Patoka Sportsman 1-9-21

Patoka Sportsman 1-9 & 1-10-21

Indiana Conservation Officer Matthew Porter, who serves Vanderburgh County, has been selected as the 2020 District 7 Indiana Conservation Officer of the Year. He has served as a conservation officer for four years. Porter is a Boonville High School and Vincennes University graduate. His primary county of assignment is Vanderburgh County. In addition to patrol and education responsibilities, Porter also serves as a public safety diver. District 7 includes the counties of Vanderburgh, Posey, Warrick, Spencer, Gibson, Pike, Dubois, Knox, Daviess, and Martin. The district award puts Porter in the running for the Pitzer Award, which is given to the top overall conservation officer in Indiana and selected from the 10 district award winners. The Pitzer award is named after Indiana Conservation Officer James D. Pitzer, who was fatally shot while investigating illegal hunting activity on Jan. 2, 1961 in Jay County.

Habitat structures are valuable for anglers and fish! Besides being advantageous to anglers by congregating fish, structure provides food and shelter for fish. For the past two years, the central Indiana district fisheries office has improved structure in several smaller public impoundments through the placement of donated materials. To date, local home improvement stores have donated more than 300 unsold Christmas trees for use as fish structure. In 2020, these donations were used to create 72 fish habitat structures! These repurposed Christmas trees would have gone to a landfill if they hadn’t been donated, making this a win-win for business and the environment.

Please note that adding fish habitat structures to public waters requires a permit. (Indiana Code 14-26-2 and 312 IAC 11-4-7). Individuals cannot place Christmas trees into public waters without the permit. To locate a fishing area near you, see our recently updated Where to Fish Map: Find information about fish habitat structures you can install at your private pond or lake on the website:

In 2020, DNR began a gray fox research project in collaboration with the Wildlife Ecology Institute and Luther College. You can help make the project successful by reporting gray fox sightings. Gray foxes have brown legs and ear backs, and a black stripe down the top of their tail, as opposed to red foxes, which have black legs and ear backs, and usually a white tip on the tail. Learn more about the project and find a form to submit sightings online.

Fish community, water chemistry, and macroinvertebrate (water insect) sampling has concluded for the White River Mainstem Project. The project was a collaborative effort between the DNR, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and the Muncie Sanitary District's Bureau of Water Quality to sample the West Fork White River and White River mainstem from its headwaters to its confluence with the Wabash River.

Over 17,000 fish comprising 93 species were collected from the 62 fish sample stations. Some of the less commonly found species collected were the American eel, shovelnose sturgeon, mountain madtom, and harlequin darter. Sites will be evaluated using the Index of Biotic Integrity, which is a metric that represents the overall health of the fish community. Sites with more darters and minnows, sensitive species, and insect-eating fish receive higher scores, which indicate better environmental conditions.

Detailed information was collected on game fish species, including smallmouth bass, rock bass and catfish species. Several 18-plus inch smallmouth bass, 9-plus inch rock bass, and 25-plus inch channel catfish were collected during sampling. The largest fish collected was a 40-pound flathead catfish. Game fish information that is expected to come out next year will be incorporated into management reports on the Where to Fish Map.

For more information about the project and to view individual site information, please visit 2020 White River Mainstem Project story map.

Reserved spring turkey hunt applications opened on Jan. 4 and will close Feb. 22. No late entries will be accepted. The online method is the only way to apply. Applicants must possess a hunting license that is valid for the hunt for which they are applying. Even though there is no fee to apply, you must still add the registration to the cart, “Proceed to Checkout,” and “Place Order”. Applicants must place an order to complete the application process. Non-hunting partners who plan to call in turkeys must be properly licensed. Draw result notifications will be emailed within two weeks after the application deadline. All regulations and bag limits apply. Click here to begin your application and have your Customer ID handy.

The 2021 Indiana state park passes, lake permits, off-road cycling permits, and horse tags are now available at property offices and front gates, and online. A resident annual entrance pass costs $50. A non-resident annual entrance pass for visitors who live outside the state costs $70. Golden Hoosier Passports cost $25 and are available to all Hoosier residents 65 and older.

On Jan. 18, help celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by taking on the 5 gallon challenge at any DNR property across the state.
Bring a small bag or bucket to a DNR property and pick up trash as you enjoy your visit. Your small act of kindness will help keep public lands and waterways healthy and beautiful for people and wildlife. Find a property to visit on Jan. 18 at If you post a picture on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, tag Indiana DNR and use #bucketINtrashOUT to share your good work.

While many animals slow down during the winter months, some are becoming increasingly active. Coyote sightings are more common during wintertime, and other wildlife will be looking for warm places to seek shelter and feed. Individuals interested in learning more about living with wildlife, whether their intention is to dissuade wild animals from their backyard or invite them in, are encouraged to check out recorded webinars with DNR’s urban biologists.
Featured webinars include Living with Wildlife (Backyard Edition), which highlights ways to increase positive interactions with wildlife and help our wild neighbors. A two-part series on Building Backyard Habitat is also available to viewers. Individuals who have questions about wildlife in their area are always welcome to reach out to their district wildlife biologist.

Please consider donating to the Indiana Natural Resource Foundation’s year-end campaign. You can help ensure that public lands are accessible, critical habitats are preserved and protected, and educational opportunities are made available to cultivate future Hoosier conservationists.

As part of ongoing research with Purdue University, the DNR needs teeth from coyotes hunted or trapped during the regulated season. Teeth are needed from 30 Indiana counties including: Brown, Crawford, Floyd, Greene, Harrison, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Orange and Perry. The DNR needs several hundred coyote teeth to make this project successful. You can request teeth envelopes and an instruction sheet by emailing [email protected] or calling 812-822-3304.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources continues to adjust adjusted services, events and operations to protect Hoosiers and prevent further spread of COVID-19. Hoosiers should follow posted restrictions and practice social distancing. Every individual within the State of Indiana shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside public buildings and in outdoor public spaces where it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing. For exemptions and more information on the Governor’s Executive Order, please view the document .

All DNR properties, including state parks, inns and restaurants, state forests, fish & wildlife areas, nature preserves, state recreation areas are OPEN for the most part but there are some exceptions.