Public hearing on proposed wildlife rule changes set for Jan. 20

Public hearing on proposed wildlife rule changes set for Jan. 20

The Natural Resources Commission’s Division of Hearings has scheduled a virtual public hearing to accept public comments on proposed rule changes governing fishing tournament licenses/permits, trapping wild animals, and registering to be an organ donor through the DNR’s license system. More information about the proposed changes is at

The virtual public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. ET on Jan. 20, 2022, using WebEx.

Individuals may join the public hearing in two ways:

Those who have never used WebEx should begin the process at least 10 minutes early because they will be prompted to download WebEx before joining the meeting. For technical assistance, contact Scott Allen at 317-232-4699 or

Public comments must be submitted to the NRC no later than Jan. 21, 2022, via Click on “Comment on this Rule” next to the “Fish & Wildlife and Law Enforcement Miscellaneous Rule Amendments.”

Comments can also be mailed to:

Natural Resources Commission
Indiana Government Center North
100 North Senate Ave., Room N103
Indianapolis, IN 46204

The NRC will review the public comments before voting on final adoption of the changes in March. Rule changes that are given final adoption by the NRC must still be approved by the Attorney General’s office and Governor’s office and filed with the Indiana Register before taking effect.

To view more DNR news releases, please see

Media contact: Linnea Petercheff, Licensing and Permits Supervisor, DNR Fish & Wildlife, 317-233-6527,

2022 Indiana Wildlife Virtual Conference

Dr. Mamie Parker sits at a large table with a nameplate. She is seated in an executive chair in front of a screen that says Dept of Game & Inland FisheriesKeynote Speaker: Dr. Mamie Parker

Dr. Mamie Parker is a professional fish and wildlife biologist and made history serving as the first African American U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) Regional Director of the 13 Northeastern states after working in  the Great Lakes and Big Rivers regions. She has received numerous conservation awards and is widely known for her tireless work on wildlife conservation and invasive species. She currently serves on numerous non-profit boards including the National Wildlife Federation.

More info, or register here:

OTHER PRESENTATIONS INCLUDE:Ohio DNR (retired) botanist Jim McCormick

Jim McCormac (right) served at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for 31 years as a botanist, and later specializing in wildlife diversity projects, especially involving birds. He has authored or  coauthored six books, including Birds of Ohio, and Wild Ohio: The Best of Our Natural Heritage.

Learn more and register here.


(Due to rising COVID-19 numbers we are no longer hosting the in-person portion of this event. In order to maintain a reasonable length for a virtual meeting, the conference will be reduced in duration to 9:30am-12pm)

UPDATE: Oak threat in Indiana expands statewide

Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

402 W. Washington St.

Indianapolis, IN 46204-2748

For immediate release: May 29, 2019

UPDATE: Oak threat in Indiana expands statewide

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed more than 70 Walmart stores and 18 Rural King stores in the state have received rhododendron plants infected with sudden oak death (SOD), a fungal pathogen that kills oak trees. Shipments containing infested material were sent to nine other states as well.

Workers from the Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology have been visiting stores across Indiana to destroy any stock that has been found infested and quarantine any stock that is symptomatic. The division has made this its top priority.

The DNR has destroyed approximately 1,500 infested rhododendron so far and pulled another 1,500 from stores. The DNR has also ordered these stores to stop selling rhododendron until further notice. Any quarantined material not infected will be released following testing at Purdue University.

The DNR is also following up with homeowners that have called in to say they’ve purchased material that they believe is infested or are seeing signs/ symptoms of sick trees in the environment.

SOD has killed large tracts of oaks on the West Coast. SOD has not been established in the Midwest, to date. SOD can kill standing oak trees, which could happen if SOD-positive rhododendron were planted within about 6 feet of a standing oak.

SOD travels in more than a hundred species of host plant material. It causes some browning of the leaves in the host but does not kill it. For a list of those plants see the following

If you have purchased rhododendrons in the last four weeks from Walmart or Rural King, destroy them, or call 1-866-NO-EXOTIC (663-9684) or the local county extension office at 1-888-EXT-INFO (1-888-398-4636) for instructions.

This is an ongoing investigation, and guidance could change as more information is gathered.
To learn more about SOD, see:

Related news release: DNR finds oak threat in store rhododendrons, May 22, 2019

To view all DNR news releases, please see

Media contact: Megan Abraham, Division of Entomology & Plant Pathology, 317-232-4189,

Forestry division hosting open houses

Division of Forestry
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
402 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2748

For immediate release: Nov. 20, 2018

Forestry division hosting open houses

The DNR Division of Forestry will host open houses at many of its locations, Dec. 11-13, to share how the division works to protect forests.


At each event, division staff will provide information about recreational activities, major projects, forest resource management, and State Forest planning. Attendees will also be able to speak directly with DNR personnel or submit written comments. Some of the open houses will include a tour of facilities, guided hikes, and interpretive programs. See below for a listing of the open houses and events planned at each property.

“These open houses provide Hoosiers with a chance to receive first-hand information about how the State Forests are working to provide diverse wildlife habitat, forest products and recreational opportunities,” State Forester John Seifert said. “They also allow us to receive valuable feedback from our neighbors and users about State Forest management. I encourage everyone who has an interest to participate.”

Events and open houses include:

Owen-Putnam State Forest: Dec. 11, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the property office, which is five miles west of Spencer and less than one mile north of S.R. 46. There will be a forester-led, short winter hike at 4 p.m. Call 812-829-2462 for more information.

Clark State Forest/Deam Lake SRA: Dec.11, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Clark State Forest office, which is one mile north of Henryville on U.S. 31. Topics that will be highlighted include campground and gun range improvements. There will be a one-mile, forester-led winter walk at 4 p.m. Call 812-294-4306 for more information.

Harrison-Crawford State Forest: Dec. 11, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the recently renovated property office. The office is located off S.R. 462, just past the gatehouse for O’Bannon Woods State Park. Call 812-738-7694 for more information.

Ferdinand/Pike State Forest: Dec. 12, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Ferdinand office which is off S.R. 264, approximately four miles northeast of Ferdinand. There will be a 4 p.m. walking tour of the forest’s lakeside recreational sites. Call 812-367-1524 for more information.

Martin State Forest: Dec. 12, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Martin State Forest main office off U.S. 50, approximately four miles northeast of Shoals. Visitors can view the newly renovated Martin Lake shelter house or join the forester at 4 p.m. for a short winter hike. Call 812-247-3491 for more information.

Morgan-Monroe/Yellowwood State Forest: Dec. 12, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Training Center at Morgan-Monroe State Forest off S.R. 37, approximately six miles south of Martinsville. There will be a tour of the renovated visitor center at 4 p.m. Call 765-342-4026 for more information.

Jackson-Washington State Forest/Starve Hollow SRA: Dec. 13, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Starve Hollow Forest Education Center off S.R. 135, approximately two miles southeast of Vallonia. There will be a tour of the Starve Hollow lake restoration project at 4 p.m. Call 812-358-3464 for more information.

Salamonie River/Frances Slocum State Forest: Dec. 13, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the property’s main office located on S.R. 524, approximately six miles east of Wabash. Call 260-782-0430 for more information.

Green-Sullivan State Forest: Dec. 13, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the property office on S.R. 159, approximately 1.5 miles south of Dugger. There will be a 4 p.m. tour of the campground and lake restoration project. Call 812-648-2810 for more information.

Property staff is also available during normal business hours. Go to the Division of Forestry’s webpage ( for contact information.

The Division of Forestry promotes and practices good stewardship of natural, recreational and cultural resources on Indiana’s public and private forest lands. This stewardship produces continuing benefits, both tangible and intangible, for present and future generations.

To view all DNR news releases, please see
Media contact: Marty Benson, DNR Communications, 317-233-3853,

Indiana DNR Grassland Habitat Workshop

FREE ADMISSION AND TOUR: 2 dates/locations to choose from!

DATE: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018
TIME 2–5 p.m. CT
LOCATION: 9522 N State Road 245 Lamar, IN 47550  (Spencer County)

DATE: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018
TIME: 3–6 p.m. ET
LOCATION: 2750 S Pleasant Grove, Lyons, IN 46443

RESERVATIONS: Register by calling Emily Jacob, DNR, at 812-699-0264 or by contacting your local SWCD office.

• Receive information about technical and financial assistance available to landowners for creating grassland habitat.
• Learn about the Grasslands for Gamebirds and Songbirds RCPP.
• Attend a grassland habitat tour led by a DNR biologist

VIEW | PRINT | SHARE the Flyers!

Photo Credit: USFWS

Draft plan to conserve rare butterflies in Indiana and Michigan available for public review

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Midwest Region
5600 American Boulevard West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437

September 6, 2018

Contact: Georgia Parham 812-334-4261 x 203,
Carrie Tansy 517-351-8375,

Draft plan to conserve rare butterflies in Indiana and Michigan available for public review

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input on a draft habitat conservation plan
outlining conservation measures for the Poweshiek skipperling and Mitchell’s satyr, two
federally endangered butterflies found in southern lower Michigan and northern Indiana.
The draft plan is part of a process by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and
the Indiana DNR to obtain an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act that
would allow the agencies to conduct long-term conservation activities to benefit the species even
if some actions resulted in harm to butterflies.

The plan covers specific actions on non-Federal lands in Berrien, Branch, Cass, Jackson, Van
Buren and Washtenaw counties in Michigan and LaGrange County, Indiana, in the range of the
Mitchell’s satyr, and Oakland County Michigan, where the majority of remaining Poweshiek
skipperling populations still exist.

The types of activities covered in the habitat conservation plan include burning, mowing,
vegetation removal, control of non-native species, grazing, seeding, planting and survey work.
Because these activities, while benefiting the two butterflies, may result in harm to a small
number of individuals, the agencies have developed the conservation plan and have applied for
an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act.

The Endangered Species Act provides for incidental take permits for otherwise legal activities
that may result in take (harming, killing or harassing) of federally endangered or threatened
animals. To obtain an incidental take permit, applicants must develop a habitat conservation
plan that provides for long-term conservation of the species. Habitat conservation plans spell out
measures to minimize take of covered species, and steps to mitigate for the loss of any individual animals.

Only activities intended to manage habitat for the benefit of Mitchell’s satyr and Poweshiek
skipperling while minimizing incidental take are included in this draft plan. Additional
mitigation measures will not be required.

The areas covered by the draft habitat conservation plan include about 192 acres of Mitchell’s
satyr habitat in Michigan and Indiana, along with about 50 acres of habitat in Michigan for the
Poweshiek skipperling. The states’ natural resources departments will administer the plan;
private landowners interested in conserving habitat for the butterflies may also participate.
To view the draft habitat conservation plan and application for incidental take permit, go to
Send written comments via U.S. mail to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of
Ecological Services, 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437–1458; by
facsimile to 612–713–5292; or by electronic mail to Deadline for
comments is October 5, 2018.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws/gov.

Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at

Remember to Register your Off-Road Vehicle with the BMV

Hoosiers who own off-road vehicles (ORVs) purchased after Dec. 31, 2009 must register those ORVs through the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

The registration law applies regardless of whether the ORV is driven on public or private land, although there are a few exceptions. More information about ORV registration requirements is at

ORVs include dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), utility task vehicles (UTVs), and side-by-sides.

A three-year ORV registration costs $30.

Registration is required for all ORVs to enter Interlake and Redbird state recreation areas (SRAs), according to DNR’s Carman Jackson, who manages both properties. Interlake and Redbird are former coal surface mines owned and managed by the DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation to provide public-land riding opportunities for ORV users.

For out-of-state visitors, the state also recognizes out-of-state ORV registrations.

Out-of-state residents with unregistered ORVs can purchase an annual trail-use permit that will allow use at Redbird and Interlake SRAs only. These permits are available at the property gatehouses.

“We are seeing an increasing number of non-registered ORVs arriving at Interlake and Redbird,” Jackson said. “Many Hoosiers  are not aware of the registration requirement. Unfortunately, we have to deny them entrance to the property.”

Registration allows police officers to track stolen ORVs and ORVs that have been used improperly. Furthermore, fees from ORV registration pay for increased off-roading opportunities, amenities and services.

Interlake and Redbird have added more trail miles for all vehicle types and rider skill levels. Recent improvements include shelters, picnic areas and observation decks that provide great views and family experiences.

“These funds are essential for property improvements,” Jackson said.

More information on off-roading in Indiana, including laws, safety and places to ride is at

To view all DNR news releases, please see

150 Years of Indiana Wild Animal Protection and Management Practices Upset by State Court of Appeals

The Indiana Court of Appeals handed down a flawed decision on February 2, 2015, suggesting that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) does not have authority to regulate any privately-owned wild animals.  The case was part of the decade-long fight over whether “canned hunting” of captive whitetail deer should be legalized in Indiana.  The appeals court was to decide whether current laws prohibit high-fenced hunting, “canned hunting,” after two lower courts issued conflicting decisions.

In a surprisingly broad decision, the court ruled in a 2-1 vote that DNR has no authority to regulate captive-raised whitetail deer and further asserted that the DNR does not have authority over ANY wild animal that is privately owned.  The court’s analysis flies in the face of decades of wildlife management practice in Indiana and is counter to the wildlife-management principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation that have been in practice across the United States for over 150 years.  It undermines DNR’s ability to assure ethical treatment and secure containment of privately-owned wild animals, puts the public safety at risk, threatens the environment, and hinders the preservation of Indiana’s wild animals for future generations.

What began as a case about whether current Indiana law prohibits canned hunting of captive-raised deer has ended with a court assessment that eviscerates DNR’s ability to enforce its protective regulations as to any privately-owned wild animal, including tigers and lions, bears, venomous snakes, and threatened and state endangered wild animals.  The court proposed that the DNR may not regulate how a privately-owned wild animal is treated, fed, handled, secured, or used.  Out-of-state animal buyers and traders now see Indiana as an easy source of supply since DNR’s ability to enforce its protective restrictions has been eroded.  The public can no longer be certain that DNR will protect them or prevent and prohibit unethical treatment.

The court’s opinion clearly has “unintended” consequences.  This “anything goes” approach is not what anyone in Indiana wants, regardless of where you stand on the canned hunting issue, and it needs to be addressed.  The Governor should ensure that DNR continues asserting its authority over all wildlife, including privately-owned wild animals, and the Legislature should pass clarifying language to reinforce what has always been Indiana’s wildlife management approach–conservation of all wildlife resources, both publicly and privately owned.

The State Court of Appeals wrongly decided this case.  Governor Pence and the Legislature must fix it.


Barbara Simpson, Indiana Wildlife Federation

Joe Bacon, Indiana Deer Hunters Association

Gene Hopkins, Indiana Sportsmen’s Roundtable

James Turpin, Indiana Quality Deer Management Association

Chuck Bauer, IN Division of the Izaak Walton League of America

Glenn Lange, IN Chapter of the Wildlife Society

Jeff Wells, IN Conservation Officer Organization

‘Go Wild’ Tips for National Wildlife Week

Looking for a way to enjoy and help local wildlife during National Wildlife Week (March 9-15)? Check out the tips below to see how you can get involved:

  • buy native plants (you can buy them right now during our annual Native Plant Sale or visit local nurseries that stock natives)
  • visit a state park, fish & wildlife area, or preserve (visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for a complete list of natural areas near you)
  • watch out for invasive species (help keep invasive plants and animals from harming native wildlife by monitoring them with the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN) app. It’s free and available for iOS and Android phones!)
  • photograph wildlife and share your pics with friends and family
  • recycle (not sure what you can or can’t recycle? Our friends at the Indiana Recycling Coalition have great information to answer all your recycling questions!)
  • create a habitat in your yard, neighborhood, school, or workplace (visit our Habitat Programs page to find out where to start)
  • volunteer (share a few hours to help local conservation organizations serve wildlife’s needs)
  • become a citizen scientist (help keep Indiana’s water clean for people and wildlife by monitoring water in your area. See the Hoosier Riverwatch program for details.)
  • share the beauty of wildlife with kids (try these activities for connecting kids and nature from the National Wildlife Federation)

Judge Nardi Should Rule on High-Fence “Canned” Hunting

Indianapolis, Ind. (Aug. 1, 2012) – On Monday, August 6th, at 1:00 PM, Circuit Court Judge Frank M. Nardi will again be given the opportunity to serve the people of Indiana.  His courtroom in the Owen County courthouse will be the setting for yet another battle on high-fence “canned” hunting:  a hearing to grant or deny a summary judgment, filed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.  Judge Nardi’s court originally set the hearing for April 1, moved it to June 1, then to July 5, and now has it placed on Monday’s docket.

Most Hoosiers are aware of the debate created by high-fence hunting preserves:  the ethics of hunting animals confined in high fence enclosures, whether these animals are wildlife or livestock, and the danger to Indiana’s wild deer herd from chronic wasting disease, a mad-cow like illness that can be carried by animals raised for, and transported to, high-fence hunting preserves. There is no cure for chronic wasting disease.  It has spread to 18 states that are spending millions of tax payers’ dollars to combat the disease.

The law is clear: high-fence hunting is illegal in Indiana.  Judge Nardi should rule so.  Further delays are a disservice to the people of Indiana.

Barbara Simpson, Executive Director, Indiana Wildlife Federation
Gene Hopkins, President, Indiana Sportsmen’s Roundtable

DNR Black Bass Tagging Study

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (INDR) is tagging 500 legal-sized black bass (largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass) on three rivers in central and northern Indiana as part of a new research project.  Anglers who catch tagged bass can earn $5, $10 or $25 by reporting their catches and returning tags to IDNR researchers.

IDNR biologists are tagging black bass in the West Fork White River (Madison, Hamilton, and Marion counties), Eel River (Wabash, Miami, and Cass counties), and St. Joseph River (St. Joseph and Elkhart counties) during the late summer and fall.

The research project will help biologists learn more about angler catch rates and fish movement in these rivers.  Information gained from anglers reporting their tagged catches will help us better manage these species.

Tagged bass do not have to be kept to receive a reward.  Anglers may just remove the tag and release the fish.  Tags must be returned to the IDNR to receive a reward.

The project is a collaboration between Indiana DNR, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Indiana Smallmouth Alliance, Reel Women/Reel Men of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Fly Casters, Manchester University, and St. Joseph River Valley Fly Fishers to promote a healthy Indiana black bass fishery.

To learn more about the project, please visit: