Game Department Will Use Electronic Deer Checks

The Indiana Natural Resources Commission Tuesday gave final approval to an electronic reporting system for hunters to check harvested white-tailed deer and wild turkey, a program that has operated on a trial basis since April.

Dubbed CheckIN Game (, the online system was used by approximately 2,000 hunters during the spring turkey season, and more than 11,600 used the online or phone-in options for the deer firearms season that began this past weekend.

Other final actions taken by the NRC during its bimonthly meeting at Fort Harrison State Park included adoption of a rule to allow three antlerless deer to be taken under the deer license bundle; a one-day extension of the fall archery season for wild turkey; and changes to commercial fishing activities, including the fishing guide license and roe harvester and roe dealer licenses.

The NRC also gave preliminary adoption to rule changes that if granted final adoption will modify some hunting season dates for deer, as well as for pheasant, quail and rabbit.

The NRC Division of Hearings will establish a public comment period for the rule changes that received preliminary adoption and conduct at least one public hearing before the proposals are brought back to the NRC for consideration of final adoption.

The proposed changes would:

-Move the starting date of deer archery season to Sept. 15 and make it illegal to use a crossbow from Sept. 15-30. Archery season would continue through the first Sunday in January of the following year, and crossbows would be legal from Oct. 1 through the end of the archery season.

-Add a primitive muzzleloader season starting the first Monday in January and continuing for six additional days. The bag limit would be combined with the regular muzzleloader season (one deer of either sex).

-Set the statewide pheasant season from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15;

-Set the quail season from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 in the north zone and Nov. 1 through Jan. 10 in the south zone. Also, Interstate 74 would become the new dividing line between north/south zones.

-Modify rabbit season to a single statewide season from Nov. 1 through Feb. 28. The current season dates are different for public and private ground.

-Change size and bag limits for black bass and walleye at certain locations; add hunter orange clothing requirements for ground blinds; and remove the peregrine falcon from the state endangered species list.

-Amend various fish and wildlife licenses and permits covering turtle possession, field trials, scientific purposes, nuisance wild animal control, falconry, shooting preserves, wild animal possession and migratory bird depredation.

-Establish rules for water resource management in the Great Lakes Basin under the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact;

-Establish rules to assist with implementing state law governing coal seam protection, coal bed methane wells, and carbon dioxide transmission pipelines.

In other actions, the NRC set four free sport fishing days for 2013 (April 20, May 18, June 1, and June 2), turned down a citizen petition to allow primitive camping in non-designated areas around Monroe Lake, approved a new state nature preserve at Ouabache State Park, added to the Big Walnut Creek Nature Preserve in Putnam County, and corrected a clerical error in the dedication documents for Allee Woods Nature Preserve in Parke County.