The Great Outdoors


I’ve gotten a few questions concerning keeping wild animals as pets. Not knowing the law or even how to answer the question (I used to have wild pets when I was growing up like every other kid in school.) I turned to a copy of Outdoor Indiana for the answer.
Q – Every time we go on a hike, my daughter seems to find an animal she wants to keep as a pet. What is the law with respect to keeping animals found in the wild? Is there a general rule we can follow?
A – As a general rule, all wild animals in Indiana are protected and illegal to possess. The story of the Eastern Box Turtle is a good example of why this is important. Many of us can remember finding these turtles and keeping them as prized possessions when we were kids. Today, nationwide research reveals that populations of these turtles are less than what they should be. Regulations protect species, including the box turtle and others, from becoming threatened or endangered. While many of these animals look cute and cuddly, their wild instincts remain and could pose health risks to the collector. For more information call the Division of Law Enforcement at 1-(317)-232-4010.
Q – I live on a public lake and would like to build a dock so I can fish and have easy access to my boat. What are the laws concerning construction of this type?
A – Riparian owners are allowed to place a temporary structure in a public freshwater lake without a written license from the DNR as long as the structure meets the definition of a temporary structure and the general license conditions outlined in the Public freshwater Lake Rules, which can be found at dnr.INgov/water9400.htm under “Rules” by clicking on “Public Freshwater Lakes.” These rules are in place to ensure not only that the natural resources of the lake are protected, but also that the rights of the general public and all riparian owners are upheld.
The term ‘temporary’ structure means a structure that can be installed and removed from the waters of a public freshwater lake without using a crane, bulldozer, backhoe, or similar heavy or large machinery. The structure must either float or be supported by poles that rest on the lake bottom or by auger poles that screw into the bed of the lake and the poles are not to exceed 3 1/2 inches in diameter. The use of treated timber or concrete footings for pier support is prohibited.
(Riparian owner – person who owns land beside water)
Q – What can I do to support fish and wildlife in Indiana?
A – Buy a hunting/fishing license even if you don’t hunt or fish because:
Fish and wildlife management and public access are funded by fishing and hunting license revenue and also through the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Programs administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.These programs collect excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment, and motor boat fuels. The money is distributed among state fish and wildlife agencies based on land size and the number of licensed anglers and hunters in each state. Find out more information about fish and wildlife management in Indiana at