The firearms deer season is opening, a 16-day
run Saturday for firearms through Dec. 3, and will count something like
60,000 deer for Hoosier hunters and their brethren from other states who
run smack-dab into one of their busiest times of the year.
When the smoke clears, the gun season is expected
by Dr. Jim Mitchell, Indiana deer biologist, to be pretty much like last
year’s seasons when a total of 125,500 deer were said to have been taken
by residents and out-of-staters for all seasons. That, by the way, was
another state record harvest.
Mitchell breaks down harvest figures from last
year as 23,700 for bow hunters, 29,700 for muzzle loader enthusiasts, with
the remaining deer accounted for by shotgun hunters (12, 16, and 20 gauges,
as the numbers get bigger, the bores get smaller). That’s about the way
modern-day seasons go. The shotgun hunters must use rifled slugs, of course.
It seems that we can’t kill enough deer to satisfy
the insurance people and some landowners, although rank-and-file Hoosiers
rather like to have them around. It is, indeed, regrettable when someone
is injured in an automobile collision with a deer. We have close to 10,000
per year. Cars hit many things, including trees and utility poles. Last
season was the fifth consecutive state harvest record.
Another regrettable facet of the picture revolves
around the fact that three or four hunters may die in deer-stand falls,
and a non-reported number will suffer injuries in the same, although most
of these will not be reported. Experiments at the national level point
out that safety belts won’t do
much for you except keep you alive, if you are left hanging, for less than
half of one minute. The real thing is a parachute-type
full-body harness that will suspend you head-up. But even that is limited
in life-saving value.
ALWAYS DO GOOD—
The newsy people of of an Indianapolis TV channel
are in the throes of educating the public on the evils that lurk out there.
It has twice done a job (no pun intended) on the Department of Natural
Resources’ (DNR’s) paid pheasant-hunting program (without retractions,
or corrections) on how said program is a rip-off of the public tax dollar.
How sad that somebody did a half-way news clip on the program that allows
(and has for many years) thousands of Hoosiers to experience the joys of
hunting the big bird at a time when they otherwise could not do this. It
(paid shooting) ain’t for me, (this hunting of pen-raised critters is strictly
“for the birds” in my book), but the birds (except for mop-up) are always
used up in 10 or 12 days (they create a bunch of delightful dishes).
It would seem that someone either didn’t know
(or failed to report} that the paid-hunting program has been self-supporting
since the DNR started buying the birds, maybe before. The DNR charges $15
for two birds--a total, mathematically, of at least or $150,000--$10,000
profit. I do not consider myself the sharpest tack in the box, but seven
times 20,000 comes out $140,000 on my computer without “taxing” my faulty
The naked truth is: several people in the Division
of Fish and Wildlife, operator of the program and a satellite of the DNR,
have been opposed to the program since I broke into the newsy business
more than 50 years ago when I wrote the VERY FIRST column about it (the
institution of the program). Whether the source divulged all of the information,
or whether the TV channel reporter failed to use it all, is a matter of
speculatoin. But the paid pheasant program is nothing but GOOD, for any
cost it incurs, TV and DNR foes be damned.
Several persons have inquired about daily bag
limits on upland game species since the season for these species opened
last Friday (Nov. 10), so I will repeat them here to help those who don’t
know and do not have a copy of the DNR's “Indiana
Hunting & Trapping Guide" which is published at mid-summer each
year. Incidentally it is free for the asking from most hunting license
vendors throughout the state and the publisher.
Here, by species, are the bag limits, plus closing
dates of the upland game seasons.
per day, Jan 31, 2007. This includes a number of state fish and wildlife
areas and some other state-operated properties where the season opened
of State Road 26, Dec. 24, five per day; South of SR 26, Jan. 15, eight
per day. The DNR says bag limits differ for the two parts of the state
because quail populations are better in the south.
birds only)--Dec. 24, two per day.The prime pheasant range will be found
in the northern-tier counties (say two o three deep from the northern border,
but some birds may be found in any part of the state. The paid-hunting
program starts Saturday (Nov. 18).