Patoka Sportsman 7-3-21

Patoka Sportsman 7-3 & 7-4-21

Earlier this week, a black bear was confirmed north of Carmi, Illinois close to the Indiana state line. The DNR received an unconfirmed sighting from Warrick County. Their biologists are working to confirm the bear’s presence in Indiana. If you see a bear or signs of a bear (tracks, scat, etc.), please report it to Black bear sightings are no cause for alarm, as populations are expanding in neighboring states. For more information on black bears, please visit:

A pair of individuals set off to hike 15 rugged miles with little food or water on Sunday. One man collapsed after making it less than half that distance and called for help. Indiana Conservation Officers Neal and Robbie Brewington, along with members of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department and Gibson Township Fire Department, hiked a total of 6 miles in the brutal heat to rescue him. Despite an IV and fluids, he lost consciousness and had to be carried out the entire way. Great job by these officers and rescue personnel.

Boaters preparing for Independence Day weekend should be aware that Indiana Conservation Officers will be on high alert for violations of boating-under-the-influence laws as part of Operation Dry Water. Operation Dry Water, a year-round program, will be in heightened effect through July 4.

Indiana Conservation Officers, in partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard, will focus on educating boaters about safe boating practices, including keeping alcohol off the boat, for both operators and passengers.

Officers will be on the lookout for impaired boaters. Boaters will notice an overall increase in patrols, both on the water and at recreational boating checkpoints, to remove dangerous and impaired boaters from the waterways.

Indiana Conservation Officers are joining hundreds of agencies nationwide to do their part in keeping boaters safe and preventing incidents and fatalities related to boating under the influence.

Operating a vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to serious injuries, death, and legal consequences. In Indiana, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Indiana Conservation Officers remind boaters to always boat sober and to wear a life jacket when on or around the water. Visit for more information about boating under the influence.

Patoka Lake will host its 30th annual Star Party on Saturday, July 10, at the Patoka Lake Nature Center and the Patoka Lake Beach.

From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Patoka’s interpretive naturalist will teach visitors how to make solar bead bracelets. Beads will be clear inside and change colors with the sun when outdoors. Cost is $2 per bracelet kit. The kits include stretchy cord and solar, glow-in-the-dark, and colored beads.

In the evening, NASA Solar System Ambassador Tony Brian and his team of astronomers will help visitors interpret and identify objects in the night sky through telescopes.

The entrance fee of $7 per vehicle for Indiana residents and $9 for out-of-state visitors is required for the Newton-Stewart State Recreation Area, located north of Wickliffe on State Road 164. For more information regarding this program or other interpretive events, call the Nature Center at 812-685-2447.

After receiving reports of sick and dying birds, DNR recommends Indiana residents cease feeding all birds statewide. Bird feeders, bird baths, and other sources that encourage the congregation of wild birds should be taken down or discontinued. Feeders and baths should be cleaned with 10% bleach solution and stored until more information is available.

Residents who find birds with eye or head swelling, crusty discharge around the eyes, and/or neurological signs (e.g., tremors, stumbling, weakness, lethargy) should submit the sighting to DNR’s sick or dead wildlife reporting system. Biologists are actively tracking reports, and samples have been submitted to the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. No definitive cause of death has been identified at this time.

Anglers can find fish habitat structure locations and more on DNR’s new interactive reservoir habitat map.Habitat structure, such as bundles of Christmas trees, rock piles and wooden platforms, improves aquatic habitat for fish by creating areas for cover, nesting, and more. The structure also attracts bait fish and provides other feeding opportunities. The new interactive map includes project lakes, structure locations, structure types, and photos of structure types. As DNR completes habitat work in the future, information will be added to the interactive map.

The Division of Fish & Wildlife is looking for volunteers to help at the State Fair Fishin’ Pond. You can help families register onsite, teach kids how to fish with cane poles, or tie fishing knots and untangle lines.The Fishin’ Pond is open on Opening Day of the fair (Friday, July 30), then every Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the fair. The fair ends on Aug. 22. Volunteer shifts last four hours. Volunteers will receive free parking, a free State Fair ticket, and a free T-shirt. With four volunteer stations, there’s an opportunity for everyone.

Over the course of a year, wild turkeys tend to repeatedly return to the same locations to drink, feed, and rest. Can you think of a spot where you usually see wild turkey broods (hens and poults) or hens alone in the summer? These observations help DNR biologists calculate the annual wild turkey Production Index (number of poults per adult hens). The Production Index helps estimate wild turkey populations in the state and provides guidance for future management.

DNR biologists can’t collect brood observations across the state alone. In order to reach the goal of 3,000 observations this year, we need your help. If you’re interested in sharing your turkey brood observations with DNR, record observations any time from July 1 to Aug. 31. Thanks to our new, easier reporting system, recording observations takes less than five minutes; no password required.

Outdoor Indiana magazine’s July/August issue features a cover article on the Great American Rail-Trail.The Great American, as the improved-surface trail is branded by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, will, when finished, stretch between Washington, D.C., and Washington state. The trail includes a route through Indiana. Both the overall trail and the Hoosier portion are more than halfway finished. Subscribe for yourself at or by calling 317-233-3046. To read article excerpts from this issue, go to

The Patoka Lake Watershed Steering Committee encourages individuals, families, friends and service groups to help with the 14th annual Patoka Lake Clean Up on Saturday, Aug. 28.

Changes this year include morning signup at several designated boat ramps instead of a central location and free admission into the park for lunch and door prizes after the cleanup.

Participants of all ages and abilities will be assigned an area to pick up litter along the shore starting at 8 a.m. At 11 a.m., all volunteers head into the main entrance of the park for free entrance, a box lunch, door prizes and goody bags. Volunteers are asked to sign up ahead of time for lunch so check the Patoka Lake Watershed Steering Committee Facebook page or text or call 812-639-0123 and ask to be put on the Watershed email list.