"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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Hoosier Outdoor Reporter's Notebook
Copyright © 2004 by Bill Scifres

Fishers, IN, February 2, 2004


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.


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.


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 kingdom.

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.


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.

All columns, essays, and photos 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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