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By KORI KAMRADT — County Reporter

Deer in the Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Preserve warily eye the cameraman this week.
As deer-hunting season begins, some LaPorte County hunters may be scrambling to find a generous landowner willing to let them trespass for a few hours.

There is another option.

Three public hunting areas in LaPorte County allow hunters to roam the areas for free:

(BULLET) Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area, 5344 S. Hupp Rd., LaPorte, which also houses the main office for all three public-access areas. It covers 7,120 acres and includes a shooting and archery range. Hunters must check in.

(BULLET) Fish Lake Wetland Conservation Area, off CR-925E just east of Fish Lake. It covers 240 acres; there is no mandatory check-in.

(BULLET) Galena Wetland Conservation Area, on Wilhelm Road just north of U.S. 20. It covers 165 acres; no mandatory check-in.

To hunt on these lands, a hunter must follow all state and local regulations, including some specifically for that site.

At all three LaPorte County public hunting areas, a person must have a valid hunting license as well as valid archery, firearm or muzzleloader licenses necessary during the respective seasons.

A hunter must also meet the fluorescent orange requirements while hunting for deer during firearms and muzzleloader seasons. A hunter must wear “hunter orange” as an outer garment at all times as a vest, coat, jacket, coveralls, hat or cap. Camouflage-patterned orange garments do not meet the requirements.

Hunters must also only bag only the allotted number of deer, which varies with the type of license obtained.

Immediately after killing a deer at one of the public sites, a hunter must notch the temporary transport tag provided with a deer-hunting license to indicate the sex of the deer and the month and day of the kill. Then, within 48 hours, the deer must be taken to an official deer-check station.

Annette Toth, assistant property manager at Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area, said hunters choose these public hunting areas over private property for many reasons.

“We specifically manage our property for hunting,” Toth said. “It’s free, and hunters know that every day they are able to come and hunt. They can also go back to the same place every year if they want to.”

The public hunting areas are open every day and hunters may hunt deer one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

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