History of Fish and Wildlife
1901 - First Indiana hunting license sold for $1
1913 - Original fishing license added to hunting license, still $1
1919 – Department of Conservation (DOC) established with 5 divisions:
In 1919 the Division of Fish and Game included 39 employees, of which 27 were game wardens. The main focus of division was to increase hunting opportunities through the purchase of land.
Shortly after the turn of the century- 3,000 sportsmen’s clubs in Indiana totaled a membership of more than 300,000. These organizations rallied the State Legislature into action to purchase land for Wildlife. Properties such as the
Brown County Game Preserve and the Jasper County Game Reservation were the direct results of these efforts.
Picture at right: Trapping and relocation of white-tailed deer to expand the population.
Today, a diversity of recreation enthusiasts of all ages enjoys hunting and fishing opportunities statewide with:
- 330 Public Access Sites
- 130,000 acres for wildlife management
- 22 Fish and Wildlife Areas
The quest for additional wildlife habitat is an ongoing process thanks to the original efforts of Indiana’s sportsman’s organizations. See how you can help.
Click here for more Department of Natural Resources History
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Fish and Wildlife Sections
Fisheries Section Information
Fisheries Management (Six districts)
Inventory and assessment of public lakes and streams
Development and implementation of actions for better fishing
Private waters consultation
Permits for aquatic vegetation, fish stocking, tournaments
Lake Michigan (Interjurisdictional)
Big Rivers (Interjurisdictional)
Inland lakes and streams
Environmental Permitting and Technical Consultation
Public freshwater lakes (seawalls, beaches, other shoreline alterations)
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licenses and projects
Site acquisition, construction, and maintenance
Wildlife habitat projects
Construction assistance to properties
Aquatic Invasive Species
Eradication of Identified Invasives (Hydrilla, Brazilian Elodea, Parrotfeather)
Regional and national program coordination
Asian carp control
Fish kill response
Natural resource damage review/consultation
Participation in National Fish Habitat Action Plans
Permitting guidelines and science
Response to habitat issues and opportunities
Lake and River Enhancement
Diagnostic and engineering feasibility studies, project design/construction
Watershed land treatment projects
Sediment removal from lakes
Invasive species control in lakes
Wildlife Section Information
Manage around 13,000 acres of wildlife habitat
Manage 21 Fish and Wildlife Areas
Manage FWAs for quality hunting, fishing, trapping, and recreational shooting opportunities
Provide techninal and financial resources for wildlife habiat improvements on private lands
District Biologists (15 statewide)
Provide landowners with wildlife population management
Monitor gam populations
Monitor wildlife diseases
Management and conservation of over 750 nongame and endangered species
- Project WET-Water Education for Teachers
- GoFishIN-to expose students to fishing.
- Project WILD-Wildlife education
- Hoosier Outdoor Heritage-to expose students to nature and the outdoors
Since 2006, the Fishin' Pond at the Indiana State Fairgrounds provides thousands of young visitors the opportunity to experience fishing. Many for the first time in their life.
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Our mission is to professionally manage Indiana's fish and wildlife for present and future generations, balancing ecological, recreational, and economic benefits.
Indiana statute defines the authority and responsibilities of the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife:
The [Division of Fish & Wildlife] shall . . . provide for the protection, reproduction, care, management, survival and regulation of wild animal populations regardless of whether the wild animals are present on public or private property . . . [and] Organize and pursue a program of research and management of wild animals that will serve the best interests of the resources and the people of Indiana.
(Indiana Code Title 14, Article 22, Chapter 2, Section 3)
- Fish and wildlife resources belong to all the people of Indiana.
- Regulated hunting, fishing and trapping are important wildlife management tools.
- Professional management is essential to the long-term welfare of fish and wildlife resources.
- Fish and wildlife resources enrich the quality of human life.
- Fish and wildlife resources are renewable and when wisely managed, will indefinitely provide numerous public benefits such as hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife viewing.
- Stewardship of fish and wildlife resources is a shared responsibility between resource managers and the citizens of Indiana.
- Public participation is essential for effective resource management.
- Regulated hunting, fishing and trapping are legitimate pursuits when conducted in fair chase.
- Hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife conservation are vital parts of our heritage.
- The mission and values of the Division of Fish & Wildlife provide a foundation for the following targets:
- Protect aquatic and terrestrial habitat for all wildlife species through initiatives such as land acquisition, conservation easements, reserve programs (2002 Farm Bill), partnerships, improved land use and educational strategies.
- Use proactive marketing strategies to increase the sale of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses, and to communicate and educate the public on the importance of fish and wildlife management and conservation programs.
- Increase the capabilities of the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program commensurate with new federal funding opportunities.
- Develop solid, landscape-level biological information and utilize that information to communicate the importance of active management for all wildlife species.
- Improve opportunities for the hunting, fishing and trapping public to enjoy their traditional pursuits.
- Establish protocols to address invasive species and wildlife disease issues.
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