Patoka Sportsman 9-11-21
National Public Lands Day is Saturday, Sept. 25. Hoosiers can celebrate by supporting their favorite DNR property by doing volunteer work or simply visiting. National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort involving public lands. DNR properties will have programs for visitors to volunteer as individuals or as part of many events across Indiana, but they can also choose to visit and just enjoy their favorite areas. On Sunday, Sept. 26, Indiana State Parks, Indiana State Forests, and State Recreation Areas will offer free admission. The entire weekend serves as a reminder that public lands are places for outdoor recreation, conservation, and making memories with families and friends. Events include hikes, pioneer activities, crafts, fishing programs, live bird shows, volunteer activities, and more. For a complete list of programs, see calendar.dnr.IN.gov. Information about how to be a DNR volunteer can be found at on.IN.gov/dnrvolunteer.
Sept. 25 is National Hunting & Fishing Day. Created in 1971 to thank hunters and anglers across the U.S., the day recognizes the power of individuals as a positive force in the protection of natural resources. The day also serves as a way to acknowledge all the ways these groups have provided the funding foundation for wildlife conservation. Join us in this celebration by exploring some of the many Fish & Wildlife areas, parks, forests, and other public lands available throughout Indiana.Looking for a more hands-on way to experience the state’s natural spaces? Sept. 25 is also the last Free Fishing Day of 2021. On Free Fishing Days, Indiana residents can fish Indiana’s public waters without a fishing license or trout/salmon stamp. Several hunting seasons will also be open, including dove, sora, snipe, teal, and squirrel. Also, youth deer season starts the same weekend. As fall begins in Indiana, invite your friends and family to join you outdoors and take time to safely do what you love with those you love spending time with.
There are 4 major moon change phases in October this 2021 season. To keep this simple 5 days before & after these dates all are a part of the major influences on our Whitetail herd. Influence of moon creates a behavior change, however weather has more influence so take note during these times a drastic weather change with moon changes can generate very good deer movements. Full moon enhances great night time conditions for feeding and traveling that will put your deer back to their daytime beds earlier, Why? More light at night means more feeding at night. So enter morning stands to hunt right before or right at daylight and expect a mid to late morning movement as your herd rises to feed 9am to noon. With a full moon evening hunts can see less deer movement with too much light leading up to regular movement times. With a late morning to noon feeding deer will be more comfortable. They will stay bedded down later in the day-evening hours as they wait for a darker time in the evening to make their move. Overcast days help this situation. Remember deer feed 5 times in a 24 hour period, generally 2 times during light hours 3 after dark. Think of it like this , our deer herd spends a good five days making adjustments for the moon phase change, then the day of the change they spend the next five days after in a more comfortable behavior pattern with the change. So remember, weather trumps the moon. When our first season drastic cold front hits dropping 10 degrees or more mainly October 28th-31st, I’d plan on being in the woods on those days.
This year, Indiana DNR will continue to provide free testing for hunters interested in having their deer tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD). Although CWD has not been detected in Indiana, the serious neurological disease has been found close to our state’s borders in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. Hunters may voluntarily submit samples for testing at select Fish & Wildlife areas (FWAs) and state fish hatcheries (SFHs) throughout the hunting season. Deer heads can be dropped into designated coolers at select FWAs and SFHs, or hunters may make an appointment for their harvested deer to be sampled by a biologist during office hours. Tongue tags will also be available for hunters who wish to have their deer’s head mounted and sampled for CWD – just follow guidance provided at designated coolers or given by DNR staff. Testing results will available online. Hunters are also able to independently submit their deer to the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (ADDL) for testing for a fee. Hunters should complete the submission form and follow the shipping instructions on ADDL’s website.
Hunters who submit a deer for CWD testing will receive a metal tag that is reminiscent of Indiana’s historical deer harvest confirmation process. The tag will be mailed to them at the end of the deer season.
The Archer’s Index is a survey that relies on volunteer archery hunters to report wildlife observations while they are afield in the fall. Sightings are collected from Oct. 1 through Nov. 12. These observations help DNR understand how populations of wildlife such as white-tailed deer, opossums, and coyotes are changing over time. If you are interested in supporting this long-running effort to inform wildlife management, sign up to volunteer.