"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Changes In State Forest Management Plan
Copyright © 2005 by Bill Scifres

It may be that scantily green-clad sugarplum fairies danced across the governor’s desk to a tinkling tune of cash register bells when he was contemplating the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) new timber harvest plan for Indiana’s state forests.

But, if this is true, legions of Hoosier conservationists and outdoors folks accept it for what it is, and for the residual benefits it can bring for wildlife habitat in these 150,000 acres at a time when said habitat is at a premium. 

Governor Mitch Daniels and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Kyle Hupfer late last week announced sweeping changes in the management plan for Indiana’s state forests.

As chronicled by a news release of the DNR, economic considerations were a big factor in development of the plan. But Hupfer pointed out that a priority of the plan will be maintaining healthy forestlands and increasing biodiversity.

This, of course, adds up to creating habitat for such critters as our beleaguered and beloved ruffed grouse, white-tail deer, wild turkey, gray squirrels, and a menagerie of other wild critters, including many songbirds whose numbers have dwindled through recent years when timber harvest has been at minimum levels.

I asked John Seifert Director of the Indiana Department of Forestry, how great the increase in timber harvest on our state forests will be.

“Historically, we’ve been averaging about 3-million board feet annually,” Seifert says, adding that this will be increased to about 10 to 12-million board feet. “It probably will take two to three years to get there.”

One of the objectives of increased timbering operations will be creating wildlife regeneration openings, Seifert says.

As the new plan for managing our state forests evolves, there will be many other aspects of the scenario of interest to outdoor folks and local governments, including funding windfalls from increased timber harvest.

One wildlife biologist of the Division of Fish and Wildlife sees the new state forest management plan as “a good start” toward helping many species of wildlife, but points out that such programs must be maintained over long periods of time to be effective.

A big question among outdoors types at the moment revolves around possible impacts of the Division of State Forestry plan on the Hoosier National Forest (HNF).

The Hoosier National Forest has been in the process of revamping its 1986 management plan since last spring. The federal facility is in final stages of updating its plan.

Ken Day, supervisor of the HNF, says the new management plan for more that 200,00 acres of the federal holdings probably will not be influenced by the state forest program. The new HNF management plan is expected to be completed in December or January.

HOP TO IT--One of the best fish baits for fall is the big yellow grasshopper (non-flying species), and it will be found in good numbers now in most fields of grass and weeds.

Cool nights at this time of year make grasshoppers and other insects less active--especially before the fall sun warms the day. This makes such baits easy to catch.

I store my grasshoppers in a tin coffee can with small holes in the plastic top. A culture of grass and green weeds keep the hoppers happy. A strong cord will serve as a shoulder strap for carrying the can.

Grasshoppers may be hooked lightly with a small wire hook and fished live on the surface (dry) for bass, bluegill, and some other species. They can be fished deep (wet) for catfish, freshwater drum and numerous other species. 

Click on thumbnail image for enlarged view.

The big yellow grasshopper is plentiful now and is an excellent fall bait for many species of fish.


Michael J. “Mike” Kiley, Mr. Conservation in Hoosierland for 29 years as a member and chairman of the bi-partisan Natural Resources Commission, has retired. 

Mike, as he is known to conservationists and sportsmen of the state, was the third chairman of the Natural Resources Commission. Having been appointed to the commission by Republican Governor Otis R. “Doc” Bowen, he succeeded the late James “Jim” Lahey as chairman in 1990. The first chairman of the Commission (established by the reorganization of the Department of Natural Resources in 1964) was John Hillenbrand II, of Batesville.

Kiley, who maintains his law office at Marion, and served eight years as judge of that city’s municipal court, chaired the commission through 15 years of stormy battles, earned the reputation as a friend of natural and wildlife resources, and as a man concerned with all causes.

All of the commission’s three chairmen have been Democrats, and all appointed to the panel by Republican governors.

Click on thumbnail image for enlarged view.

kiley.jpg (14368 bytes)
Director of Natural Resources Kyle Hupfer (left) thanks Mike Kiley for 29 years of service to the Natural Resources Commission. 

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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