(UNDATED) - Select Indiana state parks will close temporarily to allow for controlled deer reductions in the coming weeks.
The dates for the temporary closings are Nov. 13 and 14, and Nov. 26 and 27.
The state parks affected are Chain O'Lakes, Charlestown, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Ouabache, Prophetstown, Shades, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Tippecanoe River, Turkey Run, Versailles and Whitewater Memorial. These state parks will close to the general public the evening before each of the two efforts and reopen the morning after each two-day reduction.
Individuals familiar with the annual schedule should note that the first round is on Tuesday and Wednesday rather than the traditional Monday-Tuesday because Nov. 12 is a state holiday. The traditional Monday-Tuesday schedule returns for the second round on Nov. 26 and 27.
Only individuals and those listed on their applications for the reductions may participate at Chain O'Lakes, Charlestown, Harmonie, Ouabache, Prophetstown, Shades, Shakamak, Tippecanoe River, Versailles and Whitewater Memorial. There will be no standby drawings at those parks.
For Turkey Run (firearms hunt), Fort Harrison (archery hunt), and Spring Mill (firearms hunt) only, a public standby drawing to fill spots left vacant will take place on property each morning of the reduction. Potential standby participants must apply onsite between 7:30 and 8:15 a.m. local time but cannot enter the park before 7:30 a.m. Standby drawings will take place at 8:30 a.m. local time.
Eligibility for those daily onsite standby drawings at Turkey Run, Fort Harrison and Spring Mill is limited to Indiana residents who are 18 years of age by Nov. 13, and have any valid license to take deer in Indiana. Indiana residents who possess an Indiana lifetime license to take deer are also eligible.
To participate in the standby drawings at Turkey Run, Fort Harrison and Spring Mill, individuals must present a photo ID and their valid filled or unfilled license to take deer. Applications can include up to three individuals. The number of participants drawn will be based on the number of unclaimed spots for each day; it is not a first-come, first-served process. The need for stand-in hunters tends to increase with each hunt day.
Questions about participating in the standby drawings at Turkey Run, Fort Harrison or Spring Mill should be directed to the property of interest.
DNR biologists evaluate which parks require a reduction each year based on habitat recovery and previous harvest rates at each park. The state parks are home to more than 32 state-endangered plants and numerous significant natural communities. The reductions help control browsing by deer to a level that helps maintain habitat throughout the state parks for all plants and animals.
Information on 2013 state park deer reductions, including online applications, will be available next summer at dnr.IN.gov/fishwild. The application deadline is usually the end of August.
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