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Deer felled by .300 Blackout (courtesy

By Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana hunters harvested 123,664 deer during the 2015 season, according to newly released data. This is a 3 percent increase from the 120,073 deer taken during the 2014 season. The antlered deer harvest was 10 percent higher than the 2014 harvest, while the antlerless harvest was 1 percent lower than in 2014. The overall 2015 deer harvest ranks as the 10th highest in Indiana history. The 2015 antlerless deer harvest ranks 11th highest. For the first time, all harvested deer were checked in electronically . . .

Firearms season was the most productive, accounting for 72,555 deer, or 59 percent of the total harvest.

Archery season accounted for 32,753 deer, or 26 percent, followed by the muzzleloader season with 10,784 (9 percent), special antlerless firearms season with 5,105 (4 percent) and youth season with 2,467 (2 percent).

To view the full report online, click here.

The total number of deer taken with a firearm during the deer reduction zone season was incorporated with the firearms season total, while the total taken with archery equipment was included in the archery season total.

Harvest exceeded 1,000 deer in 58 counties, 2,000 in 17 counties and 3,000 in one county.

New Rifle Rules for 2016-17

The Department of Natural Resources has received numerous questions regarding recent legislation that legalizes certain rifles for deer hunting beginning later this year.

House Enrolled Act 1231 passed earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly allows some additional rifle cartridges to be used only on private land during the firearms season.

The new legal cartridges include, but are not limited to, the .243 Winchester, .30-30 Winchester, .300 AAC Blackout, and .30-06 Springfield.

Additional requirements are 1) The rifle must have a barrel length of at least 16 inches; 2) The rifle cartridges must have a cartridge case length of least 1.16 inches; 3) The rifle cartridge must fire a bullet with a diameter that is .243 inches; (or 6 mm) or .308 inches (or 7.62 mm); 4) No cartridges with a bullet diameter between .243 and .308 are legal (such as the .270 Winchester); and 5) A hunter may not possess more than 10 such cartridges while in the field.

Rifles with pistol cartridges that have been allowed in previous years may still be used to hunt deer on both private and public land.

Additional cartridges that are legal under HEA 1231 include, but are not limited to: 6mm-06,
6mm BR Remington,  6mm PPC,  6mm Remington, .240 Weatherby,  .243 Winchester,  .243 Winchester Super Short Magnum, .30 Carbine,  .30 Herrett,  .30 Remington AR,  .30-06 Springfield,  .30-30 Winchester,  .30-40 Krag,  .300 AAC Blackout (.300 Whisper),  .300 H&H Magnum,  .300 Remington Short Action Ultra Magnum,  .300 Savage,  .300 Weatherby Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 Winchester Short Magnum, .300 Remington Ultra Magnum,  .308 Marlin, .308 Winchester,  7.62x39mm,  7.62x54mmR,

There are other cartridges that meet the law’s specifications, and there are others that do not. A partial list of cartridges that are not allowed under HEA 1231 includes the .270 Winchester, .38-55 Winchester, .444 Marlin, and .45-70 Government.

HEA 1231 is scheduled to expire after the 2020 deer season, at which time the DNR will submit an impact report to the Governor and the General Assembly.

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  1. The really goofy part about the IN deer caliber laws is that if you’re using a pistol, then you can use just about anything you want as long as the barrel doesn’t exceed 14″ long. So technically speaking, you could use a 12″ 6.8SPC AR pistol, oh, and not have to deal with the 10 round limit as that applies only to rifles.

    Don’t you just love it when laws make sense…. :-/

  2. Wait…classic rounds like 30-30 Winchester and 30-06 Springfield weren’t allowed for deer before now?!

    Their rules suck.

        • Some states pretty much ban rifles outright. Either a pistol-caliber carbine (think .44 Mag, not 9mm), or slug gun.

          I think the idea is that higher velocity rounds can go that much further if they miss.

        • Are you not allowed to hunt out to longer ranges in Ohio or such places?

          I’ve only been to Ohio once and it was to chase a different kind of whitetail… *wink, wink*

    • That’s what I was wondering. You ask me what people use to shoot deer, and those are two of the first that spring to mind.

  3. What???

    What is the basis for the caliber restriction between .243 and 308?

    • Keeps a lot of the ARs out of the field, no 5.56 or .223. Virginia just says a rifle must be .23 cal or larger.
      I know .300blk,6.5 grendel, 6.8 SPC but remember the field and stream types who write these laws

      • Regardless of my opinion on the matter, the hunters of Indiana spoke out against any (including most of these) new rifle calibers being added, much the same overwhelming response as the last M855 ATF comment period.

        The fact that the legislature overruled DNR and allowed what they did is pretty good forward momentum.

      • Still doesn’t make sense. They could have said .243 or higher, and it would still keep 5.56/.223 illegal. But there’s zero sense in allowing .243 and .380, but not .270.

    • What really blows my mind is that the .30 carbine is totally legal even though it’s widely considered to be a marginal cartridge at best but the .270 Winchester, one of the best deer cartridges in existence is illegal

      • As sensible as government in general. The muzzles have already won, as all they’re fighting, are incoherent children.

  4. Growing up there I wasn’t as versed with the laws, but my understanding was it was slugs only. This was the late 80’s early 90’s. I still have my Mossberg 500 20ga from those days. I will take state-wide laws over the patchwork I deal with now in VA, I can use a rifle.(no 5.56) in one area but am limited to buckshot in another. I could Fudd it up and buy a rifle I shoot 10 times a year but instead I end up swapping barrels on the shotgun depending on the season.

  5. Still better than Ohio. We have a list of “approved rifle cartridges,” almost all of which are (magnum) pistol cartridges.

    • Sounds like Fudd Central… As a californian, you have my deepest sympathies and complete understanding of the idiots who make silly laws.

      • Sure. Even .357 is, for loads at the upper limit. Keep in mind that hot .357 out of a 16″ barrel can go faster than 2000 ft/s; and energy-wise, it starts getting close to .30-30 and 7.62×39.

        Of course, you still get the crappy pistol bullet BC, so this comparison is not nearly as favorable at even moderate distances… but in the brush? No problem.

        And then, of course, you can always upscale to .454 Casull – which beats 7.62×39 energy-wise at the muzzle by quite a bit even out of a revolver, much less a carbine.

  6. No hunting w/.243, .30-30, .270, or .30-06.

    That’s like the most un-American thing I’ve ever heard…

    • Seriously. after reading the article, I thought, “Wait, the fact that .300 BLK is legal is headline material, but legalization of .30-06 and .30-30 after 100+ years doesn’t make it above the fold? What the hell?”

    • Almost as un-American as not being able to hunt on Sundays (freakin’ PA)…

      So, the way I read this, my 7mm-08 BLR would be a no-no, but if I had a 7mm-08 Encore pistol, then no problem?

      Also, it’s OK if some unethical joker wants to hunt deer with a subsonic 300BLK, but 270 Win is right out?

    • Under those laws, ever deer I’ve ever shot would have been taken with an illegal caliber. wtf. .270 winchester is an outstanding deer hunting cartridge. Flat shooting with plenty of power. One of my best friends kills deer every year with a 25-06. .243 is the go to cartridge for youth, nothing beats a lever 30-30 for brush hunting, and I don’t think I even know anybody who doesn’t own a rifle in 30-06. Even fudds should be appalled at this.

  7. Nanny State
    They are this restrictive and you all haven’t revolted!?! WTF

  8. Finally, finally, finally….
    Being able to reach out for a middle of the corn field shot, with confidence to knock
    Down with energy, and not just with penetration, and a vital hit.. Never liked the idea
    Of taking 180lb deer with a shotgun slug….
    Common sense comes through!

  9. Crazy, here in CO you only need .24 caliber and up and can’t carry more than 5 in mag on semi-auto. I find it hard to believe they think .270 isn’t adequate. Ask the ghost of Jack O’Conner his thoughts on that one. Strange

    • It’s not that the thinking is that some cartridges are inadequate. The concern is that Indiana is very flat and relatively populated. The concern is that a cartridge like a .270 may result in more accidental shootings. I personally think this concern is unwarranted

      • But we can hunt other critters with any caliber we want.
        Ever see what people in Indiana use to kill off groundhogs and coyotes?

      • I had heard that once before and wondered if that was true. Thanks for validating that! I too think it’s unnecessary. A lot of game units here get slammed and it’s a rare occasion someone is shot outside of pure negligence. As proven over and over, laws can’t fix stupid.

    • Nothing less than .24 cal seems pretty common, but I don’t agree with this one, either.

      My hunting buddy’s teenage daughter downed her first buck two years ago with her .223. Exploded its heart and downed it where it stood – she is a beast.

      There are some fantastic .223 hunting loads out there.

      • The problem I see with that is people will undoubtedly try to take deer with some superlight 40gr coyote poppers, and this will leave a lot of wounded deer. Most people are always going to go for the minimum. I was doing some thinking, and I believe we (all states) should have a 6mm (.243, most “.25″ cartridges)-19.7mm (10 gauge) caliber range allowed for deer rifles and pistols, but cases must be at least 24mm, with exceptions to preclude the use of .30 Mauser/Tokarev, .38 Special, and .41 Special. No one is going to go nuts and use something larger than .45-70 or .338 Win Mag on a deer (I’ve heard of some people down-loading .338 Lapua, and Ohio has legalized .50-110, though), so we don’t have to worry about a maximum length. We could have a special provision for 69-85gr .223/5.56. I believe the 16″ rifle barrel minimum makes sense (for deer, but for hogs that is debatable), and a 4” handgun barrel minimum makes sense, but suppressors should be legal and the 10 rounds total thing is idiotic (10 round magazines make sense for hunting, but not 10 cartridges in total).

  10. I live and hunt in Indiana. About 10 years ago, the DNR here adopted a rule to allow deer hunting with a rifle in a pistol caliber. But the DNR based allowable cartridges on case dimensions. The original spec was a bullet of at least .357 and a case length of at least 1.16 inches and not more than 1.625 inches. Immediately, wildcatters took a .25WSSM, trimmed and necked it up to .358. Ballistically cartridges based on this concept can yield the same results as a .358 Winchester. I built one on a used Savage Model 16. I’m pushing a 200 grain FTX at 2400fps. Accuracy is exceptional. 5 rounds at 100 yards results in one ragged hole.
    The original rule has since been expanded twice. The 1st time to change the case length max to 1.8 inches. The more recent changes are reflected in the article above.
    Personally, I’m excited by the direction the rules are moving.
    2 years ago, hunting with suppressors became legal

    • Now that sounds like a great round! And good on em for allowing suppressors, we’re still waiting on that one. I was told once that rifles were so restricted out east due to population densities compared to the west. Basically don’t want a 7mm mag landing 4 counties over. Don’t know if that’s true or not.

  11. A partial list of cartridges that are not allowed under HEA 1231 includes the .270 Winchester, .38-55 Winchester, .444 Marlin, and .45-70 Government.
    Welcome to Indiana where the above cartridges are legal to hunt squirrels, but not deer.
    Go figure.
    Well…it has been worse in our Looney Tunes State as far as guns designated and used to kill deer. At least things are sort of going the right way.

  12. Luckily in free state MT we have no weapon restrictions at all. You can hunt deer all weekend long with 50 round drum mag in your .223 if that is what makes you happy.

  13. No 6.5×55 or 260 Remington(?), which are FAR better cartridges than .243. I know first-hand the 6.5 Swede completely owns the .243 when it comes to quick and clean kills on pigs (and deer too).

    Is it true to become a FUDD there is a mandatory cranial-rectal inversion?

    • Not much mass on the deer in Texas, either. Big antlers, but small frames.

      It cracks me up when I see folks whipping out their .300 Win Mag for a 100 yard shot on > 200lbs South Texas buck.

  14. The reason given for years for the restriction on caliber in Indiana is that it is a flat state and longer range calibers are dangerous when the target is missed. Pure FUDD, as the Southern half of Indiana is quite hilly and other flat states have had no issues with traditional rifle calibers.

  15. My .270 isn’t permitted on deer in Indiana? But a little .243 is? What’s wrong with these people?

  16. I have lived in Indiana all my life and have always detested the asinine laws for hunting and fishing. SERIOUSLY!!! We have some of the most backward and stupid laws for both hunting and alcohol of any state in this Republic. Imagine being at a baseball game and it is your turn to go get the beer for your buddies. But, you can’t carry more than 2 beers because the F-ing excise police are worried that you may get too drunk! Welcome to Freaking Indiana! Oh you have private land and a privet lake that you built and stock with your money, no excuse the Indiana DNR can walk onto your land and bother you or family members without a search warrant or just cause! It doesn’t matter if we put a D or R in Office because not a damn one of them gives three shits about your individual rights or separation of powers! Just taxes and redistribution that is all they care about.

  17. Most hunters think that doe estrous is the be-all and end-all of big buck attraction. Though estrous is a wonderful tool, it’s simply that. Wise hunters know that during the early-season it’s important to take advantage of a buck’s territorial instincts. The scent of an estrous doe during early October simply doesn’t make sense to a buck, but buck scent is always worth checking out. –

  18. Ok , WTF !!! I can’t use a real deer rife in 270 winchester cal, but some ass jack can use a damn asultrifle in 7.54×39 ? What is wrong with this picture?

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