Goshen News, Goshen, IN

July 21, 2013

OUTDOOR COLUMN: Indiana DNR rejects extra deer seasons


GOSHEN — The Indiana Natural Resources Commission approved a number of revisions to fish and wildlife rules but did not authorize a proposal to extend the archery season or add a primitive muzzleloader season for deer hunting.

The archery season will remain the same as last year (Oct. 1 through Jan. 5, 2014) and there will continue to be only one muzzleloader season, which runs from Dec. 7-22 this year.

The commission went along with the majority of public comments received and agreed with wildlife managers’ request to remove the two deer season proposals from the rule package. Biologists believed they are not needed to manage the deer population, have the potential to create confusion among hunters, and make it more difficult to evaluate the impact of new deer hunting rules that went into effect last year. The additional seasons were proposed by some Hoosier deer hunters.

Rule changes that were approved will:

• Change the rabbit hunting season to one statewide season on public and private land to begin Nov. 1 and end Feb. 28.

• Change the pheasant hunting season dates to begin Nov. 1 and end Dec. 15.     

• Modify the north/south boundary of bobwhite quail hunting zones to make Interstate 74 the dividing line.     

• Modify the bobwhite quail hunting season by subtracting two days from the south zone (Nov. 1 to Jan. 10) and reducing the bag limit in the north to four birds.     

• Change the limits on taking black bass on some Indiana lakes, including Big Long in northern Indiana.     

• Add a 16-inch minimum size and two-fish limit for walleye on Wall Lake (LaGrange County).     

• Limit the number of lake whitefish that can be taken to 12 per day.     

• Modify the start date squirrel hunters are required to wear hunter orange to Nov. 1.     

• Require hunter orange marking on ground blinds used during the day when hunting any species for which the hunter is required to wear hunter orange.     

• Allow the use of a draw-lock device for archery equipment when deer hunting.     

• Preliminary adoption of amendments to 312 IAC 5-3 governing boat races, water ski events and organized recreational activities occurring on public waters. The action restores definitions for fishing tournament and major organized boating activity.

Park deer hunts

Applications are available online for Hoosiers wanting to participate in a deer reduction hunt at Potato Creek State Park this fall.

Other northern Indiana parks participating in firearms hunts this year are Chain O’Lakes, Indiana Dunes, Pokagon, and Tippecanoe River.

The first round of state park deer reduction hunting will be Nov. 18 and 19. The second round will be Dec. 2 and 3.

State park deer reductions are designed to maintain and restore unique and valuable ecosystems damaged by white-tailed deer. The designated parks are closed to the general public on hunting days.

Applications are available at www.IndianaOutdoor.IN.gov. The application deadline is Aug. 25; see details at www.dnr.IN.gov/fishwild before applying. Applicants must be Indiana residents, be 18 years old by Nov. 18, 2013, and possess at least one valid Indiana deer license. Apprentice and private preserve licenses are not applicable. Each person may apply only once for each state park deer reduction effort, regardless of primary or buddy status. All applications sharing duplicate names will be disqualified.  

Doe permits reduced

The Michigan DNR reduced private land antlerless permits, but whether the cuts were enough to take the pressure off the sagging deer population remains to be seen.

The state decreased private land antlerless deer permits by 25 percent, with most cuts coming in southern Michigan.

It’s difficult to gauge how it will affect southern counties hit hardest by EHD the past two years. The state realigned its deer management units and placed Berrien, Cass and Van Buren in their own DMU. As a result, there will be 700 public land doe permits and 14,000 private land permits shared by those counties.

That’s still quite a few doe permits considering how hard this region was decimated by deer mortality caused by the virus. Some hunters would have preferred to see deeper cuts to allow the herd to rebound.

“An overall decrease in antlerless licenses was recommended in many deer management units (DMUs) in anticipation of increased adult deer mortality and low fawn recruitment due to the prolonged winter,” stated DNR deer and elk program leader Brent Rudolph, in a press release.

In the southern Lower Peninsula, the DNR will make 30,150 licenses available for public land, down from 33,950 last year, and 345,500 private-land licenses, down from 519,650 in 2012.

“Deer populations in many areas are now near goals,” Rudolph said. “This is particularly the case in some areas that have experienced repeated outbreaks of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) over the last several years.”

Hunters are reminded that many DMUs have changed as a result of changes to local deer populations. Check the 2013 Antlerless Deer Hunting Digest www.michigan.gov/dnr for details.

SMAC results

Jason Dittmar and Dave Eggers teamed up to win the Wednesday night Southwest Michigan Anglers Club event on Diamond Lake recently. The winners had 9.88 pounds caught on crankbaits.

Second place went to Steve and Marco Lewis with 8.56 pounds caught on tubes. They also had big bass, a 4.21-pound largemouth. Rick Morrison and Bobby Thornton were third with 6.39 pounds caught on Senkos.

In the Sunday event on Klinger Lake, Scott Crocker and Chad Worvey fished jigs and tubes to catch 11.30 pounds, including a 4.05-pound fish that won big bass prize.

Mark and Hunter Zona were second with 10.60 pounds caught on jigs and drop-shot rigs while Brian and Renee Hensley were third with 9.69 pounds caught on crankbaits.

BFL finishers

Area anglers fared well in the recent BFL tournament on the Detroit River.

John Leader of Granger finished fifth ($759) in the pro division with 16 pounds 7 ounces while Steve Roth (Syracuse) was 24th with 16-7 and Todd Schmitz (Goshen) was 29th with 15-13.

In the co-angler division, Thomas Bell of Mishawaka was 17th with 15-3.

Website correction

Last Sunday’s story about boat rentals contained an error in the website listing for Ruperts Resort on Lake of the Woods in Bremen. The correct website is www.rupertsresortcampground.com.

Lunker’s reminder

Only a few openings remain for the annual Lunker’s Bass Tournament on Juno and Eagle lakes.

The tournament will be held Aug. 3 with a field limited to 50 boats. Entry fee, which includes big bass pot, is $110. The tournament will pay 10 places.

Contestants are reminded that all of the lakes are off limits to them from midnight, July 29 until the day of the event.

For more information, call the store at 269-663-3745.

Contact Louie at stoutoutdoors@comcast.net.