2010 Indiana DNR News

Site Updates:


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Reserved Hunt Opportunities at Deer Creek Fish and Wildlife Area

The Department of Natural Resources offers reservation hunts at Deer Creek Fish and Wildlife Area, as described below. Deer Creek FWA is in southwest Putnam County.

–DEER: Four-day hunts, Friday through Monday, except for three-day hunts at the end of firearms season and the beginning of muzzleloader/late archery seasons. Tree stands are legal, cannot penetrate the bark of the tree more than ½ inch, and must be removed at the end of the hunt. Tree stands must have hunter’s name, address and telephone number legibly visible from ground level. Fall turkeys may be taken by deer hunters who are legally licensed to kill a fall turkey during the fall turkey season as long as those hunters have not previously filled their fall turkey bag.

–QUAIL: Hunts are Saturdays only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hunts are in November and December. Hunting parties may consist of one or two hunters.

–RABBIT: Hunts are Saturdays only from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hunts are in November, December and January. Hunting parties may consist of one to four hunters.

Hunters can apply for each of these hunts online from now until Oct. 22, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. at www.Hunting.IN.gov. Click on the Reserved Hunt Registration link.

Hunters will be able to apply for up to three dates of their choice for each species. Hunters must have a valid license to hunt for that species in order to apply.

No first-come, first-served hunts for deer, quail and rabbit will be available at Deer Creek FWA.

Feds clear way for Atterbury land exchange

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service have released two documents that clear the way for completion of a land exchange that transfers 1,250 acres of Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area from the DNR to the Military Department of Indiana (MDI).

The documents are the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The EA/FONSI documents are available at www.in.gov/dnr/5902.htm or at www.fws.gov/midswest/News/index.cfm.

To compensate the DNR as required by the Pittman-Robertson Act and other federal laws, the DNR will receive 1,990 acres of land from the Indiana Department of Correction.

FWS and NPS have determined that the DOC replacement land near Putnamville in Putnam County has equal or better recreational value, equal or better wildlife value, and equal or better appraised value than what the DNR is releasing at Atterbury. Therefore, the FWS and NPS will approve the exchange once all compliance documents have been received.

FWS, NPS and the DNR made the draft EA available for public comment from Sept. 14-28. None of the comments received introduced new topics that need further analysis. Some supported the exchange, some opposed the exchange, but none based their opinions on regulatory concerns or factual disputes of data pertaining to the financial, recreational or conservation value analysis.

MDI will use the 1,250 acres it obtains from Atterbury FWA for barracks and office buildings. The DNR will continue to use management buildings located in that area until they are replaced with equal facilities using funding other than sport license fees and federal grants under the Pittman-Robertson Act.

The 1,990 acres in Putnam County will become Deer Creek Fish and Wildlife Area and open to the public for hunting, fishing and other wildlife-dependent activities beginning Oct. 29.

Deer hunters could see another big year

Hunters and non-hunters can help feed hungry Hoosiers

Back-to-back record years for Indiana deer hunters and the fact regulations are unchanged give DNR deer management biologist Chad Stewart reason to believe hunters are in for another banner year in 2010.

“I’m anticipating another top-five all-time harvest,” Stewart said. “I would not be surprised if we exceeded 130,000 total deer or achieved a new record.”

In 2009, hunters bagged a record 132,752 deer – 3,000 more than the previous high mark set in 2008.

Although hunters have had the opportunity to pursue deer in the urban zone season since Sept. 15, and during the youth two-day season Sept. 25 and 26, deer hunting begins in earnest when the early archery season opens statewide on Friday (Oct. 1).

“I’m anticipating a successful early archery season due to the early corn harvest,” Stewart said.

The early archery season accounted for 21 percent of the total harvest in 2009, or 27,818 deer.

The early archery season extends through Nov. 28. During this season, a hunter can take two deer – either an antlered and antlerless deer, or two antlerless deer – but a separate license is required for each deer taken.

Archery hunters also can purchase bonus antlerless permits designed to target female deer as a fundamental approach to controlling white-tailed deer populations. In addition to the basic bag limits, hunters can use bonus permits in any county. There is no statewide limit, but quotas are assigned to each county ranging from A to 8. Go to www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/files/fw-Bonus_Antlerless_Map.pdf to find a map showing bonus antlerless quotas by county.

Bonus antlerless licenses may not be used in an “A” county prior to Nov. 25.

Many Indiana DNR properties (e.g., fish and wildlife areas, state forests, recreation areas, reservoirs, etc.) do not allow use of bonus antlerless licenses because they receive sufficient hunting pressure to keep deer populations in check and do not require additional harvest of deer. Contact the property manager where you plan to hunt for information.

Feeding Indiana’s hungry

Nearly 118,000 Hoosiers receive emergency food assistance each week from a food pantry, soup kitchen, or other agency served by the member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc., the state food bank association.

Hunters and non-hunters can do something about it by supporting the Sportsman’s Benevolence Fund.

State legislators established the DNR-managed Sportsman’s Benevolence Fund in 2008 as a way of providing financial support to meat processors who accept hunter-donated deer that are packaged as ground venison and distributed to food banks around the state.

Hunters donated 1,100 deer last year to affiliated programs like Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (fhfh.org) for an estimated 55,000 pounds of venison, or enough for 220,000 quarter-pound servings of high-protein, low fat meat.

FHFH has organized nearly 50 participating meat processors this year. A list can be found at www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/6205.htm.

There are three ways to contribute to the SBF:

* Donate online at www.sbf.IN.gov * Purchase a $5 Sportsman’s Benevolence Fund commemorative pin (for a limited time, purchase of a 2010 pin includes a 2009 pin at no extra charge) * Make a voluntary $1 contribution when purchasing fishing, hunting or trapping licenses.

Requests for nature preserve hunt applications closing

Due to overwhelming response, the DNR will stop taking requests at 3:30 p.m. today (Thursday, Sept. 30) for applications to participate in management deer hunts at two northern Indiana nature preserves.

DNR officials received nearly 500 requests for applications in less than two days after the hunts were announced Tuesday. A drawing to fill the 40 spots available for the hunts is scheduled for Oct. 15.

Hunters can obtain an application by calling (574) 834-4461 until 3:30 p.m. today.

The hunts are planned at Big Chapman Lake Nature Preserve and Little Chapman Lake Nature Preserve and Wildlife Diversity Area. The properties are just north of Warsaw in Kosciusko County. Deer numbers are excessively high at both locations and over-browsing by deer threatens the long-term health of the properties.

The hunts will be Nov. 1-28 and Dec. 4-Jan. 2. The properties are not being opened to hunting in general. Hunting will be for deer only and limited to archery equipment.

Participating hunters will be selected by drawing for one of four two-week time slots. No more than 10 hunters will be given permits to hunt on the 298 acres of DNR property at any one time.

Deer hunts planned at two nature preserves

The Department of Natural Resources is planning a management deer hunt at Big Chapman Lake Nature Preserve and Little Chapman Lake Nature Preserve and Wildlife Diversity Area.

Deer numbers are excessively high at both locations and over-browsing by deer threatens the long-term health of the properties. These adjacent properties are just north of Warsaw in Kosciusko County.

The hunts will be Nov. 1-28 and Dec. 4-Jan. 2. The properties are not being opened to hunting in general. Hunting will be for deer only and limited to archery equipment.

Participating hunters will be selected by drawing for one of four two-week time slots. No more than 10 hunters will be given permits to hunt on the 298 acres of DNR property at any one time.

Future management hunts will be based on the results of this year's hunt.

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Applications available for Canada goose reductions at several state parks

Hunters interested in helping the DNR control the population of Canada geese at various DNR properties on selected dates in November and December can register now for a draw for spots to participate in reductions.

To be eligible, prospective hunters must register for the reserved hunts by completing an online application until Oct. 10 at www.IndianaOutdoor.IN.gov Individuals can apply for any park or set of dates listed below, as long as dates do not coincide.

Applicants and standby participants must be Indiana residents and 18 years of age by Nov. 8, and should have their hunting license number ready to enter in the application. Hunters must present a state waterfowl stamp, HIP number, and federal duck stamp on site on the day of the reduction, but do not need them to apply. Apprentice licenses are not applicable. Though Canada geese are the only harvest permitted, all state and federal laws pertaining to waterfowl hunting apply.

Successfully drawn hunters can participate in multiple two-day reduction hunts at Potato Creek, Chain O’Lakes, Shakamak, and Lincoln state parks or single, one-day reductions at Ouabache and Whitewater Memorial state parks.

The dates, as listed below, coincide with hunting seasons to optimize effectiveness. Other factors considered in determining dates included state and federal law, local flight patterns of geese and goose behavior.

Potato Creek.....Nov. 8/9 & 22/23.....Restricted

Ouabache.....Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, 17.....Closed

Chain O'Lakes......Nov. 18/19 & Dec. 1/2......Closed

Whitewater Memorial......Nov. 24, 27, Dec. 1, 4, 8, 15......Restricted

Shakamak......Dec. 11/12, 18/19, Jan. 8/9, Feb. 5/6, 12/13......Closed

Lincoln......Jan. 10/11 & 24/25......Closed

Participation will be determined by a drawing similar to other DNR waterfowl draws. Successful applicants can bring up to three individuals to hunt if they wish. These individuals do not have to be on the applicant’s application but must be Indiana residents who will be 18 years of age by Nov. 8.

Groups will be assigned to specific reduction areas. Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. A public standby drawing for eligible participants will occur each morning, 90 minutes before local sunrise, to fill spots not claimed by successful applicants by that time. Standby spots are often available – such participants greatly increase the success of the reductions. Questions regarding the standby drawing should be directed to the park of interest.

On their hunt days, Potato Creek and Whitewater Memorial state parks will limit public access – certain areas will be open only to participating hunters. On the Ouabache, Chain O’Lakes, Shakamak and Lincoln hunt days, those state parks will be accessible to drawn participants only.

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Special Youth Deer Hunting Season - Sept. 25 and 26

Last year’s youth weekend harvest was 1,687, a record that, according to deer biologist Chad Stewart, probably coincided with increasing the age restriction from under 16 to under 18, which happened for the first time last year.

Last year, 85 percent of the youth season harvest was female deer, with the remaining 15 percent being button bucks.

The first youth season was 2006. These seasons have been exclusively for antlerless only until this coming season. Youth season typically accounts for about 1% of the season’s total harvest.

More on the regulations:

– Youth under age 18 on the date of hunt can participate.

– Youth hunters can take either a buck or a doe; if a buck is taken, it is the only buck the youth hunter can take that year, except in an urban deer zone; a doe is in addition to all other antlerless deer that can be taken in the regular seasons.

– Resident youth will need a hunting license (apprentice or regular), such as the resident youth comprehensive hunting & trapping license or a comprehensive lifetime hunting license.

– Non-resident youth will need a non-resident youth deer hunting license—firearm, archery, muzzleloader, or bonus antlerless.

– An adult that is at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth hunter during this special season, be licensed to hunt (unless hunting on his/her own farmland), stay in close proximity to the youth while in the field, and not possess a bow and arrow, crossbow, or firearm, and not accompany more than 2 youth at a time in the field.

– Youth hunters must use legal equipment—archery, crossbow, shotgun, rifle or muzzleloader.

– Youth must follow all other deer hunting regulations.

Archery season starts Oct. 1 and runs through Nov. 28

– New changes allow archery equipment and firearms to be loaded, or capable of being fired, before and after lawful shooting hours.

– New changes allow legal archery equipment and a firearm to be possessed during the firearms season, as long as the person possesses both an archery and a firearms license.

– New changes also allow legal archery equipment and a muzzleloader to be possessed during the muzzleloader season, as long as the person possesses both an archery and a muzzleloader license.

– Crossbows can be used only in the late archery season (Dec. 4, 2010–Jan. 2, 2011), unless the hunter has a special disability permit

Urban Deer Zones

– New changes allow archery, extra archery, or bonus antlerless licenses to be used to hunt deer in an urban deer zone

– The city of Warsaw is now an urban deer zone in Kosciusko County.

– A hunter can take 4 antlerless deer (1 per license) or 3 antlerless deer and 1 antlered deer (1 per license) in an urban deer zone; these limits are in addition to the bonus county quotas and other season bag limits.

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Now for the whole-family DNR Experience, Sept. 18-19

Ready for the main course?

The State Fair was but an appetizer of free fun from the Department of Natural Resources.

It’s time to shift attention slightly north to the second annual Hoosier Outdoor Experience at Indianapolis’ Fort Harrison State Park, Sept. 18-19.

During last year’s inaugural Hoosier Outdoor Experience, 13,300 children and adults enjoyed trying more than 50 outdoor activities. These included various types of fishing.

Perhaps you watched your children or others fish at the DNR Fishin’ Pond at the fair. Perhaps you were one of the lucky adults who fished the pond with your child. In 24 days, it’ll be time for both children and adults to learn about—and try—different kinds of fishing. Free.

Even if you’re a veteran angler, you may not have tried some of these methods. Ever wanted to learn to fish with a bow and arrow? You can. Ever wanted to fly fish? You can. You can also learn about fly tying and how to successfully fish in Indiana from experts.

“If you ever wanted to learn about basic fishing, fly fishing or even bowfishing but weren’t sure how to get started, here’s your chance,” said Bill James, DNR’s chief of fisheries.

For bowfishing at the event, floating fish targets will be provided to add realism. Experienced volunteers will coach participants and ensure safety.

“If you’re looking for a unique hands-on experience at the Hoosier Outdoor Experience, be sure to stop by the bowfishing venue,” James said. “You might find you have a hidden talent that would make Robin Hood jealous.”

The Hoosier Outdoor Experience, which runs 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, is presented by the DNR and the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation. The goal is to introduce people to outdoor activities they may have never tried.

Fishing is just one of many free Outdoor Experiences at this family-friendly event. Others include hands-on target shooting, archery, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing and much more.

Activities will be organized in six stations—aquatics, cultural, equestrian, outdoors, shooting sports and wildlife. Shuttles will take participants from station to station.

Parking, admission, activities, demonstrations and seminars at the Hoosier Outdoor Experience are free to the public. Online advance registration is requested to assist with staffing and planning. To register, go to hoosieroutdoorexperience.IN.gov and click on the orange registration icon. Watch for event updates there or on Facebook at Facebook.com/HoosierOutdoorExperience.

Waterfowl hunting workshop at Lake Monroe, Oct. 9

People of all ages interested in learning more about waterfowl hunting should plan on heading to Lake Monroe for a free workshop on the subject on Oct. 9.

The workshop, which is being presented by the DNR, will be at the North Fork Service Area from 9 a.m.– 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

“Waterfowling parents are welcome to bring interested children to the workshop, but it is not intended to be a youth-only event,” said Adam Phelps, waterfowl biologist. “This workshop will be aimed at novice waterfowl hunters of any age.

“It can be daunting to start waterfowling, so we are planning to present the basics of the sport to those who want to try it or have only been hunting waterfowl for a few years at most.”

Phelps clarified that the event is not intended for experienced duck or goose hunters, who would be unlikely to gain much new information.

Subjects of presentations will include waterfowl hunting regulations; duck and goose identification; equipment; and techniques, including a “show and tell” segment.

“We will have a lot of equipment there for folks to see, including blinds, waders, clothing, decoys, gadgets, and a duck boat or two,” Phelps said, “but we want to stress that one can successfully hunt waterfowl with a minimum of outlay.”

DNR law enforcement personnel will be available to answer questions, as will personnel from several Fish and Wildlife Areas and reservoirs, as well as private lands biologists.

Advance registration is required


Biodiversity survey shows diversity at Goose Pond FWA

By the time a final species count at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area (FWA) is complete, more than 1,000 species are likely to have been found during the inaugural biodiversity survey at Indiana’s largest wetland restoration area.

Researchers at the 8,000-acre property south of Linton in southwest Indiana aimed to lay the groundwork for future studies.

Highlight species found include purple fringeless orchid, which is widespread and secure, but also on the Indiana watch list; American ruby spot dragonfly; bog lemming; and barn owl.

Researchers found the diversity of wetland plants present through natural recruitment impressive, since no wetland vegetation was planted at the beginning of the restoration.

Survey results showed 20 species of amphibians and reptiles, 79 species of beetles, 33 bee species, 124 bird species, 47 butterfly species, 22 species of dragonflies and damselflies, 41 moth species identified with 40 more still to be identified, four species of marsh flies, five fungi, and 375 vascular plant species.

The FWA was created under the Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and is the seventh largest such project in the country. It covers 7,138 acres in two sections, Goose Pond (5,945 acres) and Beehunter Marsh (1,193 acres), both of which are both part of Goose Pond FWA.

Reserved-Hunt Opportunities


2010 Youth Deer Hunt at Big Walnut Nature Preserve

A special youth deer hunt will take place at Big Walnut Nature Preserve, near Bainbridge, during the Youth Deer Season, which is Sept. 25 and 26, 2010.

Youth hunters may apply through the online reserved hunt system (www.hunting.IN.gov) beginning Aug. 23. The deadline to apply for this hunt is Sept. 3. Youth hunters must have a valid license to hunt deer to apply.

Successfully drawn hunters will be able to scout the property on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010 from 8 a.m. to noon. Successfully drawn hunters will be able to hunt on Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26. Hunting hours will be from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

The youth hunter must comply with all deer hunting regulations, including tagging the deer and checking it in to a deer check station within 48 hours of the take. The youth hunter and accompanying adult must wear hunter orange.

The youth hunter may use a legal firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow to take the deer, but may possess only one type of equipment to take a deer while in the field.

The accompanying adult cannot take a deer and may not possess a firearm, bow and arrow, etc., while in the field with the youth hunter.

Youth age 17 or younger on the date of the hunt, and accompanied by an adult of at least 18 years of age, can take one deer of either sex during this special youth deer season. If the youth hunter takes an antlerless deer during this season, it is in addition to any antlerless deer taken during any other season. If the youth hunter takes an antlered deer during this season, he or she may not take another antlered deer during the regular archery, firearm, or muzzleloader seasons.

More information regarding the hunt will be supplied to successfully drawn youth hunters. ---

2010 Waterfowl Draw Hunt

Reserved waterfowl hunts are held at Goose Pond, Hovey Lake, Kankakee, Kingsbury, LaSalle, and Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Areas, and at Brookeville and Monroe lakes. Hunters need a valid hunting license and can apply online beginning Aug. 23, and ending Sept. 24, 2010, at www.hunting.IN.gov.

Hunters can choose up to five property and date combinations. Successful hunters will be selected for one of their choices. Draw results will be posted online up to one week after the deadline to apply.


2010 Put-and-take pheasant hunt registrations

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources offers put-and-take hunting for ring-necked pheasants, Nov. 20-28, at Atterbury, Glendale, Pigeon River (west of SR 3), Tri-County, Willow Slough and Winamac Fish and Wildlife Areas and Roush Lake.

The hunts are $15 per person and the bag limit is two birds. Hunters need a valid hunting license to apply.

Hunters can reserve these pheasant hunts online beginning Sept. 1 at 12:01 a.m. until Nov. 27 at midnight, at: www.hunting.IN.gov.

Hunters will be able to select the date, property and property location for their hunt.

Early Migratory Bird 2010 Season Dates

The 2010 early migratory bird season dates have been submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Indiana DNR as listed below.

As in other years, these dates are not final until the USFWS approves them, which typically happens by the end of August. The season dates fall within the framework provided by USFWS, so no changes are anticipated. A later Wild Bulletin will notify you of approval or change.

Indiana’s requested seasons have never been altered by USFWS after submission; however, there is always the slight possibility of change; therefore, the dates below should not be interpreted as being final.

Bag limit, possession limit and licensing information is at hunting.IN.gov.

–Mourning Doves

Statewide, 15-bird bag/30-bird possession limit: Sept. 1–Oct. 17 & Nov. 5–27

–Sora Rails

Statewide, 25-bird bag/25-bird possession limit: Sept. 1–Nov. 9


Statewide, three-bird bag/six-bird possession limit: Oct. 15–Nov. 28

–Common Snipe

Statewide, eight-bird bag/16-bird possession limit: Sept. 1–Dec. 16

–September Teal

Statewide, four-bird bag/eight-bird possession limit, blue- and green-winged teal only: Sept. 4–19

–Canada Geese

Statewide, five-bird bag/10-bird possession limit: Sept. 1–15


Regular-season 2010 waterfowl season dates

The regular-season waterfowl dates, as proposed to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) by the Indiana DNR, are listed below. The dates are not final until approved by the USFWS in mid- to late September. Look for another Wild Bulletin around that time that will either confirm or amend these dates. Historically, they have been accepted as proposed.

–Ducks, coots, and mergansers:

North Zone: Oct. 16–Dec. 14
South Zone: Oct. 23–31 and Nov. 24, 2010–Jan. 13, 2011
Ohio River Zone: Oct. 30–31 and Nov. 27, 2010–Jan. 23, 2011

The bag limit is six ducks daily, including no more than four mallards (no more than two of which may be hens), three wood ducks, two pintails, two redheads, two scaup, one canvasback, one black duck, and one mottled duck. The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.

–Canada geese:

North Zone: Oct. 16–17 and Nov. 6, 2010–Jan. 16, 2011
South Zone: Oct. 23–31 and Nov. 24, 2010–Jan. 27, 2011
Ohio River Zone: Oct. 30–31, 2010 and Nov. 21, 2010–Jan. 31, 2011

Bag limit is two Canada geese daily; possession limit is four.

–Late Canada Goose Zone: Feb. 1–15, 2011

The late Canada Goose Zone includes the following counties: Adams, Allen, Boone, Clay, DeKalb, Elkhart, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Huntington, Johnson, Kosciusko, LaPorte, LaGrange, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Noble, Parke, St. Joseph, Shelby, Steuben, Starke, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo, Wells and Whitley. Special restrictions apply: a free permit is required.

Special Regulations: Terre Haute Subzone (Vermillion, Parke, Vigo, Clay, Sullivan, and Greene counties)

All birds harvested in the Terre Haute subzone during this special season must be checked at a state goose check station. Check-station locations and hours will be sent to participants with their permit, and will be available beginning in December at wildlife.IN.gov.

–Light geese and brant:

Statewide: Oct. 16, 2010–Jan. 28, 2011

Bag limit of 20 light geese (snow and/or Ross' geese) and one brant. Possession limit is two brant. There is no possession limit on light geese.

Light goose conservation order: Feb. 1–March 31, 2011, EXCEPT within the Late Canada Goose Zone: Feb. 16–March 31, 2011

No bag or possession limit. A free permit is required. Details will be available later in the winter.

–White-fronted geese

Nov. 6, 2010–Jan. 30, 2011

Bag limit of one white-fronted goose. Possession limit is two.

–Youth waterfowl hunt:

North Zone: Oct. 9–10, 2010
South Zone: Oct. 16–17, 2010
Ohio River Zone: Oct. 23–24, 2010

Bag and possession limits are the same as for the regular seasons. Season is open to youths 15 years of age or younger, accompanied by an adult.

–Extended Falconry:

Ducks, coots and mergansers:

North Zone: Sept. 27–30, 2010 and Feb. 14–March 10, 2011
South Zone: Oct. 16–22, 2010 and Feb. 17–March 10, 2011
Ohio River Zone: Oct. 23–29, 2010 and Feb. 17–March 10, 2011

Late Canada goose season will continue

The Late Canada Goose Zone season will continue. This season will be open Feb. 1-15, 2011, in the following counties: Adams, Allen, Boone, Clay, DeKalb, Elkhart, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Huntington, Johnson, Kosciusko, La Porte, LaGrange, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Noble, Parke, St. Joseph, Shelby, Starke, Steuben, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo, Wells and Whitley. During this season, hunters may take five Canada geese per day.

The evaluation of the late seasons for the past three years has shown that most of the state exceeds the 80 percent giant harvest required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for special late seasons; however, the Terre Haute subzone did not reach 80 percent. The Service has allowed Indiana DNR to continue the hunt in this subzone as long as we continue to evaluate harvest there. See below for special regulations in the Terre Haute subzone.

Hunters will still be required to obtain a special permit. However, only birds taken in the Terre Haute subzone (Vermillion, Parke, Vigo, Clay, Sullivan, and Greene counties) will need to be checked at a DNR check station. Details will be available later this winter.

In the Late Canada Goose Zone, the Light Goose Conservation Order does not open until Feb. 16, the day after the Late Canada Goose season closes.

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Spring turkey harvest best in 40 years

The 2010 harvest was the highest it’s been since spring turkey hunting began in 1970, with estimated hunter success rate of approximately 22 percent.

Hunters harvested 13,742 wild turkeys in 88 of the 92 counties, exceeding the previous high of 13,193, set in 2006, by 4 percent.

“Reasons for the increased harvest reflect a combination of general turkey population growth around the state, especially in northern counties, and the continual increase in hunter numbers,” said Steve Backs, DNR wildlife biologist.

The majority of the birds were harvested in the early part of the season during the early morning hours.

Juvenile and adult weights were slightly up compared to the mean weights of previous years. The proportion of juvenile turkeys in the harvest was 19 percent, with 54 percent being 2-year-olds, and 28 percent being 3-year-olds.

Last year, hunters reported seeing fewer jakes than in other years. That trend continued this year.

"We have had five years of below-normal production (i.e., since the high year of 2004) due generally to above normal precipitation during the critical early brood period of late May through June (i.e., Memorial Day through Independence Day),” Backs said.

The top 10 counties were Harrison (607), Switzerland (508), Jefferson (451), Dearborn (426), Warrick (368), Franklin (366), Marshall (363), Steuben (363), Perry (355) and Clark (347). Last year, Switzerland County topped the hunter success list with 530 turkeys, followed by Harrison (511) and Jefferson (447). There were 30 counties with harvests of more than 200 birds this year.

The south-central and southeastern regions supported 49 percent of the harvest, followed by northern Indiana at 23 percent. West-central Indiana has shown a decline since 2008, when extensive flooding likely reduced production success.

“Northern turkey populations are still generally in a growth phase following restoration in the 1990s,” Backs said. “Older populations in the south have generally leveled off or stabilized at what is frequently referred to as population-maintenance production levels.”

A total of 1,554 birds were taken during the youth-only weekend before the regular season. The 2010 youth harvest made up 11.3 percent of the total harvest and with a 59 percent increase over the 2009 youth season harvest.

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New funding pushes Wabashiki project closer to completion

The proposed 6,000-acre Wabashiki River Fish and Wildlife Area near Terre Haute moved a giant step closer to fruition with the March 10 announcement that the national Migratory Bird Conservation Commission has approved $1 million in federal funds toward the project.

The funding for Indiana, part of The Prairie Lakes Wetland Initiative, is half of the grant money approval that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced. The money awarded is aimed at protecting and restoring 7,107 acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat in Indiana and Iowa under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).

Indiana’s $1 million share in the federal funds and an additional $2,353,417 in partner contributions will support the Indiana project.

“This is a tremendous boost for recreational opportunities and the quality of life in Terre Haute and west central Indiana, said Robert E. Carter Jr., director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. “It’s a really unique project and goes a long way toward the goal of protecting 16 river miles of wildlife habitat right next door to one of Indiana’s larger cities.”

The grants were awarded to Ducks Unlimited under NAWCA’s U.S. Standard Grants and Mexico Grants Programs administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a Department of the Interior agency. The grants are funded by annual Congressional appropriations; fines, penalties and forfeitures levied under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; interest accrued on funds under the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act; and excise taxes paid on small engine fuels through the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Fund.

“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the IDNR and our other conservation partners, Ducks Unlimited is proud to secure this NAWCA grant on their behalf,” said Michael Sertle, Ducks Unlimited regional biologist, “and, we look forward to our continued partnership in the future creation of the new Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area.”

Wabashiki is the Miami Indian name for Indiana’s longest river, the Wabash.

Passed in 1989, NAWCA provides matching grants to organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Act was passed in part to support activities associated with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, an international agreement providing a strategy for the long-term protection of wetlands and associated upland habitats vital to waterfowl and other migratory birds in North America.

2009 Record Fish

There was only one Indiana state record broken in 2009. Paul Huber of Seymour caught a 32.25-inch bowfin that weighed 16.52 lbs. in Mutton Creek in Jackson County. The previous state record bowfin was caught in 1988 and weighed 16.0 lbs.

2009 Fish-of-the-Year

There were 54 entries for 2009 Fish-of-the-Year, of which 27 were accepted. The smallest was a 12-inch bluegill caught by Abby Byrer of Warsaw in Crystal Lake, and the largest was a 50-inch muskie caught by Edwin Van Cleave of Chicago in Big Barbee Lake. Bill Hudock of Michigan City and Joe Tackett of Claypool tied for the walleye Fish-of-the-Year, each catching walleyes measuring 31 inches. Also, Chris Terry of Noblesville caught a 22.75-inch smallmouth bass while fishing a retention pond in Hamilton County. River fishing accounted for eight of the 27 entries, six came from Lake Michigan, eight from other lakes, and five from private ponds.

Register now to “Become an Outdoors Woman”

Women who already love outdoor sports, would like to try them, or improve their ability to do them under expert supervision and instruction can do so at the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop, April 30-May 2, at Ross Camp in West Lafayette.

The 15th annual workshop is limited to the first 100 women, 18 years old or older, who register at www.indianabow.com/

The program is designed for women to learn outdoor skills in a relaxed, low-pressure environment. Activities range from shooting clay targets, paddling a canoe, catching a trophy bass, becoming a campfire gourmet cook, making a fur hat, and spotting rare wild birds, to learning to track deer.

Participants design their own outdoor experience to match their interests. The workshop is for women who have never tried these activities, but have hoped for an opportunity to learn; who have tried them but are beginners hoping to improve; or know how to do some of the activities, but would like to try new ones.

Women who enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded individuals and who you seek time away to reconnect with nature are also prime candidates for BOW.

Indiana youth turkey season, April 17 & 18

Indiana's 2010 youth turkey season takes place April 17 and 18. The special season is open to hunters age 17 or younger. Youth hunters are limited to one bearded or male wild turkey.

To participate, a youth hunter must be accompanied in the field at all times by an adult who is at least 18 years old and is not in possession of a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow. The adult does not need a hunting license, unless the youth is using an apprentice license. The youth must be properly licensed to take a wild turkey and comply with all tagging and check-in requirements. A list of check stations is available in the 2008-2009 Hunting and Trapping Guide or at www.wildlife.IN.gov. Legal equipment includes 10-, 12-, 16-, or 20-gauge shotguns, bow and arrow, or crossbow.

An apprentice license is available to youths who have yet to complete the requirement of hunter education. All persons, regardless of age, are limited to three apprentice licenses in their lifetime.

Youth turkey hunters killed 978 turkeys statewide during the 2009 youth season and 956 turkeys statewide during the 2008 youth season. The DNR is offering reserved youth turkey hunts at 21 DNR properties during the youth turkey season—Atterbury, Crosley, Glendale, Goose Pond, Hovey Lake, Jasper-Pulaski, Sugar Ridge, Kankakee, Kingsbury, LaSalle, Pigeon River, Tri-County, Minnehaha, Fairbanks Landing, Hillenbrand, Chinook, Winamac and Willow Slough fish and wildlife areas, as well as at Salamonie, Roush and Mississinewa lakes.

The hunts are limited. Youth hunters may be drawn for either or both hunt days, or not at all, depending on the number of applicants. Youth hunters, or an adult representing them, must register in person at the property of choice, March 15–26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Drawings will be held March 29. All applicants will be notified of drawing results by mail. Applicants may sign up for only one property. Those wanting to sign up for Fairbanks Landing, Chinook or Hillenbrand hunts may do so at Minnehaha FWA. Find DNR property contact information at http://www.in.gov/dnr/3233.htm.

Hunts run one-half hour before sunrise until noon at properties in the Central Time Zone, and one-half hour before sunrise until 1 p.m. on properties in the Eastern Time Zone.

New Outdoor Indiana magazine hits bookstands

Remember the massive fish kill in the White River? In this, the 10th anniversary year of that event, the March-April issue of Outdoor Indiana magazine, which will be on newsstands this week, shows how the recovery has made the river a fishing destination again.

It's just one of many articles you'll find nowhere else but in the latest issue of the DNR's 48-page full-color magazine, now in its 76th year. The issue also includes part I of a two-part series on the history of Fort Harrison State Park, from farm land to park land. Look for the picture of the river otters on the cover.

Subscriptions are $12 for a year (six issues) or $20 for two years. You also can ask for Outdoor Indiana at most Borders and Barnes and Noble stores in the state, and at DNR properties. Single copies sell for $3. To subscribe, or for more information, call (317) 233-3046 or go to OutdoorIndiana.org.

To become a fan of Outdoor Indiana magazine on Facebook see http://www.facebook.com/OutdoorIndiana. If you love the outdoors, you'll love Outdoor Indiana magazine.

Hunters push deer harvest to record number

Indiana deer hunters had unprecedented success during the 2009 seasons, shattering the previous state record by taking more than 130,000 deer for the first time in the 59-year history of the modern era.

Reports submitted from 453 check stations across Indiana placed the 2009 total at 132,752 deer – more than 3,000, or 2 percent, above the 2008 harvest of 129,748, which was the previous record.

“It’s kind of predictable any more,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer management biologist. “We’re going to have a record or near-record harvest every year unless things change.

“For a couple of years now we’ve had increased license sales. We’ve also had high unemployment. Maybe people have more time to be out. I wish I could say.”

One thing Stewart is sure of is there were no reports of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in 2009 after outbreaks the previous three years. EHD is an insect-borne virus that affects white-tailed deer. It is transmitted by biting insects called midges. EHD is not transmitted to humans and is not normally found in domestic animals.

“That means going into the season there were more deer on the ground available to hunters rather than disease getting them first,” Stewart said.

The full season report can be viewed at http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/files/fw-2009_Deer_Season_Summary.pdf.

The 2009 total was bolstered by a record 79,771 antlerless deer, 60 percent of the harvest.

The hunting season began in urban deer zones on Sept.15, followed by a two-day youth only weekend (Sept. 26-27) and the early archery (Oct. 1-Nov. 29), firearms (Nov. 14-29), muzzleloader (Dec. 5-20) and late archery (Dec. 5 to Jan. 3) segments.

Adult males (antlered bucks) made up 40 percent of the total, of which 64 percent were 2.5 years old or older.

Hunters found the most success in the northeast corner of the state, where Steuben, Kosciusko and Noble counties ranked first, second and fourth, respectively.

Steuben hunters bagged 4,102 deer to mark the fifth straight year that county has led the state. It also was the first time any county topped the 4,000 mark in a single year. Kosciusko recorded 3,652 deer, followed by Switzerland with 3,223; Noble, 3,086; and Franklin, 3,063.

Modern-era records were set in 33 counties, and another 22 counties showed harvest increases from the 2008 season. Harvest totals declined in 36 counties compared to 2008.

Compiling the data is a lengthy process that begins in October when check stations are supplied envelopes for returning pink carbon copies of hunter-reported deer. Some stations submit reports on a weekly basis as requested; a few wait until the end of the season to return the information at one time.

DNR staff members in the Bloomington field office enter the early data, but the volume increases dramatically once the firearms season begins and additional staff from other locations is called upon to assist in entering everything from tag numbers assigned to reported deer to the sex and age of the deer, equipment used by the hunter, and the county where the deer was taken.

The information is merged into one data base in early to mid-February. The pink carbon copies are sorted by county and stored in Bloomington for three years. The data base is then checked for accurate spelling and to ensure there are no duplicate tag entries.

“That’s when my work really begins,” Stewart said. “It takes a couple of weeks to analyze the information and prepare the final report.”

The 2009 season also gave the DNR an opportunity to continue its ongoing surveillance for signs of chronic wasting disease in deer. Testing failed to detect CWD in tissue samples collected from 835 deer and has not been found in more than 11,000 specimens tested since 2002. CWD is a brain-wasting disease that is fatal to deer. It has been reported in deer in Wisconsin, Illinois, Virginia, West Virginia and several other states.

The DNR also began surveillance for bovine tuberculosis by collecting tissue samples from 431 hunter harvested deer from Franklin, Harrison and Wayne counties. The DNR is awaiting results of testing on those samples from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.

DNR to present Canada goose management seminars next month

If Canada geese have become a problem on your property, attend one of six seminars being presented in March by the Department of Natural Resources' Urban Wildlife Project.

The seminars will cover various aspects of Canada goose management, including relevant laws, basic biology, and methods to control goose damage. A demonstration on the proper techniques for egg and nest destruction will follow. Adhering to proper techniques is vital—if eggs are broken or completely removed from nests, the females will just lay another clutch of eggs.

The population of Canada geese in the Mississippi Flyway exceeds 1.5 million birds. Destroying eggs and nests in urban areas is helpful in controlling these numbers in areas where hunting cannot, which can reduce conflicts with people and Canada geese.

Federal rules allow landowners properly registered at https://epermits.fws.gov/eRCGR/geSI.aspx to complete Canada goose egg and nest destruction on their own property. Registrants must provide a summary report of their Canada goose nest destruction activities to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Oct. 31. Failure to report can result in privileges being revoked for the forthcoming year.

The first seminar is March 8 at the Community Center in Clarksville. Seminars also will be held March 10 at Recreation Building 701 inside Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis, and on March 11 at the Delaware County Fairground’s Heartland Hall in Muncie.

Other opportunities to attend the seminar will be March 22, at the Salomon Farm Visitors Center in Fort Wayne; March 23, at the Potato Creek State Park Nature Center near North Liberty; and March 24 at the Lake County Extension Service Office in Crown Point. All seminars run from 9:30 a.m. to approximately noon. All interested landowners, managers of corporate campuses, golf course or park employees, and the general public are invited.

The classes are free, and no registration is required.

Fish and Wildlife management and public access in Indiana is funded by fishing and hunting license revenue and also through the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. This program collects 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 wildlife.IN.gov.

Experimental February goose season to be continued

The final year of a three-year experimental hunting season aimed at controlling breeding populations of resident Canada geese around urban areas of Indiana has been authorized for selected counties.

Season dates are Feb. 1-15 in the following counties: Adams, Allen, Boone, Clay, DeKalb, Elkhart, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Huntington, Johnson, Kosciusko, LaGrange, LaPorte, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Noble, Parke, Shelby, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo, Wells and Whitley.

To participate, hunters must have a valid hunting license, Indiana waterfowl stamp, signed federal duck stamp, a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, and a free permit from the DNR. The free permit is available at www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/, by phone (317-232-4200), or at any state fish and wildlife area, field office, or reservoir during regular business hours in January.

Ordering online allows the customer to print a permit at the time of order and saves postage costs. Hunters can minimize time online by not waiting until the last minute to apply.

DNR waterfowl biologist Adam Phelps said overall response from hunters remains positive, and that adding an online permit application last year helped, as did adding several check stations.

Phelps said nearly 3,000 of the 4,000 hunters who registered for the 2009 special season participated and reported taking an estimated 6,300 Canada geese. The two-year total for the February season is more than 11,000 geese.

Hunters must report all harvested geese to a check station. Geese must have the head, a fully feathered wing, and reproductive parts still attached when the bird is checked. Check station staff will age and identify the sex of each bird, and will remove and keep the head of all adult birds checked.

Data collected from these heads are used to help determine if the late season will continue in future years. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines require that at least 80 percent of the geese harvested during the three-year experimental period must be the giant subspecies of Canada goose – the goose that commonly breeds in Indiana and surrounding states.

“If we remain over 80 percent giants across all three years, we will ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to grant operational status to the season,” Phelps said. “This means that birds would no longer need to be checked and no permit would be needed to hunt.”

Even if Indiana meets federal guidelines that qualify for extension, the season may be closed in future years if local Canada goose populations are reduced too much.

The bag limit for the experimental season is five Canada geese per day, with a possession limit of 10. Shooting hours are from a half-hour before sunrise to sunset.

The temporary rule that establishes the late Canada goose season also authorizes a special late season for two light goose species – Ross’ and snow. During the last 30 years, populations of both species have nearly quadrupled, resulting in severe degradation of their breeding grounds. Hunters do not need a Federal duck stamp or HIP number to take snow or Ross’ geese in this special season.

Federal regulations prohibit the Late Canada Goose and Light Goose special seasons being open at the same time.

As a result, the Light Goose season will be Feb. 16 to March 31 in the 30 counties designated for the Late Canada Goose season, and Feb. 1 to March 31 in all other counties.

Round Lake project starting, property closing temporarily

A much-awaited construction project will start this week at Round Lake Wetland Conservation Area in Starke County, temporarily closing the facility to the public.

The 140-acre property is managed by Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area.

A permanent water control structure and low-head berm will be built under the direction of the DNR. The goal is to raise the water to the determined legal lake level and restore the surrounding wetland habitat. The closure will last approximately three months but is weather dependent.

Weekends only at Atterbury public shooting range

The Atterbury public shooting range is now only open on weekends. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Atterbury is currently seeking a new concessionaire to run the range. Until the role is filled, property personnel and volunteers are conducting weekend operations.

Established fees remain the same. The hourly rate on the rifle-pistol range is $7 for the first hour, and $5 for each additional hour. A round of trap or skeet on the shotgun range is $6 per round. Existing annual passes are being honored.

Cash or checks, with proper identification, are accepted. Credit and debit cards are not accepted. There are no concessions (merchandise, soft drinks, etc.) at this time.

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