From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources
-- Five open house meetings have been scheduled to for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to share information about proposed changes to deer hunting regulations.
A rules package received preliminary approval from the Natural Resources Commission in July, and is open to public comment and will be the subject of official public hearings sometime in early 2011.
The proposed changes include reconfiguring the traditional 16-day firearms and muzzleloader seasons to nine days each while adding new antlerless-only seasons, two days in October in designated counties, and eight days in late December statewide.
Another change would extend urban deer zone hunting through Jan. 31. Under current rules, the urban zone season ends the first Sunday in January. Other changes would allow hunters age 64 and older to use crossbows in the early archery season, allow hunters of any age to use crossbows in the firearms, muzzleloader and urban deer zone seasons, and create a new nonresident youth deer license.
"It's important to inform deer hunters and the public about the reasons behind the proposals," said Mark Reiter, director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife. "With the feedback we've received so far, it's clear there is some misunderstanding about the goals of our management strategy and how the various pieces fit into our plan."
Dates, times and locations for the open houses are Aug. 16, 2 to 6 p.m. at Pike Township Public Library, 6525 Zionsville Road, Indianapolis; Aug. 18, 2 to 7 p.m. at Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area, 4320 W. Toto Road, North Judson; Aug. 18, 2 to 7 p.m. at Jennings County Public Library, 2375 N. SR 3, North Vernon, Aug. 19, 2 to 7 p.m. at DNR Northeast Region Office, 1353 S. Governors Dr., Columbia City, and Aug. 19, 2 to 7 p.m. at Sugar Ridge Fish & Wildlife Area, 2310 E SR 364, Winslow.
Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists will be present to provide information in an informal discussion format. Those attending will be able to submit written comments. For more information, contact Phil Bloom, DNR Communications, at (317) 232-4003 or send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.