By LOUIE STOUT
THE GOSHEN NEWS
We’re a month into Michiana’s bow season and some nice bucks are starting to show up in the harvest.
But, in those pockets of southern Michigan decimated by the deer-killing EHD virus, things aren’t going so well.
More than 10,000 dead deer have been reported to the Michigan DNR, most of which are in central and southern part of the state. Cass, St. Joseph and Branch counties are among those that have been hit.
In fact, DNR officials have encourage hunters and landowners severely impacted by EHD to use discretion in the taking of does this fall.
The good news is the frost has killed off the virus-carrying midges and the worst is behind us.
A random check of Indiana deer check stations this week indicates the EHD hasn’t affected Hoosier hunters except in northern Elkhart County.
Deer processors at DC Meats and Jaworski’s Market, both official check-in stations, said the October harvest is running similar to previous years.
“We’ve seen some real nice ones come in and the guys I’ve talked to say they’re seeing some nice deer,” said Steve Gill at DC Meats in Osceola.
Jim Aldrich of Jaworski’s Market in South Bend agreed.
“Most everyone is seeing deer and we had a couple of nice 12 pointers brought in this week,” he noted.
LaVerda Bontrager at the Travel Tender in Goshen said she thinks the overall sizes of deer they’ve checked in this fall are running smaller and hunters tell her they aren’t seeing many. However, she has checked in a 12 pointer and 9 pointer this week.
“We’re not hearing about many dead deer (from EHD), except around the Bristol area,” she said. “One guy brought in a picture of three dead ones from there and one was a huge buck.”
Brently Stonert at Albertson’s Sport Shop in Warsaw said the check in is going slow for Kosciusko County.
“Guys I’ve talked to say they’ve seen a lot of deer, but the weather pattern has them messed up,” he offered. “Once the temp drops, the deer are going to be moving more.”
Hunters report seeing some signs of the rut, but the major portion of the mating season remains a couple of weeks away.
Steve Gill at DC Meats in Osceola said his business is accepting deer donations to be used to feed the hungry in this area through the “Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry” program. There is no charge to the hunter who donates the deer which will be processed, packaged and donated to the non-profit organization of the hunter’s choice.
“We have plenty of organizations in this area that need the deer,” Gill said.
Report dead deer
The Michigan DNR asks hunters and other Michigan residents to continue to report sightings of dead deer to help with the department’s efforts to monitor the outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in the state this year.
Officials say the reports could have an impact on regulations they set for the 2013 season.
Deer have died in substantial numbers in at least 29 counties this summer and fall due to EHD, and the DNR’s Wildlife Division is recording reports of dead deer in order to prepare informed hunting season recommendations for 2013.
“Some people may have the perception that, once we have confirmed the presence of EHD in an area, we are no longer interested in additional reports of dead deer in those areas – that is not true,” said Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason, in a press release.
“We want any and all reports, whether the deer seem to have died recently or not so recently. They will help ensure we have accurate information about the extent of die-offs.”
To report the presence of dead deer, the DNR encourages residents to contact their nearest wildlife office.
Mason recommends that hunters and landowners assess the deer population in their area and carefully consider the amount of antlerless deer harvest they desire this year.
People hunting in areas that were hit hardest by EHD may want to limit or curtail antlerless deer harvest.
The father/son team of John and Ryan Law (South Bend) won the R&B Classic recently on White Lake, Mich.
The winners ($1,166) had a limit weighing 15.45 pounds caught on wacky-rigged Senkos along a weedline in 5-8 feet of water.
Aaron Krider and Bob Bruick (Fort Wayne) were second ($776) with 14.24 pounds caught on War Eagle spinnerbaits in shallow water. Greg Mangus (Fremont) and Kevin Fletcher (Elkhart) worked Mango jigs through weeds to finish third ($572) with 13.79 pounds.
The Starboard Choice Big Bass Award ($350) went to Josh Stalcup (Mishawaka) and Rick Bauer (South Bend) for a 4.33-pound largemouth caught on a No. 6 Rapala X-Rap (ghost minnow) in 5 feet of water.
Officers available 24-7
Indiana Conservation Officers will extend their Central Dispatch Center to a 24-hour operation beginning Oct. 29 at midnight to maintain radio contact with Conservation Officers across the state.
It marks the first time in the history of the DNR Law Enforcement Division that Indiana Conservation Officers may be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1-812-837-9536.
Central Dispatch also will answer calls to the Turn-In-a-Poacher hotline (1-800-TIP-IDNR).
Contact Goshen News outdoor writer Louie Stout at firstname.lastname@example.org.