The deer firearm season begins this Saturday, and hunters are encouraged to practice safety.
Those who will be hunting on another individual's private land should have the landowner's permission prior to hunting. This helps to provide relief from liability on the landowner if an accident should happen.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requires a deer license for each deer taken. Also, a firearms license is necessary to hunt during this specific portion of deer season, which runs from Nov. 17-Dec. 2. Hunters may carry more than one type of firearm during this season as well.
The regulations for shotguns state they must be 10-, 12-, 16- or 20-gauge or .410 bore with slugs or saboted bullets. Non-muzzloading handguns permitted for deer hunting must have at least a four-inch long barrel and fire a .243-inch diameter bullet or larger with a cartridge case of at least 1.16 inches long, without the bullet. Rifles must have pistol cartridges which fire a .357-inch diameter bullet or larger, and have a case length of no less than 1.16 inches and no more than 1.625 inches.
Some of the firearms and ammunition not legal during deer firearm season include combination rifle-shotguns, full metal-jacketed bullets and 38 Special cartridges.
The National Rifle Association provides the following gun safety tips:
* Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction,
* Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. Place your finger on the trigger guard while holding the gun,
* Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use and keep the safety device engaged if possible,
* Know what your target is and beyond. Never fire in a direction in which there are people or the potential for a mishap,
* Know how to use the gun safely. Learn how the specific gun you are using operates.
* Be sure the gun is safe to operate and keep up regular maintenance to ensure its safety.
* Use only the correct ammunition for your gun,
* Wear eye and ear protection when appropriate to prevent bodily harm or hearing damage, and
* Never use alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while shooting as they impair judgment and your gun handling ability.
With the firearms license, hunters are held to a deer bag limit of one antlered deer per hunter. An antlered deer is defined as having one antler which is at least three-inches long. Once a deer is killed, it must be tagged. The individual must immediately take custody of the deer and take it to an official deer check station within 48 hours of the kill for registration.
Other licenses may also be obtained allowing for a higher limit of deer to be taken and tagged.
The DNR prohibits shining an artificial light while in possession of a firearm while hunting, using infrared sensors or electronic deer calls or to use bait or domesticated animals to take deer.
Legal deer hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half-hour after sunset.
For those who have questions about deer hunting regulations, call the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Deer Hotline at 812-334-3795, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday-Friday.