October 24, 2007
100 Best Public-Land Hunts: Indiana
By Scott Bestul
Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area
Location: northwest Indiana
Size: 7,100 acres
"Kingsbury has been a premiere deer-hunting destination in northwest Indiana for many years," Reiter says of this former munitions plant site near heavily urbanized areas in the prairie country near Lake Michigan. That's largely due to a fairly extensive area of disposed ordnance that's off limits to hunters but wide open sanctuary for deer. "That contributes to keeping the deer population higher and allowing bigger animals to survive later than usual on public land," Reiter says, "and Kingsbury still produces some pretty big deer occasionally." The habitat includes restored native prairie grasses like big bluestem and switch grass, some marshland and thick brush, and leased croplands that help deer survive the winter.
Crosley and Splinter Ridge Fish and Wildlife Areas
Location: southeast Indiana
Size: 6,688 combined acres
Only 10 miles apart, Crosley and Splinter Ridge offer excellent oak-hickory deer habitat in the eastern hardwood forest landscape that dominates this part of the state. Wooded rolling hills make up about 80 percent of Crosley's 2,460 acres, which also feature 13 ponds and seven miles of the Muscatatuck River. Splinter Ridge's steeper hillsides make for tougher hiking across its 4,228 acres, and rolling hayfields and brushy cover provide shelter and some additional food for deer. A shortage of green browse and agriculture crops on both areas means that a good mast year is essential to hunting success.