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Page last updated on September 21, 2021 at 9:10 am

For more information, please contact

Steve Cotter, Natural Resources Manager, City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, or 812-349-3736

Griffy Lake Deer Hunts Scheduled for Three Weekends in November

The City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department was awarded a Community Hunting Access Program (CHAP) grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to offset the cost of holding a deer hunt at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve over three weekends in November 2021.


Only hunters who have applied, and who have successfully passed a skill proficiency test, may participate in the deer hunt at Griffy Lake. Hunters were selected for this fall's hunt by White Buffalo, Inc., the contractor hired by the Department to administer the CHAP hunt. Griffy Lake Nature Preserve is not open to hunting outside the scheduled CHAP hunt weekends, or to any hunter who was not selected to participate.


The hunt, intended to protect biodiversity at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve, is scheduled to take place on the following weekends: November 13 and 14, November 20 and 21, and November 27 and 28.


The nature preserve will be closed to the public on these weekends, beginning at 11 p.m. on the Friday before the hunt through 5 a.m. the Monday after the hunt. 


The need to reduce the deer population was established by the Joint City of Bloomington-Monroe County Deer Task Force in their 2012 report "Common Ground: Toward Balance and Stewardship."  In addition, vegetation studies conducted at the Griffy Lake Nature Preserve over the past six years by the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department's natural resources management staff indicate a high level of deer browse pressure on native plant species. Vegetation monitoring results over the next several years will guide future deer management efforts.


The Parks and Recreation Department received a CHAP grant from the Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife for $25,000 to contract with White Buffalo, Inc. to administer this year’s hunt. White Buffalo, Inc. is a leading expert in population control of white-tailed deer in urban areas, and was selected to run the CHAP hunts at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve based on their familiarity with Midwestern forest ecosystems, their comprehensive understanding of the ecology of white-tailed deer, and their excellent safety record.


The Department contracted with White Buffalo for the first time in 2014 to conduct a sharpshoot to remove deer from the nature preserve, but the sharpshoot did not take place.  A sharpshoot conducted by White Buffalo, Inc. in late 2017 removed 62 deer from the property. A CHAP hunt scheduled for November 2018, also administered by White Buffalo, Inc., did not take place, after the hunt failed to draw the minimum number of hunters to apply to participate. CHAP hunts held in 2019 and 2020 removed 26 and 40 deer, respectively from Griffy Lake Nature Preserve.


White Buffalo, Inc. vetted, trained and will supervise the 43 hunters who successfully passed the proficiency screenings required to participate in this year's CHAP hunt. All hunters are assigned to specific hunting zones within the nature preserve, and must hunt from tree stands that are at least 12' high. 


Griffy Lake Nature Preserve is designated as a deer reduction zone (DRZ) by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Under DRZ regulations, each hunter is permitted to take up to one antlered and up to nine antlerless deer within the DRZ. Additional information about DMZs can be found online at the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife website.


"The goal of these hunts is to remove enough deer from the nature preserve to reduce deer browse pressure on understory plants and seedling trees to the point that these species are able to recover, and to continue reproducing within the preserve," Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department’s Natural Resources Manager Steve Cotter said. 


For more information about Griffy Lake Nature Preserve or the CHAP program, contact Steve Cotter, Bloomington Parks and Recreation Natural Resources Manager, at or 812-349-3736.