Turkey hunters have more equipment options this season

UNDATED – The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) gave final adoption to the changes listed below governing muzzleloaders for deer hunting, beaver trapping, and wild turkey hunting equipment at their meeting on March 16, 2021.

Dan Bortner

DNR Director Dan Bortner authorized the use of the .410, 28 gauge, and tungsten super shot #9 and #10 by emergency rule in time for this year’s spring turkey season.

The hearing officer’s report, along with the public comments and response by the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife, can be found as Agenda Item #9 .

Wild Turkey Hunting Equipment

Allow wild turkey hunters the option of using a 28-, 16-, or 10-gauge and .410 shotgun to hunt wild turkeys, in addition to other equipment that is already legal in the spring and fall turkey seasons in 312 IAC 9-4-11. The .410 has less recoil than some of the current shotguns that are currently legal, making it easier for youth and others to use. The additional change to allow the tungsten super shot (#9 and other size shot) will allow new types of shot that are now available for wild turkey hunting. The proposed language for the shot density is included for the purpose of restricting shot compositions to those shot sizes and densities that will remain effective at forty yards or less to assure a quick kill on a wild turkey while reducing the severity of accidental shooting of humans.

Muzzleloaders for Deer Hunting

Remove the restriction in 312 IAC 9-3-3 requiring the powder used in muzzleloaders to be loaded only from the muzzle end of the muzzleloader when used during the deer firearms season, youth special deer season, late antlerless season, and deer reduction zone season (when firearms are allowed). This change would allow deer hunters the option to use additional muzzleloaders during these seasons, but does not change muzzleloaders that are legal during the regular deer muzzleloader season. Muzzleloaders that can be used during the deer muzzleloader season must still have both the powder and bullet loaded from the muzzle.

Beaver Season

Allow trappers to take beavers at any time of day on the first and last day of the seasons, making this season consistent with the opening and closing days of the seasons for trapping other wild animals. This change is needed to be consistent with other rules governing the trapping of wild animals in 312 IAC 9-3, and to allow trappers more time to set and check traps on the opening and closing date. The current rule is an unnecessary restriction, and there is no need to restrict when a trap can be set during the season.