[This article by Bill Scifres is
published in the August 2003 issue of Indiana
Game & Fish Magazine.]
Making predictions on fall hunting conditions can be risky, but biologists
of the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) feel safe in invoking
According to Glenn Lange, chief of the DFW's Wildlife Section, that
is the equivalent of saying, short of a catastrophic development, there
will be nothing new under the sun for Hoosier hunters this fall.
"For all species in terms of regulations, the hunting will be about
the same as last year," Lange says," we would not be able to change any
regulations that require discretionary orders before fall unless it was
"It appears that populations of most species will be about the same
as last year, "Lange continued.
To put the best possible handle on the hunting for the fall and winter
seasons, we questioned Lange and several of his 22 district wildlife biologists
on the way the hunting was in the seasons just past and how the hunting
looked for the coming seasons.
We started with Lange.
G&F To Lange: Are there any big changes in the works for
any of the hunting seasons in the fall?
Lange: Certainly not so far as administrative rule changes are
concerned . . . We haven't proposed any changes in season dates or bag
limits . . . season dates have been announced . . . deer quotas for some
counties could change but otherwise there will be no changes.
G&F To Lange: What species do you consider best bets for
Lange: Certainly deer . . . and the next best would be wild turkey
. . . most underutilized species is squirrel. But we have some good hunting
for many other species.
G&F To Lange: Do you anticipate a change this year in the
one antlered deer rule you instituted in the seasons just past?
Lange: No . . . we said (when adopted) that we would not change
it (the one-buck rule) for a five year period . . . we will look at five
years of data before we consider changing that . . . it may have an effect
on the harvest and it may have an effect license sales . . . we will consider
these things before changing the rule.
G&F To Lange: Are you considering any administrative rule
changes on other species?
Lange: No. We have no administrative rule changes on the table
at this time.
G&F To Lange: Although you see no great changes in hunting
regulations, or hunting, for the coming seasons, how do you view the future
of hunting and wildlife populations?
Lange: To improve hunting for small game (rabbit and quail) we
need to improve habitat on private land . . . we are trying to do that
. . . the 2002 Farm Bill is going to be a great help in the next 10 years.
G&F To Lange: What feature of the 2002 Farm Bill shows the
most promise for wild game species, especially small game?
Lange: Farm Bill programs are all going to be increased in the
next 10 years in the amounts of money available to landowners for habitat
programs we expect our district biologists to have problems keeping up
with requests and applications from landowners . . . the programs of the
Farm Bill are wildlife friendly . . . this Farm Bill provides that programs
must be wildlife friendly . . . previous farm bills did not have that feature.
G&F To Lange: How much funding will be available annually
for these Farm Bill programs?
Lange: We don't know for sure yet . . . but it will be substantial.
We don't know yet how much funding will be available for the Conservation
Reserve Program, but this year we will have about half a million available
for our Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP), and next year we will
have about a million dollars . . . we're afraid we will not be able to
help all of the landowners who want to participate.
G&F To Lange: Will your 22 district wildlife biologists be
able to handle requests and help landowners who want to launch WHIP projects?
Lange: This is an exciting part of the Farm Bill . . . the feds
may pay 50 percent of the cost of hiring new biologists to work with landowners
. . . this has not yet been approved but it is possible.
G&F To Lange: How many more people do you think you might
be able to hire if this funding is approved?
Lange: It could be as many as a dozen . . . some might be assistants
to the biologists we have now . . . but even though this funding will end
some years from now, we would hope to keep all of the people on the job.