or older then the total number of deer needed to be tested will be less.  If the DNR can not test enough deer harvested by hunters then they will have to kill deer using sharp-shooters.

     The DNR is currently working on the 2016-2017 plan for testing deer and coyotes for bTB.  Some ideas being considered is getting the word out to hunters in Franklin, Dearborn and Fayette Counties to bring deer in right away to be tested, have taxidermists collect samples for testing, have Lab Technicians at check in stations to conduct the tests, test fresh roadkill, partner with outfitters and guides and maybe even allotting an additional buck tag to a hunter who submits a 2 year old or older buck for testing.

     A key part of this bTB surveillance plan is to obtain hunter harvested deer at a much higher rate than previously attempted.  The DNR has asked the Indiana Bowhunter Association to help get the word out to hunters.  We must test for bTB to see at what level it is within the Indiana deer herd and then take the appropriate measures to control the non-native diseases.  If we can do this it will not be necessary to collect deer by sharpshooting which only reduces the already pressured Indiana white-tailed deer herd numbers.

August 3, 2016       Bovine TB Indiana DNR White Tailed Deer Testing Plan Announced    

Bovine tuberculosis was detected by Indiana Board of Animal Health and US Department  of Agriculture on  a cattle farm consisting of 2 premises in Franklin County, Indiana in April  2016. 

What that means is that the DNR will now assist with collecting sampling protocols in an attempt to detect bovine tuberculosis at lower prevalence rates by conducting bovine  tuberculosis surveillance in Franklin and Fayette counties during the 2016 deer hunting season.  The IDNR will need to collect samples from between 850 and 2,700 deer, depending on sex and age class of the animal. 

While any age and sex of white-tailed deer can  become infected with bovine tuberculosis, surveillance from  other states has demonstrated that
sampling bucks older than 2 years of age is more likely to  detect the disease.  Therefore, obtaining samples from  older age bucks will result in less total deer that need to  be tested (approximately 850).  If most samples come  from does or bucks less than  2 years old, then more deer will need to be sampled.  In general, a buck older than 2 years old equals about 10  yearling bucks from a bovine tuberculosis surveillance  perspective.  Therefore, our objective is to sample as  many hunter-harvested bucks greater  than 2 years old as possible and obtain the remaining  samples with hunter-harvested does and younger bucks.

 To meet this objective, the following strategies will be employed:

 The sampling area is all of Franklin County and the area south of State Road 44 in Fayette County.

 Hunters that harvest deer in either Franklin or Fayette counties will check in their deer on-line within 12 hours of harvest.  During the check-in process, hunters will be instructed to contact the DNR using a toll-free  number to facilitate participation in the bTB surveillance  effort.  A sample collection team based in Franklin  County will be on call   to meet with hunters to sample their deer.  The  samples needed are found in the head and neck of the deer,  so this should be preserved if deer are processed in the  field.  Hunters that wish to have their deer mounted or  processed can provide the name of the taxidermists or processor so that arrangements can be made  to collect the samples from that location. 

During the youth weekend (September 24 & 25) and opening weekend of firearm season (November 12  & 13), DNR will be located at historic check stations  and other convenient locations in Franklin and Fayette  County at which hunters will be required to bring their  deer within 12 hours  of harvest to participate in disease surveillance.  These locations will be advertised prior to these  weekends. 

 A collectable Deer Cooperator Patch will be issued to all cooperating youth and adult hunters  who submit deer for bovine tuberculosis surveillance. 

 Additional Buck Tag:  During 2016, hunters who harvest a buck 2 years old or older from the bovine  tuberculosis sampling area and allow a sample to be  collected (either by DNR staff, taxidermist, or at a processor) will qualify for an additional free buck tag that can be used to harvest a second older-aged buck from  the bovine tuberculosis surveillance area.   A  buck older than 2 years old can typically be estimated in  the field by the spread of the antlers and the number of  antler points.  The age will be confirmed by tooth wear replacement by a biologist.  To judge  your deer in the field hunters can look for:

An antler spread that is equal to or greater than the width of the ears when the ears are in the  alert or outstretched position.  Deer that are presented to a biologist that meet this criterion will qualify for an  additional buck tag.  Deer that do not meet these  criteria, but are judged to be older than 2 years old by  tooth wear by a biologist will also qualify for  an additional buck tag.   The 2nd buck that is harvested must meet the same criteria as the  1st buck and must also be presented for sampling  before hunters can obtain their registration number.  Hunters will be allowed to keep antlers and the  deer from both the 1st and 2nd buck.

Time Frame:  Hunter harvested samples will be collected starting during youth weekend and continue  through early December.

Agency Sharpshooting:  If an adequate number of samples to meet the surveillance goal are not collected  through hunter-harvested deer, personnel from DNR and USDA  APHIS Wildlife Services will be utilized to remove deer from  the surveillance area in early 2017.

There are typically enough deer harvested by hunters in the  surveillance area to meet the surveillance objective;  however, we estimate that the vast majority of the deer  older than 2 years old will need to be sampled.  It is  critical that hunters participate  in the surveillance to eliminate the need for  sharpshooting.  It is also important that hunters  encourage each other to participate in the  surveillance.  Indiana DNR considers sharpshooting an  undesirable option; however, it may be necessary if  successful hunter participation in the surveillance effort is low.

August 16, 2016​     Bovine TB Found in Wild, White-tailed Deer

INDIANAPOLIS (16 Aug 2016)—Bovine tuberculosis (TB) has been diagnosed in a white-tailed deer in Franklin County, Ind. This marks the first time the disease (more formally known as Mycobacterium bovis) has been found in a wild animal in Indiana. This finding means significant changes in disease monitoring requirements for cattle owners and deer hunters in the area.

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) has been working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to test wildlife on a Franklin County cattle farm where TB was diagnosed in April. The 2-year-old doe that tested positive for TB was culled as part of the surveillance effort on the cattle farm.

 Under federal requirements, finding TB in a free-ranging wild animal means testing of all cattle must expand from 3 miles to 10 miles and surveillance in hunter-harvested deer will intensify.

 For cattle owners in Franklin County and portions of some adjoining counties, BOAH staff will be reaching out to determine if cattle in the 10-mile circle are test- eligible and, if so, schedule herd testing. BOAH’s premises registration program has approximately 400 farms registered in the 10-mile testing zone.

 For deer hunters in the region, that means whitetails harvested in a specific zone must be sampled for laboratory testing. DNR will be providing more information to hunters in the coming weeks.

 “This is an enormous undertaking that cannot be completed overnight,” said Indiana State Veterinarian Bret D. Marsh, DVM. “Farmers and hunters in this area have been extremely cooperative and supportive of our efforts over the years. We need their help now more than ever as we widen our surveillance efforts. If this disease is out there—either on farms or in the wild—we need to find it. Our status as a TB-free state is critical to our growing and thriving cattle and dairy industries in this state.”

 Indiana has officially held a bovine tuberculosis-free status since 1984 with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under federal guidelines, that status remains. BOAH has found four individual cases of TB in three cattle herds and a cervid farm in this region between 2008 and 2016.

 About Bovine TB

Bovine tuberculosis is a chronic bacterial disease that affects primarily cattle, but can be transmitted to any warm-blooded animal. TB is difficult to diagnose through clinical signs alone. In the early stages of the disease, clinical signs are not visible. Later, signs may include:  emaciation, lethargy, weakness, anorexia, low-grade fever and pneumonia with a chronic, moist cough. Lymph node enlargement may also be present. Cattle owners who notice these signs in their livestock should contact their private veterinarian.

 Hunters should take precautions to protect themselves, including wearing gloves when field dressing animals and fully cooking all meat. Deer can be infected without noticeable signs of disease, like the positive 2-year-old doe. Hunters who notice signs of TB in wildlife should contact the DNR at 812-334-3795. Hunters who see signs of bovine TB while processing wildlife should contact BOAH at: 317-544-2405.

 More information about the disease and the investigation, as it develops, will be available on the BOAH website at: . Site visitors may subscribe to email updates about the current TB situation by visiting the webpage.

Denise Derrer, Public Information Director

Indiana State Board of Animal Health