July 16, 2012

Just 50 years ago, we could not have taken a hike to enjoy the Indiana countryside and been fortunate enough to encounter the now familiar white-tailed deer bounding across a cornfield or disappearing into a woodlot. By the 1930s, the whitetail, an abundant species when the settlers arrived in the early 1800s, had been pushed to extinction in deerIndiana. Now, the Hoosier state can boast of a healthy and productive herd. Our pride in this herd is well-founded, because it is a symbol of the success of our wildlife management and conservation efforts.

In 1934, the Division of Fish and Game (parent agency to the present Division of Fish and Wildlife) began restocking with about 400 deer which were trapped and transferred from Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Nearly all releases were made on state and federal properties of the southern hills. Deer immigrating from Michigan helped rebuild the herd in northern Indiana counties. Animals moving up and down the major drainage systems began dispersing throughout central Indiana. Biologists accelerated the dispersal by trapping deer from public lands and moving them to counties with few or no deer. In conjunction with wildlife biologists’ dedication to re-establishing deer, conservation officers worked around the clock to protect the new herds. Our restoration efforts have been generously rewarded. Today, deer inhabit every county in Indiana and provide recreation and enjoyment to all types of outdoor enthusiasts.


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