"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Politics And Wildlife Management
Copyright © 2007 by Bill Scifres

Well, it is January 1, 2007, the new calendar notes, and I now can tell you a few things about the deer situation--more specifically, the way things look, at the moment, for deer-pen-hunting as the Indiana General Assembly prepares to lay its erudite lawmaking skills on us.

I think, at this time, I probably should tell you the Legislature will convene January 8, the House of Representatives at 1 p.m., and the Senate at 1:30. It might also be a good idea for me to point out that our lawmaking body (the two of them) are estimated by a conservationist to be comprised of a hefty 5 (as in five) politicos who know the differences in a wood duck and a woodchuck. A smattering know the difference, and some of the legislators who “know not” sometimes listen to their wisdom. But generally, they are pretty much fogged on the issues involved in wildlife management. Likewise, some of those charged with wildlife management jobs are fogged on that, too. It seems, to conservationists, that legislators hailing from the boonies know more about management of natural resources than do their city brethren (there is a charge of the DNR, you know, and maybe the DFW, but many haven’t the slightest inkling what it says).

To their credit, most of the wildlife managers have a pretty good handle on how deer-pen hunting should be handled. But too much water has crossed the dam (oops! I mean greenbacks have changed hands . . . a matter of record) for that to matter.

Like it or not, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats can be blamed for our foibles. And I suppose--if an independent may some day be elected Governor--the situation will survive. Elect a governor, and he immediately starts giving political cronies state jobs. It is a way of life in our state. And in this case, resources often suffer. State government is our largest employer, it is said. 

Oh, yes! Deer-pen hunting. I was going to spill the beans on deer-pen hunting. Well, my crystal ball for the issue is somewhat fogged, at this reading. But it now appears the Legislature will vault back into the picture sort of  “off again, on again, gone again--Finigan.”

What is being somewhat proposed by some stalwarts at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is a bill that would include some of the ancient and forgotton verbage from last year’s unsuccessful legislation

That bill, championed by Rep. John Ulmer, one of those “in-the-know” legislators, (R-Goshen), suggested that we should give game farm operators seven years to recoup possible losses and go back to some legitimate business. Currently, the DNR is rather locked into a plan that would give deer-pen operators 12 years to get out of the deer-pen business. Of course, some other features of that old legislation may be considered, too.

The way I see it, we would all be better off (especially the resources) if the Legislators would step back, put their thumbs in their galluses, and tell the DNR and its satellite, the Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), to forget politics and do its job--firing those who can’t comply.

 “Oh, you’ll never get the Legislature to give in on passing the buck on management of wildlife to those who are trained resource managers.” Well, we didn’t think the lawmakers would give up setting hunting seasons, or establishing price schedules for hunting/fishing license prices, either. They did both for many years. But they did. They gave both up.


You also probably will see the so-called “Right-to-Hunt” bill back in the general assembly this year with those who hunt, fish, and pursue wild game squarely behind the author--the aforementioned Rep. Ulmer. It passed two years ago, but it is required to pass again, after an election.

It gives those who hunt, fish, and pursue wild critters the right to do so. 

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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