"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Recently Established Fish And Wildlife Action Committee Long Overdue
Copyright © 2007 by Bill Scifres

This may sound like a world-record mass of acronymic gibber, but bear with me. The formation of this new panel of sorts may spell out better cooperation between conservationists and the Legislature in matters concerned with wildlife and natural resources.

Sounds kind of goofy, eh? Well, that is just a start. Maybe I can further complicate it. Or maybe it will make some sense--even a lot--of sense.

How and where to start?

Well, as this column has sounded like a broken-record on the matter for “yeah, these many years,” it would seem that the place to start would be do an instant replay that explains that there is a dire need for good cooperation between the two sides--conservationists and legislators. You see, as this column has believed (since they knocked the corners off square wheels in the Neolithic Age) the members of the Legislature at large and over the years have shown a marked disregard for some matters involved in natural and wildlife resources. Occasionally the Legislature has done some good things for these important elements, but they have been the exception, rather than the rule. In short, we (the conservationists) can’t always count our chickens before they are hatched. We still can’t do that, but maybe we are getting closer.

The acronym for this old organization was (FWCC) Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee. It was/is made up of individuals from conservation groups of the state and employees of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The big rub was/is the fact that members of this panel can’t be involved because of the obvious when consideration of some real meat issues are hand. At quarterly meetings DNR representatives simply did not participate. Cumbersome, and this condition eliminates some fine minds.

To circumvent this situation, this new organization was formed (FWAC) Fish and Wildlife Action Committee, a group that embraces the organizations of the FWCC, but not those who are DNR employees.

So now the FWAC and the FWCC meet separately without fear of political reprisal from the DNR’s political brass.

The newly formed FWAC is co-chaired by John Goss, a former director of the DNR who was a political victim when the chair-sitter of the governor changed, and who now serves as president of the Indiana Wildlife Federation (IWF), and Jack Corpuz, Indiana president of Pheasants Forever.

Currently, the membership of the new FWAC is about the same as the FWCC, not counting the DNR reps. This may, or may not, change in the future. It all depends on the thinking of members. I can see how greater representation might both help and hinder the cause.

However, no matter how that goes in the future, the formation of the FWAC seems to be a step that was long overdue. Time alone will tell the story.


I have had the opportunity this winter to observe pileated woodpeckers at close range, and at least one of the three birds I have seen has thrown me for a coloration loop that is baffling.

One bird I see--the sexes are look-alikes--has the beautiful black body, but at the side (it seems a strange feather starts at about the point on the side where the wing joins the body) it is about half-an-inch wide, and runs down to the tail. It may only cover the body.

It is a pale maroon, not red and not brown. It contrasts with the black very well.

It makes me wonder if this color occurs only occasionally or if my close encounters simply make it visible. Perhaps others have observed it.


Out-of-state gun interest is trying to round up Hoosier front-enders to get more loads added to what they will probably get at the next Conservation Commission meeting. It seems to me that muzzleloader enthusiasts are already getting more than shotgunners and that our guys are handling this issue very well (without their “help”).

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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