Fishers, IN, February 2,
INDIANA DEER HARVEST
Full analysis of deer harvest figures for 2003-04 seasons will not be
completed until a little later, but a total figure of roughly 107,000 in
the seasons just ended will top the 104,428 figure of the previous year.
"We're starting to analyze the data collected in the 2003-2004 seasons,"
says Dr. Jim Mitchell, deer biologist for the Division of Fish and Wildlife
(DFW). "But initial figures indicate an increase of 1 or 2 percent over
the previous year."
At this point Mitchell has no breakdown on the harvest by sex, but a
final analysis of harvest figures will answer many questions.
In the meantime, CWD (chronic wasting disease) has been reported in
two more deer in Illinois. But the Indiana testing program of 2002-2003
seasons still shows negative results.
Officials of the DFW say the initial 2002-2003 samples have not been
found to be infected. Samples taken during the seasons just closed have
not yet been analyzed.
DEER RACK SCORING
Official scorers of the Hoosier Record Buck Program will be on hand
February 20-22 at the Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show to score
deer racks. The scoring fee is $10.
Scorers for Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett books will be
on hand Saturday, February 21.
THE BIRD BOOK
Bad weather--especially snow--brings out the good and the bad of our
feathered friends (much as it does in man). Our current cover of
some four inches of snow is no exception.
I feed the birds throughout the year beneath an evergreen hedge some
25 feet long and 10 feet wide because it offers good protection from woodland
hawks and weather.
That the hedge is a scant six feet from double glass doors immediately
behind my computer gives me a good spot from which to view the activities
of ground feeders.
The things I am seeing indicate that sparrows (looked upon as trash
by many so-called nature lovers) are the most peaceful species of the bird
I have a nice little resident flock of 12 to 14 English sparrows and
they feed peacefully, elbow-to-elbow, with others of their kind and birds
of several other species.
Mourning doves and cardinals seem to be the bullies of my ground feeding
station. The Carolina wrens do not appear warlike, but they tend to ignore
the others and keep their distance.
Staples of the menu at my feeding station--in addition to fruit and
potato peelings--has long been black oil sunflower seed and whole kernel
(shelled) corn. But recently I have been slipping in a handful or two of
thistle seed. It seems to be bringing in more customers.
THE FISHING SCENE
Big waters of the northern-tier counties have had safe ice for more
than a week now and ice fishing in that part of the state has been good.
Larry Stover, owner of The Tackle Box at North Webster, says Wawasee's
deep water is giving up some good bags of perch. He says small jigging
spoons (naked) is a good bet, fished vertically from the bottom.
Big waters (Monroe, Patoka and others) of central and southern parts
of the state still are largely ice free, but if the big freeze continues
some of the bays could offer some fishing. Farm ponds and smaller lakes
of central and southern area have plenty of safe ice, but it still is a
good idea to use caution on these waters.