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
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 . . .
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
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,
(812) 346-5596; Kingsbury Fish and Wildlife Area, LaPorte, IN 46350,
(219) 393-3612; Tri-County Fish and Wildlife Area, Syracuse, IN 46567,
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,
Wednesday, June 11: Wilbur Wright Fish and Wildlife Area, New
Castle, IN 47362,
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.