Patoka Sportsman 12-25-21

Patoka Sportsman 12-25 & 12-26-21

For the first time since 2006, Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) has increased fees for hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses. Commercial license fees also increase, some for the first time since the 1980s.
The increases will be applied to personal licenses starting with the 2022-2023 license year (April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023) that will go on sale in January. The fee increase does not affect licenses for the remainder of the 2021-2022 license year (April 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022), even if those licenses are purchased after Jan. 1.
The new fees allow DFW to maintain core programs including habitat restoration, maintenance of public lands, scientific research and education, and expansion of other services to manage Indiana’s fish and wildlife for everyone to enjoy. Funds will also go to the DNR Division of Law Enforcement to ensure it is equipped to provide public safety and enforce the laws governing natural resources. The new license prices were determined by comparing license fees among other Midwestern states and balancing the rising costs of resource management. More information on these changes, including a full list of the new fees, can be found here:

With the inevitable upcoming drop in temperatures across the state, Indiana Conservation Officers advise Hoosiers and visitors of the potential hazards of being on frozen lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams.

It’s also important to keep a watchful eye for other people who may venture out on neighborhood retention ponds, lakes and other waterways and find themselves in trouble.

Every winter, thousands of Hoosiers safely enjoy fishing, skating, hiking, or just sliding around on frozen ponds and lakes. And every year, people drown after falling through ice. Don’t let this happen to you or yours.

Similar to driving differently on snowy versus clear roads, being able to safely have fun on ice may require adjusting from what you have done in the past. When thinking about getting on the ice, put safety first. Believe it is thin ice unless proven otherwise.

Here are a few tips to remember when considering standing on or walking on a frozen body of water:

  • No ice is safe ice.
  • Test the thickness of the ice with an ice auger. At least 4 inches of ice is recommended for ice fishing; 5 inches is recommended for snowmobiling.
  • If you don’t know the thickness of the ice, don‘t go on it.
  • Wear a life jacket or flotation coat.
  • Carry ice hooks and rope gear.
  • Before going on the ice, leave a note of your whereabouts with a friend or family member.
  • Don’t test the thickness of the ice while alone.

Wearing a life jacket is especially important when on ice. If you fall through, a life jacket will keep your head above the water until help arrives.

Remember that a new coating of snow, while perhaps beautiful, can make for treacherous ice conditions. Snow can serve as insulation, causing water to freeze at a slower rate. When snow and rain freeze into ice, it is not as strong as solid, clear ice.

Another potentially dangerous situation is when you see a pet or other animal in distress on the ice. If that happens, do not go after it. Instead, contact local emergency response personnel, who are equipped to make a rescue.

A few more tips:

  • Some bodies of water can appear to be frozen solid but have thin ice in several potentially unexpected areas.
  • Flowing water, such as rivers and streams, should be avoided when covered by a layer of ice.
  • Similarly, water that is surrounded by sand may freeze with inconsistencies in the thickness of the ice.
  • Underground springs, wind, waterfowl, and other animals can also keep areas of ice thin.

Enjoy the winter weather but make safety a priority.

Landowners interested in developing wildlife habitat can take advantage of winter conditions to improve their property’s resources. For those who started preparing sites for seed-to-soil contact in fall, our biologists recommend waiting until a thin layer of snow is on the ground before starting winter seeding. The snow will make it easy to see where seeds have already been spread, reducing waste. Now is also a great time to gather limbs and other downed material to create brush piles, which make great shelters for different wildlife species, including rabbits.

If you want to create or improve habitat on your property next year, get in contact with your district wildlife biologist with your goals and ideas to start planning. Learn about our wildlife habitat landowner assistance programs online.

Patoka Valley Ducks Unlimited will be having a Gun Bingo Night on January 26 at the Jasper Moose Lodge.  You’re invited to come out and play bingo for a chance to win guns.  There will be 10 games for 10 prizes, most of which are firearms.  Food and drink will be available for purchase. Doors open at 5:30. Bingo starts at 6:30. Bingo card prices are one bingo card per game for 10 games, $10. 3 bingo cards per game for 10 games for $100.  9 bingo cards per game for 10 games is $200. Please contact Steve Kluesner at 812-630-9781 with any questions.

While some wild animals are hunkering down with the cold weather, others like coyotes are becoming more active. Seeing coyotes is normal even in urban/suburban areas and no cause for alarm; young coyotes are leaving their family groups to find territories of their own and breeding season begins in January. Bare vegetation makes them easier to spot during winter. Coyotes' thick winter coats also make them appear larger than they are. Find tips for preventing problems with coyotes on our website: