Patoka Sportsman 4-9-22

Patoka Sportsman 4-9 & 4-10-22

The 2022 spring turkey season runs April 27 - May 15, with the youth-only season April 23-24. Predictions for this season call for between 12,000 and 13,000 birds to be harvested including an increase in the number of juvenile (jakes) taken due to high summer brood success (survival of poults/young turkeys).

.410 and 28-gauge shotguns are now legal for turkey hunting in addition to already legal 10, 12, 16 and 20 gauge shotguns. Tungsten Super Shot #9 and #10 are also now legal for wild turkey hunting.

This season’s resident Spring Turkey License fee is $32 plus the annual gamebird stamp ($11) for a total of $43. The Resident Youth Consolidated Hunt/Trap license fee is $12 (no stamp required). This license is also available to nonresident youth who have a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian who is an Indiana resident. See the nonresident fees and other seasonal fees.

If you were not successful drawing a reserved hunt spot for the 2022 spring turkey season, there are still opportunities to get out and hunt on Indiana’s public lands. One of those options is standby draws. Here’s how they work:

Fish & Wildlife areas (FWAs) often allocate spring turkey hunting opportunities through a reserved hunt draw. Hunters drawn for a reserved hunt must claim their spots daily by a certain time each morning, or that hunting opportunity will be included in the standby draw. Non-reserved hunters who hold a valid turkey hunting license and game bird stamp may sign up for standby draws each morning for a chance at one of the unclaimed spots. Remember, these spots can only be claimed in person, and there is no guarantee there will be openings available. Hunters interested in participating in turkey hunt standby draws should contact the property they wish to hunt for more information regarding draw times and procedures.

Learn outdoor skills in a relaxed environment at Patoka Lake’s Women’s Wilderness Weekend April 22-24. Participants will camp overnight Friday and Saturday nights in the modern electric campground and learn skills such as archery, kayaking, fishing, Dutch oven cooking, wild edibles, wilderness first aid, rifle and trap shooting, operating a boat, self-defense, and other topics. All Saturday meals will be provided as will breakfast on Sunday. Cost is $65 per person for the weekend, and registration is required by April 10. Register by calling the Patoka Lake Nature Center at 812-685-2447 or emailing interpretive naturalist Dana Reckelhoff at [email protected].

The annual Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop is April 29 to May 1 at Ross Camp in West Lafayette. The workshop is open to women ages 18 and older and limited to 85 participants. The program is designed for women to learn outdoor skills in a relaxed, low-pressure environment. Participants will choose four activities from more than two dozen offerings, including fishing, archery, geocaching, wilderness survival, natural gardening, wild edibles, wildlife tracking, shooting firearms, and outdoor cooking. 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 who 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 seek time away to reconnect with nature are also prime candidates for BOW. Registration is now open and runs until there are 85 registrants, can be done online at The cost for the workshop is $250 and includes all equipment, meals, and lodging.

The DNR wants you to give feedback and help improve Indiana’s fisheries? They would like to hear about your 2021-2022 fishing experiences via a new electronic angler survey. Anglers with a current email address within DNR’s electronic license system will receive an email containing a personalized link to the survey the week of April 11. The survey is your chance to provide input on Indiana’s fisheries management statewide and around where you live and fish. Survey responses will help DNR gather information about Indiana anglers and their opinions on fisheries management. This information will provide valuable feedback in developing programs to better serve you. Make sure to add or update your email address to receive a link to the survey. The survey link you receive is a unique link that cannot be used for multiple surveys. DNR asks that you do not share this link with others, as it allows only one survey completion. If you do not receive an email with your licensed angler survey by April 15, email [email protected] to receive your unique survey link.

Patoka Lake is hosting a kayak lesson for beginners on Saturday, April 30 at 12:30 p.m. at the Patoka Lake Nature Center. The talk will cover the basics of operating a kayak, what gear is needed, and the best places to paddle on the lake. Several different styles of kayaks and paddles will be available to try. The event is open to kayakers age 12 and older. The cost is $5 per person. All equipment including life jackets will be provided. Advance registration is required. The entrance fee of $7 per vehicle for Indiana residents or $9 for out-of-state visitors applies. To register, or for more information regarding this program or other interpretive events please call the Nature Center at 812-685-2447.

As you prepare your boat or recreational equipment to get back on the water this spring, remember to look for aquatic hitchhikers. Zebra mussels, aquatic plants like Eurasian watermilfoil or starry stonewort, and many other invasive species continue to be a threat to Indiana’s waters by degrading fish habitat and negatively affecting recreational boating and fishing. The most common locations where plants, mussels, and animals hitch a ride include:

  • Transom well near the drain plug
  • Axle of the trailer
  • Lower unit and propeller on the boat motor
  • The rollers and bunks that guide the boat onto the trailer
  • Anchor and lines
  • Bait bucket and live well

Boat owners are asked to drain water from bait buckets, live wells, and boats before leaving the boat landing; leave drain plugs out while travelling on land; clean and dry anything that came in contact with water; and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash. Learn more about aquatic invasive species and how to prevent their movement.

Mute swans (Cygnus olor) are an invasive species that has become established in high numbers on many bodies of water in Indiana. As the mute swan population has expanded over the last few decades, so has the habitat destruction attributed to their presence. An adult mute swan consumes up to eight pounds of aquatic and wetland vegetation per day and during nest building can destroy large areas of wetland vegetation. These disturbances can have a serious impact on water quality, aquatic habitat for fish and wildlife, and wetland functions. Mute swans can also be extremely aggressive toward people, pets, and native wildlife, especially during nesting and the rearing of young. If your community is having concerns with mute swans, explore ways you can reduce their impacts.

The emergence of spring means young wildlife will begin appearing throughout Indiana, from our state’s forests to your own backyard. If you encounter a young wild animal that appears to have been left alone, keep calm. Adult wild animals rarely abandon their young and will likely return after gathering food for the family. Check back periodically on the young animal and look for signs that an adult has been attending to them, but don’t hover. If the found animal is in a nest, you can pour a ring of flour around it to help you determine if an adult animal has returned while you were away.

If the animal you find is injured or in distress (bleeding, weak, covered in flies, has broken bones), contact a wildlife rehabilitator instead of trying to care for the animal yourself. Wild animals require different care than domesticated pets. Wildlife rehabilitators are trained and permitted to care for many different wild species. They will be equipped to care for the animal while allowing it to retain its natural fear of humans so it can return to and survive in the wild.

The first of 4 free fishing days is coming up on May 1.  Other dates include June 4-5 and September 24. On Free Fishing Days, Indiana residents do not need a fishing license or a trout/salmon stamp to fish the state's public waters. All other rules such as seasons, bag and size limits apply. Free Fishing Days are an excellent opportunity to learn how to fish, take your family fishing, or introduce a friend to fishing. To see what properties are hosting events, go to the DNR Calendar. The website also has Fishing Tips and Videos.

Hoosiers can celebrate National Volunteer Week, April 17-23, by donating their time and talents to help maintain, improve, and restore Indiana’s natural and cultural heritage at DNR properties. During this week, the DNR will thank and recognize those volunteers and salute their accomplishments on the Facebook pages of the DNR divisions of State Parks, Fish & Wildlife, Forestry and Nature Preserves.