With some of our hunting seasons closed (a tip-of-the-iceberg
thing), we enter the second week of the new year with four species
still offering some outdoor action--waterfowl, rabbits, squirrel and quail
(south of U.S. 40)--until Jan.31
To keep it all straight for you, the duck season
ended in the North Zone (basically the northern third of the state) on
Dec. 19, closes in the South Zone (the southern two-thirds) on Jan. 11,
and the Ohio River Zone (a narrow strip along the Ohio River) on Jan.21.
For Canada geese the closing dates are Jan. 8 in the North Zone,
Jan. 6 in the Southern James Bay Population Zone, Jan 28 in the South
Zone, and Jan. 31 in the Ohio River Zone.
A special season on light geese will open Feb.
1 and continue through March 31 for those who have a permit to take snow
and blue geese and others of that species. The permits are free at any
Fish and Wildlife area reservoir office. Other waterfowl regulations will
The special season is being tried by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service to cut the number of these birds that are said
to be so numerous that they are destroying their breeding ranges in Canada.
The season on rabbits statewide closes Jan. 31.
The season on squirrels closed Dec. 31 in that
part of the state north of U. S. 40, but it remains open to Jan 31 south
of that highway. Squirrels, too, have had booming reproductive success.
So what does one hunt for at this beginning of
the end until wild turkey strut their stuff in the spring? Well, there
is a pretty good slug of waterfowl in the state and the weatherman has
been cooperating with plenty of surface water and the warmest December
I have seen.
As of last week’s waterfowl survey, Division of
Fish and Wildlife biologists found some 5,000 ducks (mostly the bread and
butter mallard) on the northern areas involved, and some 8,000 (also mainly
mallards) on the more-numerous southern areas. Add (speculate) the fact
that birds hanging out on small surface water will boost those numbers
and you are focused on some pretty good duck hunting. Of course squirrels
are fat and sassy now, thanks to Indiana’s field corn. They make delightful
dishes of squirrel dumplings at this juncture, but they can be fried, too,
if you steam them after frying. Note: How to make rolled-out
dumplings (gramma style) will be found on this website (www.bayoubill.com).
With streams and rivers bulging with recent rains,
the best bet could be a floating jump shoot for ducks and squirrels on
mid-sized to larger streams and rivers in the areas where both are open.
But an afternoon of gunning over blocks has some potential.
The quail? Well, you should have the services
of a pretty good dead-bird dog if you are going to hunt them, but there
are some birds around, albeit the annual harvest is enough to make dyed-in-the-wool
bird hunters cry when compared to that of yesteryear. The Bob White quail
is such a marvelous citizen, both in the field and in the pan.
Rabbit, as you suspected, are spotty, as usual.
Find good, heavy cover, and there probably are some rabbits about. This
warm winter probably has kept some in a reproductive mode. Your best bet
will be found at old homesteads where buildings, or ruins thereof, remain.
But rabbits, like other wild critters, are where you find them.
Indiana Conservarion Alliance (INCA) will stage its third annual Conservation
Day at the Statehouse Rotunda on Jan. 23 in the morning. Member organizations
set up tables that explain their conservation projects and legislators,
and other citizens are invited to attend.
The organization is working to further its conservation-funding
ideas to help legislators. INCA wants $6-million budgeted for Indiana Heritage
Trust, $6-million for the state clean water program, and $1 million for
farmland protection and lane use.
Watch programs will be staged at Patoka Reservoir (phone, 812-685-2447),
Jan. 13, and Cecil M Harden Lake, Feb. 10 (phone, 765-344-1884).