"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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Majestic Purple Hills
Copyright © 2006 by Bill Scifres
10-23-06

Everywhere you go these days people are talking about the fall colors of Brown County and environs, but for my money (a lot of it changes hands due to fall color) the hues of many other counties is just as spectacular. We are putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable, so to speak.

Sure the hardwood hills (the conifers can stay any color the like) are really neat. They are well worth the drive (with current gas prices) on a bright, beautiful day. But I have long contended that if you wait until the colorful leaves are on the earth, and coordinate your visit to the hill country with bad weather (including snow, or a cold, miserable rain) you will see something just as great or greater.

Letís not touch that chlorophyll thing with the proverbial 10-foot pole, except to say Dr. George Parker, Purdue professor of botany and co-author of the Purdue Pressí beautiful book, ďNative Trees of the Midwest,Ē tells me it does not winter over with the sap of a tree.

The real thing, at least in the book, for hundreds--even thousands--of upland game and waterfowl hunters, lies in the fact that the leaf-barren hills of the gorgeous land in question turns to a purple no artist or photograph can mock when a miserable day turns to a perfectly-miserable late fall or winter night.

I have witnessed this phenomenon of weather conditions many times when some form of hunting has lured me to the hinterlands. It seems that my vehicle (I have owned many) just seems to stop as I reach the transformation line between backcountry and civilization. I get out, or sit quietly for a minute or two to view the purple hills.

Purple Hills. Thatís all you need to say.

Yes, a trip to the Hill Country is worth the price of any gallon of gas. But you got to pick and choose the day.


DUCKS, DUCKS--As you probably know, early seasons on ducks and Canada geese have already closed in parts of the state while they are still open, or about to open, in other parts of the state.

First part of the Northern Zone season duck season of the North Zone netted 300 or 400 at Willow Slough, and 620 at Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area.

They arenít just exactly over run with birds now but there are more now than there were then (makes sense), and the second part of that season opens Oct. 28. It closes Dec 19.

The early South Zone season opened last Saturday and it will continue through Oct. 29. Waterfowl hunters reported bagging eight ducks at Atterbury State Fish and Wildlife Area last weekend, while they brought down 57 at Monroe Reservoirís duck-hunting (mostly Stillwater Marsh) complex..

These spots have a few more ducks now, but the big migration is yet to hit this part of the state.  The pictures painted by Ducks Unlimited are of a rosier hue.

Meanwhile, the second part of the North Zone season on Canada geese opens Saturday Oct. 28 and runs through Oct. 29. Most of the geese now are residents, not flight birds. It is too early for geese to move south from northern states and Canada The North Zone, incidentally, has two early seasons on geese. South and Ohio River zones have only one.

The South South Zone season on Canada geese is the same as the early season for ducks in that area (listed above). During the first season, waterfowlers bagged 6 honkers at Atterbury and 4 at Monroe. Not much movement of geese there, either.

Actually there may have been more wood ducks and geese taken in the state because we raise quite a number of both woodies and Canadas.

The Ohio River Zone season on both ducks and Canadas also opens for two days Saturday, Oct. 28.



 
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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