"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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 Some Hunting, Fishing, And Allied Activities Rules Need Overhaul -- Public Meetings Set
Copyright © 2003 by Bill Scifres

Conservation and sportsmenís organizations of the state are lining up their ducks in an effort to change the tempo of the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) process in setting rules that all outdoorsmen must live by.
The administrative rule process, which rightfully bypasses the legislature on many issues relative to outdoors activities, has been something of a joke in recent years. In many cases--perhaps even most cases--sportsmen and conservationists have been conspicuous by their absence at meetings supposedly staged to use the public as a sounding board.
Frankly, I grew up in an era when wildlife and natural resource managers simply did what was best for the resource. It worked pretty well until armchair biologists put pressure on resource managers the length and breadth of the country to disregard the resource and do what is best for man.
At this juncture, that is water under the bridge. We must live by the present system, and outdoorsmen and conservationists around the Hoosier state are urging their brethren to attend one of a series of 19 DFW public meetings around the state early in June. The meetings are said to be designed to give the public a shot at input in the discretionary order process.
One of the big issues Hoosiers are being warned about revolves around the fact that there are fears that the DFW and its daddy (the Department of Natural Resources) may be lining up its dog-running ducks in an effort to control such activity on private land.
As we all know, the benevolent DFW already has discretionary-ordered bird dog field trialers out of business on public lands. Now, it is feared, the wildlife agency wants to dictate how private landowners handle dog running on their own land, apparently all dogs (. . . Would that include Old Shep, the farm mongrel who dutifully looks after the sheep?).     

The DFW, of course, always points out that it does not set the agenda. The meetings, DFW brass have maintained, since time immemorial are set up to see what the public wants. However, information put out recently to the media (and who know who else) suggests that those attending will have an opportunity to comment on such topics as ď. . . dog running on public and private land, nuisance coyotes, deer hunting equipment . . . ď 
Incidentally, when I asked a DFW official if this meant the field-trial issue would be a part of the dog-running discussion, I was told that it would not. Although I did not get it in so many words, it was indicated that the field-trialing fiasco on public lands is a done deal.
Sure, DFW brass tells us that field trailing is permitted on some state fish and wildlife areas. What they donít want to talk about is the regulations for field trials being so stringent that they are unworkable for trials involving the pointing breeds.  
So there you have it. If you have ever thought the rules and regulations of hunting, fishing and allied activities could stand an overhaul, this could be your big moment. 

As many outdoors folks have noted in the past, you may not get your wish, but you certainly can speak your piece.
Here, by dates, is the schedule for meetings to be open from 2 to 8 p.m.: 

Tuesday, June 3: Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area, (812) 526-2051; Pike Township Public Library, 6525 Zionsville Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46268, (317) 232-4080; DNR Office, Mitchell, IN 47446, (812) 849-4586; DNR Office,  Peru, IN 46970, (765) 473-9324; Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area, Morocco, IN 47963, (219) 285-2704.

Wednesday, June 4: Ft. Wayne - Law Enforcement District Headquarters, Ft. Wayne, IN 46808, (260) 691-3181; Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, Medaryville, IN 47957, (219) 843-4841; Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area, North Judson, IN 46366, (574) 896-3522 ; LaSalle Fish and Wildlife Area, Lake Village, IN 46349, (219) 992-3019 ; Minnehaha Fish and Wildlife Area, Sullivan, IN 47882, (812) 268-5640. 

Thursday, June 5: Crosley Fish and Wildlife Area, North Vernon, IN 47265,  
(812) 346-5596; Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area, LaPorte, IN 46350, (219) 393-3612; Tri-County Fish and Wildlife Area, Syracuse, IN 46567, (574) 834-4461.

Tuesday, June 10: Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area, Montgomery, IN 47558, (812) 644-7731; Hovey Lake Fish and Wildlife Area, Mt. Vernon, IN 47620, (812) 838-2927; Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area, Mongo, IN 46771, (260) 367-2164; Sugar Ridge Fish and Wildlife Area, Winslow, IN 47598, (812) 789-2724; Winamac Fish and Wildlife Area, Winamac, IN 46996, (574) 946-4422.

Wednesday, June 11: Wilbur Wright Fish and Wildlife Area, New Castle, IN 47362,  
(765) 529-9581. 

Individuals who need reasonable modifications for effective participation in rule review open houses should call the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife ADA Coordinator at (317) 232-4080 (voice and TDD). Telephone numbers are listed for the convenience of interested parties who would like more detail. 

All columns are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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