"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
About Bayou Bill
Recent Rambles
DNR Doings
Wild Recipes



Not-So-Strange Bedfellows
Copyright © 2005 by Bill Scifres

Deer, the Division of Fish and Wildlife, the Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show, and Hoosier Outdoor Writers (HOW) are not-so-strange bedfellows.

And so it was that the last weekend brought about some interesting--even beautiful--encounters involving this quartet, all of which may be of interest to Hoosiers who hunt deer and some who don’t.

Perhaps I should explain that the Hoosier Outdoor Writers Association (HOW), a very diversified group of scribes, for many years has staged its annual meeting in conjunction with the Sports Show. Said scribes also are on speaking terms with the Division of Fish and Wildlife--most of the time, and the aforementioned others are concerned with deer.

However those things may (or may not) play out, scenarios they brought about over the past weekend are of interest to Hoosiers, especially those who hunt deer, or those who merely enjoy the beauty of a hefty set of antlers.

It all started Friday, opening night of the Sports Show’s 10-day run at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. That was also the opener of the three-day Indiana Deer & Turkey Exposition.

Although the eighth annual Deer & Turkey Expo only lasted three days, seminars, exhibits, rack-scoring services, and the Hoosier Record Buck Program “Wall of Fame” (some 70 huge deer head mounts) lured thousands from the legions of Indiana deer hunters.

The wall, alone, by far the greatest collections I have seen, is an awesome sight. Unfortunately, it will not be present at the Sports Show the remainder of its 10-day run.

And though the Hoosier Record Buck Program’s (HRBP) deer rack (antlers) scoring services played to a smaller audience, it is important for those who have taken Hoosier deer over the years and are interested in learning how big their antlers are.

One of the largest racks scored at the Expo this year was a 190 3/8 (three eights) non-typical taken in Parke County by Michael Fowler of Terre Haute.

But as impressive as Fowler’s rack was, John Bogucki, head of scorers for the HRBP, said it would be the third or fourth best non-typical rack taken in the state in the 2004-05 seasons. At mid-afternoon Sunday Bogucki said more than 230 racks had been scored at the Expo.

Still another facet of the Hoosier deer picture unfolded in a panel discussion of the DFW’s “one-buck rule” at the HOW meeting at The Garrison of Harrison State Park.

The one-buck rule has been a much cussed and discussed subject since its implementation three deer seasons back. It provides that a hunter may take only one antlered deer per year. For many years hunters were allowed to take one antlered deer with bow and one with firearm.

The one-buck rule was championed by the Indiana Deer Hunters Association (IDHA) and many hunters, although biologists of the DFW maintained it would not achieve a purpose of bringing about more and larger racks on Hoosier deer.

The discussion by Dr. Jim Mitchell, deer biologist for the DFW; Joe Bacon (IDHA), and Gene Hopkins (Indiana Bowhunters Associaton) proved interesting, the panel could draw no conclusions on the value of the rule. It is scheduled to run through at least two more deer seasons.

Click on thumbnail image for enlarged view.

bignt.jpg (131316 bytes)
Michael Fowler, Terre Haute, took his huge non-typical in Parke County.
This display of deer head mounts on the Wall of Fame at last weekend's Indiana Deer Exposition at the Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show awed thousands of Hoosier show patrons. The exhibit is no longer on display, but the Sports Show continues through Sunday [February 27, 2005]. All are Hoosier deer, most of them taken in recent years.
walloffame.JPG (57523 bytes)

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

 Return to beginning of document
Return to Bayou Bill's Home Page