Patoka Sportsman 12-10-22

Patoka Sportsman 12-10 & 12-11-22

Monroe Lake will host a Winter Solstice Luminary Walk at Fairfax State Recreation Area on Wednesday, Dec. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. Walkers will stroll a path lit by luminaries around a field to celebrate and reflect on the winter solstice. Stops along the half-mile path will invite people to decorate a tree with wildlife-friendly ornaments, learn about winter solstice traditions, make a candle lantern, stargaze if the weather permits, and complete a winter scavenger hunt, among other activities. Dress for the weather and bring a flashlight. The walk is not recommended for those with mobility concerns, as the path is mostly on grass and has uneven areas. The entrance to the luminary path will close at 7:30 p.m. to ensure that all attendees are able to complete the walk by 8 p.m. The walk may be canceled if there are unsafe walking or travel conditions. Check the event page at for any updates. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own travel mug. The luminary walk and entrance to Fairfax SRA is free. There will be a donation box by the hot drinks station to support future activities at Monroe Lake. For more information contact the Paynetown Activity Center at 812-837-9967 or email Monroe Lake interpretive naturalist Jill Vance at [email protected].

The public is invited to cut up and remove certain downed trees at Lincoln State Park for firewood. Trees eligible for firewood have fallen as a result of natural causes or have been dropped by property staff. They are along roadsides or in public areas such as campsites and picnic areas. Permit sales and cutting are available now and go through Feb. 28.
The cost of one pickup-truck load is $10. All proceeds will be used for resource management and restoration efforts, including replacement of trees in campgrounds and other public areas. A firewood permit must be obtained for each load at Lincoln’s office between 8:45 a.m. and 3 p.m. CT. Permits are not available on observed state holidays. Firewood may be cut up to 30 feet from roadsides in designated areas; however, vehicles are not allowed off roads. The use of tractors, UTVs, and ATVs is prohibited. Wood may be cut and removed between 8:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday. For more information, call 812-937-4710. Firewood cut at Lincoln is for personal use only and cannot be sold.

The deadline for submitting Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) applications is Jan. 15, 2023. The LARE program strives to protect and enhance aquatic habitat for fish and wildlife while ensuring the continued usage of Indiana’s publicly accessible lakes, rivers, and streams. This is accomplished through measures that reduce nonpoint sediment and nutrient pollution. Technical and financial assistance for qualifying projects is provided to applicants through the LARE program. Qualifying projects can include logjam removal, streambank stabilization, and wetland creation, to name a few. To view a full list of qualifying project types, along with additional LARE information, see

Cross those hard-to-buy-for people off your shopping list in a snap by giving them a 2023 holiday gift pack from the DNR. A gift pack can be used the whole year, whether the recipient enjoys camping or sleeping in the comfort of an Indiana State Park Inn after enjoying the outdoors. The gift pack also saves you up to $31 over buying the items individually. A limited quantity of gift packs is available. The $99 gift pack includes a 2023 resident annual entrance permit, a one-year subscription to Outdoor Indiana magazine (six issues), and one of two $65 gift card options. One gift card option can be used at the campgrounds — another gift card option is a $65 State Park Inns gift card. You also have the option of upgrading either to $100 by paying $35 more. Indiana has 36 state park properties throughout the state. The entrance permit grants gate entrance for 2023 to all state park properties beginning Jan. 1. The inns gift card can be used at any State Park Inn, as well as at the award-winning Pete Dye-designed golf course at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis. The card can also be used for lodging, meals in the dining rooms, or gift purchases.

The camping gift card can be used toward the rental of campsites, cottages, group camps, recreation buildings, rent-a-camp cabins, shelters, youth and rally camps, and cabins (excluding inns-operated cabins). The camping gift card may also be used to purchase daily entrance, lake permits, horse tags, and any other items sold at gatehouses and park-operated stores and gift shops. The camping gift card cannot be used at any privately operated concessions, camp stores, marinas, or saddle barns. The offer is available through Dec. 31, 2022, or when sold out. Gift packs can be purchased only at

Patoka Lake will host its 35th annual eagle watch event on Jan. 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will include both indoor and outdoor activities. Indoors, see Patoka’s resident bald eagle and other raptors as interpretive naturalists Dana Reckelhoff and Wade LeHue share the birds’ story. There will be children’s activities from 12:40 to 2:30 p.m. Outdoors, join wildlife specialist Brian Finch on a driving tour of sites bald eagles frequent. Finch will talk about the history of the bald eagle reintroduction program in the 1980s, and lunch will be provided.The cost for this event is $25 per person. Advance registration is required by calling the Patoka Lake Nature Center at 812-685-2447. All reservations are final. No cancellations will be accepted. Dress for the weather and remember to bring binoculars, spotting scopes, and cameras. Make sure your car’s gas tank is full for the driving tour. This event is limited to the first 65 registered participants.

The 2023 year-long celebration of Indiana State Parks interpretive services’ 100th birthday starts with Clifty Falls State Park’s Winter Weekend Getaway, Jan. 6–8. Getaway weekends were popular during the 1980s. These naturalist-led special events combined recreational and interpretive activities. Activities for all ages at Clifty Falls’ getaway will follow that lead, exploring wildlife, geology, and the arts. 22 full-time, five part-time, and more than 50 seasonal interpretive naturalists and an interpretive manager work at state parks, reservoirs, and recreation areas across Indiana. To join the fun at the Clifty Falls getaway, call 812-273-0609 before Dec. 30. The registration fee is $30/person, which includes an owl canvas painting workshop on Jan. 8. For attendees who don’t want to attend, the registration fee is $20.
Clifty Inn is offering limited-time discounted room rates for getaway attendees who reserve before Dec. 9 by calling 877-563-4371 and using Group Code 0608WW. Registration for the event and a room at the inn must be done separately. For more event information visit or call 812-273-0609.

Other 100th anniversary celebration events are planned throughout the state. More details on those and on regularly scheduled events are at More about the history of “nature guides” is at

A free Indiana Hunter Education Course is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 20 and Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Dubois County 4-H Fairgrounds. Classes will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 20, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 21. Participants must attend both days to complete the course. Completion is required for anyone born after Dec. 31, 1986, to purchase an Indiana hunting license. All instruction will be by DNR conservation officers and certified Indiana volunteer hunters. The course will cover ethics, safety, laws, survival, and safe handling practices for archery, black powder, and firearms. Advance registration is required for the course and can be completed at There is a 150-student limit. This course is being sponsored by the Dubois County Shooting Sports Instructor Council. For more information, call Patoka Lake at 812-685-2447.

Hunting Seasons still open include:

Deer Muzzleloader: Dec. 3–18
Wild Turkey Fall Archery: Dec. 3, 2022–Jan. 1, 2023
Pheasant (Cock only): Closes Dec. 15
Dove: Dec. 17, 2022–Jan. 2, 2023

Crow: Dec. 13, 2022–March 1, 2023
Snipe: Closes Dec. 16
Quail (south of Interstate 74): Closes Jan. 10, 2023
Ducks (North Zone): Closes Dec. 11, reopens Dec. 26, 2022–Jan. 3, 2023

Seasons change but your fishing habits don’t have to—if you have the right equipment! As Indiana’s waters cool, you can turn your attention to ice fishing. If you plan to ice fish, be sure to put your safety first. Follow these tips for a safe and successful ice fishing season:

  • Fish with a partner so that someone can call for help in case of an emergency.
  • Carry ice picks to assist in pulling yourself out if you happen to fall through the ice.
  • Wear ice cleats to avoid slipping and falling on the ice and possibly getting hurt.
  • Tell others where you will be fishing and when you expect to be home.
  • Wear a flotation device and carry a rope in case of an emergency.

For more information on ice fishing, visit the DNR’s Fishing Guide. Looking for places to fish? Visit the DNR”s Where to Fish Map.

Indiana’s Deer harvest data as of 12/5/22 was at 112,109. We’re slightly ahead of last year when 112,481 total deer were harvested. Dubois County is slightly behind last year’s total of 1,826.

Indiana is in its second year of advanced walleye fingerling production. The fingerlings are raised at Cikana State Fish Hatchery (SFH) until they reach 1.5-2.0 inches in length. Then they are transferred to Fawn River SFH where the goal is to raise 30,000 each year, ranging in length from 6-8 inches.This year Fawn River SFH exceeded expectations and produced 42,104 walleye. Eighty percent of the fish measured 4 to 6 inches, while 17% exceeded 6 inches. Once the walleye were ready for release, hatchery staff stocked them in a total of 16 different bodies of water across northern Indiana. In the SFH, the walleye are able to mature without the threat of predation, which gives them time to outgrow predators. The walleye stockings increase their population as well as their survival rate. Their presence helps their ecosystem thrive.

Sugar Ridge Fish & Wildlife Area (FWA) welcomed two new pistol ranges in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the end of October. The new ranges, a 7-yard and a 10-yard, feature covered shooting stations, concrete pads to the target holders, and wire mesh dividers between shooting stations. In addition to these new ranges, the original ranges from 1983 have been upgraded to include sidewalks to all shooting shelters, target holders, fencing, and other necessary safety upgrades.

Because of the excise taxes on shooting equipment, shooting sports enthusiasts are integral to maintaining funding for habitat restoration, species management, and hunter and angler education. Sugar Ridge FWA welcomes all new and returning visitors to the updated range.

In September, DNR biologists found two species of salamander, the long-tailed salamander and southern two-lined salamander, in Knox County, marking the first time since the 1800s that either has been documented along the lower Wabash River.

While both species are more widespread in other parts of southern Indiana, the small, rocky streams they inhabit are less common along the lower Wabash. Following this discovery, additional surveys conducted in parts of Knox, Posey, and Sullivan counties revealed more populations of southern two-lined salamanders; however, Knox County contains the only known location of a long-tailed salamander population in the region.

Salamanders and other amphibian surveys conducted by DNR biologists are supported by the Nongame Wildlife Fund. Contributions to this fund support a variety of rare and endangered wildlife.

The Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund supports habitat management and conservation efforts for more than 160 species of greatest conservation need. Donations have helped support the recovery of the bald eagle and river otters, as well as the work to increase the numbers of osprey, barn owls, and Eastern hellbenders in the state. See below the kinds of tools and equipment your donation makes possible:

  • $10 – buys a band for a peregrine falcon so we can learn where they live and how long they survive
  • $50 – buys a handcrafted least tern decoy to use to attract these rare birds to safe nesting islands
  • $100 – buys a radio collar used to follow the success of a released Allegheny woodrat
  • $150 – buys a barn owl nest box to replace lost nesting habitat
  • $200 – buys a lake sturgeon transmitter used to find and protect their spawning habitat

These wildlife species and their habitats are essential to our quality of life, from improving environmental health to providing opportunities to see beautiful and unique animals across Indiana. Consider donating today.