Indiana New Rifle Regulations For Deer Hunting

posted Nov 3, 2016, 11:35 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated May 24, 2017, 12:01 PM ]
Still scratching your head over what’s legal and what isn’t in the new rifle regulations for deer hunting in Indiana this year?

Here are three questions that will guide you to the correct answers:
  1. Does the rifle have a barrel at least 16 inches long?
  2. Is the rifle chambered to fire a cartridge with a case length of at least 1.16 inches?
  3. Does that cartridge fire a bullet that is either .243 inches or .308 inches in diameter (or their metric equivalents, 6mm and 7.62mm, respectively)?
If the answer is yes to all three, then it’s legal under HEA 1231, a law passed earlier this year by the State Legislature.

If the answer is “no” to any of those three questions, it does not meet the HEA 1231 standards for new rifle options.

Remember: Bullet diameter, cartridge case length and barrel length are the determining factors of this law.

Any bullet smaller than .243 (6mm), larger than .308 (7.62mm), or in between .243 and .308 does not qualify. Neither does a cartridge with a case length that is less than 1.16 inches, or a rifle with a barrel shorter than 16 inches.

Here’s a twist, though. Some cartridges may appear to fall outside the allowable .243 and .308 requirements because of how they are labeled.

Take the .240 Weatherby Magnum, for instance. Disregard the .240 label because the bullet diameter actually is .243 inches and therefore legal to use.

Similarly, .30, .30-06 and .300-caliber cartridges are legal because their bullet diameters are .308 inches.

A few more points:
  • The new rifle options can be used only on private land.
  • Full-metal jacketed bullets are illegal.
  • A hunter can possess only 10 of these legal rounds while in the field.
  • There is no tree-stand requirement to use the new rifle options.
The new law does not change regulations previously approved for centerfire rifles chambered for so-called pistol cartridges. Those regulations allow for rifles chambered for cartridges that fire a bullet of .357-inch diameter or larger and have a case length of 1.16 inches to 1.8 inches. Unlike the new high-caliber rifle options, these can be used on private and public land to hunt deer.

If you still have questions about new rifle options for deer hunting, call (317) 232-4003 or (317) 232-4200.

For more information on deer hunting season check out the DNR: Indiana Deer Hunting page.