Patoka Sportsman 4-10 & 4-11-21
The Gibson County chapter of Whitetails Unlimited will host a banquet on Saturday, April 17 at the Gibson Co. 4-H Fair Exhibit Hall in Princeton. Games, raffles and social hour will begin at 5 PM. Dinner will start at 6:30. Tickets are $40 for a single and $25 for a spouse. Ticket order deadline is April 16. A WTU membership is included with a single ticket. Tickets will not be sold at the door. This fundraising event will include a dinner, auction and prizes with a wide array of products such as firearms, outfitter packages, hunting and outdoor related equipment, artwork and collectibles only available at WTU events. For tickets or for more information contact Bike at 812-449-2167 or Bill at 812-568-8698 or buy online at www.whitetailsunlimited.com.
Purdue University in conjunction with Extension Forestry & Natural Resources, Forestry DNR, Four Rivers Forestry Committee and the Dubois County Soil and Water Conservation District will sponsor an event on tree planting for conservation timber and wildlife on April 22 from 4-6 PM EDT at the Ken Otto Property on Whooderville Rd. in Jasper. There is no cost involved and you can register by April 19 by calling Ron at 812-678-5049 or Judi at 812-482-1171.
This year's four Free Fishing Days are May 2, June 5-6, and Sept. 25. Indiana residents do not need a fishing license or a trout stamp to fish in public waters on these days. Free Fishing Days are a great opportunity to give fishing a try or share fishing with a friend or family member.
Visitors to our Fish & Wildlife Areas (FWAs) will notice some changes this spring and summer. Later this summer, a new property rule will go into effect that requires all visitors to sign in and get a one-day permit card before going out on the property, regardless of activity. To prepare for this new rule, the DNR has been asking that visitors sign in and take a permit since April 1. The one-day access permit must be kept with you while visiting and must be completed and returned to a kiosk, drop box, or the office before leaving. The information you provide helps them identify ways to improve Indiana’s FWAs for all users.
The opening day of trout season for inland streams is April 24 at 6 a.m. local time. DNR’s biologists are currently stocking rainbow trout across the state. To find locations near you that are receiving trout, check out the 2021 trout stocking plan. You will need a valid fishing license and trout/salmon stamp to fish for trout.
Youth season for spring wild turkey hunting is April 17-18. Adult hunters can take to the fields beginning April 21 through May 9. Hunters will need a valid turkey hunting license and gamebird habitat stamp to participate.
The Natural Resources Commission recently gave final approval to administrative rule changes to expand legal equipment for hunters during the spring wild turkey hunting season, and DNR Director Dan Bortner authorized their use by emergency rule in time for this year's spring turkey season. The changes allow the use of 410 caliber and 28-gauge shotguns in addition to already-legal 10-, 12-, 16- and 20-gauge shotguns. It also expands the legal shot sizes (4,5,6,7, 7.5) to include smaller Tungsten Super Shot #9 and #10.
In 2020, Fish & Wildlife Areas (FWAs) suspended stand-by draws for wild turkey hunts due to COVID-19 restrictions. This year, turkey stand-by draws will resume to fill all hunting opportunities. Hunters must wear a mask and practice social distancing at each property office.
Wild turkey hunts on many FWAs are initially allocated by a reserved hunt draw. Reserved turkey hunters must claim their spot by a specific time each morning or that hunting opportunity will be included in the stand-by draw. Hunters who are not reserved and hold a valid turkey hunting license and gamebird stamp may sign up for the draw each morning for a chance at one of the unclaimed spots. Hunters interested in participating in turkey hunt stand-by draws should contact the property they wish to hunt for more information regarding draw times and procedures.
Hunters looking to chase gobblers on public land this spring can find plenty of opportunity in Indiana’s forests. All 15 state forest properties and 204,000-acre Hoosier National Forest are open for walk-in hunting. It’s important to remember that these forests are managed for multiple types of recreation, which means you may encounter more people than just other turkey hunters. Hikers, foragers, horseback riders, campers, and many others enjoy these spaces, too. This openness also allows you to do more than just turkey hunt, so it’s a great excuse to bring the family along.
Hoosier National Forest, Deam Wilderness, and the surrounding area is popular for camping and hunting. Remember, there is no parking along Tower Ridge Road except at the designated spots. When hunting any public land, remember that property lines are not always clearly marked. Carrying a map that shows property boundaries is important to avoid straying onto private land nearby. You can find these maps at state and federal forest offices and online.
Hoosiers may soon notice furry flying mammals roosting in their eaves and circling neighborhood lampposts. Some species of bats are waking up after six months of hibernation, and other species are traveling hundreds of miles for their seasonal migration. It’s normal to find bats hanging close to homes when they have trouble finding natural roosts. For the next six months, bats can be seen hunting insects attracted to lights from houses and streetlamps. You can learn more about Indiana’s bats on the DNR website.
Fish & Wildlife Areas use prescribed fire to maintain and manage wildlife habitat. Both plant and animal communities benefit from these burns. Prescribed fire is controlled by wildlife professionals and, for safety, is done only under specific weather conditions. There are many benefits to using fire as a management tool. By burning away dense plant material, fire controls aggressive trees and shrubs, increases plant diversity, reduces the spread of plant diseases, and releases nutrients back into the soil.