Controlled deer reduction hunts happening across Indiana

Controlled deer reduction hunts happening across Indiana
Clifty Falls Naturalist Brad Kessans (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Clifty Falls Naturalist Brad Kessans (Source: WAVE 3 News)

MADISON, IN (WAVE) – It may be a problem you've noticed either around your home or even on busy interstates. Deer dashing out and prompting drivers to be on extra high alert lately.

In order to control the overpopulation, reduction hunts are going on all across the Hoosier state.

Clifty Falls is one of the 18 parks chosen statewide. Hunters who applied were picked through a lottery to participate in these reduction efforts, which the Indiana Department of Natural Resources says helps maintain animal and plant habitat in the end.

"I see a lot of pretty sunrises and a lot of pretty sunsets," hunter Greg Withered said.

Withered has participated in the majority of the last 17 deer reductions held at Clifty Falls.

"The first year we had a hunt here, there was so many deer, it was unbelievable and it really needs to be done," Withered said.

By Monday afternoon, he brought in a buck and a doe. Over the two day time period hunters are allowed three deer, but only one can be male.

"This is not for a trophy hunt, this is for those that would like some meat and also for those believe in our mission and goal," Clifty Falls Naturalist Brad Kessans said.

Kessans said these events are important and needed to help control not only the deer population, but endangered plant species as well. A sign a reduction is necessary is when a deer's size is stunted.

"Disease can form in the herds whenever they are overpopulated, starvation can occur, so it's really to manage the deer population, but in turn manage the ecosystem also," Kessans said.

He also pointed out the predators deer used to have in 1800s aren't around anymore.

"People have to think before European settlement, we had timber wolves here, we had mountain lion here," Kessans said.

Clifty Falls allows archery only during its hunts.

At Charlestown State Park, hunters like Travis Andres had to option to use a bow or firearm. He said he plans to donate a portion of his meat to Hunters for the Hungry.

Withered said he will process his own deer and call it a day.

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"I ended up actually seeing five more, but as far back as I was, two is good enough for today," Withered said. "I'll try to get one again tomorrow."

The parks will be closed to the public, and only approved hunters will be allowed to participate during the dates of Nov. 14 and 15, and Nov. 28 and 29.

The parks will reopen the morning after each two-day reduction.

Information on 2017 state park deer reduction hunts, including online applications, will be available next summer on DNR's website. The application deadline is usually the end of August.

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