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Deer Firearm Season Kicks Off Saturday
Updated November 12, 2014 9:47 AM
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(UNDATED) - Firearms season for Indiana deer hunters begins Saturday, hunters should expect another productive season, although they may see fewer deer than in previous years.

The season runs from Saturday till November 30.

Hunters with a firearms license may take one antlered deer. Bonus licenses are required to take additional deer with firearms.

These bonus hunting licenses will be issued based on the individual county's assigned quota, and hunters will only be allowed to hunt using the equipment deemed legal this season.

As a part of recent cuts, the bonus antlerless season was reduced for 2014 for 19 counties in Indiana, meaning that six counties are also now ineligible for the bonus late antlerless season. This "extra" season runs from Dec. 26, through Jan. 4.

While Stewart predicted lower numbers of deer in the Indiana north this winter, he is optimistic about population levels in the south.

"Hunters there should continue to see good numbers of deer," he said in a news release. "The balance of deer cover and the absence of lingering effects from and disease outbreak have produced ample opportunities for hunters to be successful."

There are several factors contributing to reduced deer numbers in certain areas of the state - Some by design and some are by external forces.

The DNR is in the third year of a management effort to reduce deer numbers in targeted areas. Another reason for fewer deer was a serious 2012 outbreak of hemorrhagic disease - an often lethal virus transmitted by small flies known as biting midges.

"These numbers are more in line with what should be seen on the landscape," Stewart said. "We recognize these declines and have been responsive in our management by reducing our antlerless quotas in many areas and dropping some counties from the special late antlerless season. In many cases, these are the levels at which we are trying to manage our herd."

Hunters in the north are likely to see deer numbers at lower levels than they are accustomed to seeing.

"Historically, deer herds tend to rebound quickly from outbreaks of hemorrhagic disease, but that hasn't been the case in northern Indiana," Stewart added.

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