LAKE JAMES — Pokagon State Park and Trine State Recreation Area as well as many others across the state will close temporarily for controlled deer management hunts in the coming weeks.

Each hunt runs two days. The first hunt is on Monday and Tuesday. The second is on Monday, Nov. 29, and Tuesday, Nov. 30. The participating state park properties will close to the general public on the evening before each of the two hunts.

Participating state park properties are: Chain O’Lakes, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, Ouabache, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe River, Turkey Run, Versailles, and Whitewater Memorial state parks, as well as Cave River Valley Natural Area and Trine State Recreation Area.

These state park properties will re-open the morning after each two-day hunt. All other Indiana state park properties will be open and operate under normal hours.

Indiana DNR biologists evaluate which state park properties require a deer management hunt each year based on habitat recovery and previous harvest rates at each park. The state parks are home to numerous natural communities that serve as significant habitat. The deer management hunts help control browsing by deer to a level that ensures habitat for native plants and animals.

“Though there is year-to-year variation in harvest per effort, statistics continue to illustrate overall success for the deer management program. The program has performed well at coming closer to target harvest levels in the previous few years with 2020 showing overall average harvest metrics,” said a DNR report compiled after last year’s hunt.

Only individuals selected from the draw may participate at any site.

A full report on the 2020 deer management hunts is at https://bit.ly/3C6THke. The 2021 report will be available in March 2022.

Last year there were 39 deer harvested at Pokagon. The first hunt at Pokagon was held in 1995 and significantly reduced an unhealthy deer population. Subsequent hunts over the years has helped the park and others across the state regain an ecological balance.

Information regarding 2022 state park deer management hunts, including online applications, will be available next summer at on.IN.gov/reservedhunt. The application deadline is usually in mid-August of the year in which the hunts are to take place.

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