"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Squirrel Caches
Copyright © 2007 by Bill Scifres
Now that winter weather is here--if not winter proper (usually Dec.21) I have heard authoritatively that fox squirrels bury their winter supplies in the earth and that gray squirrels cache in tree hollows.
I didn’t want to make an issue of such statements, but I did not agree.
I have always seen both gray and fox squirrels bury food supplies in the earth (one parcel of food at each place) and red squirrels cache in hollow trees and other secluded places.
Still, the idea was so interesting--from such an authority--that I was moved to ask around about this natural phenomenon. 
Phil Hawkins, the Franklin outdoors wizard friend, agrees with my assessment of the situation . . . saying that he has never observed it any other way.
To make certain we were both thinking with our heads on straight, I asked Dr. Harmon P. Weeks, the Purdue University wildlife expert, “what was what.” 
He confirmed my version of the story, saying fox and gray squirrels are known to scientists as “scatter hoarders,” and that red squirrels are known as “larder hoarders.” He explained that the former place one nut or acorn at each place and that red squirrels cache, or place many morsels in the hollow of a tree or other protected places.

LATE GOOSE--The DNR has passed a temporary rule establishing an experimental 2008 February Canada goose hunting season in selected areas in an attempt to control the population of breeding Canada geese in and around urban areas.

Counties where geese can be hunted during that season, which runs Feb. 1-15, include Steuben, LaGrange, Elkhart, St. Joseph, La Porte, Starke, Marshall, Kosciusko, Noble, De Kalb, Allen, Whitley, Huntington, Wells, Adams, Boone, Hamilton, Madison, Hendricks, Marion, Hancock, Morgan, Johnson, Shelby, Vermillion, Parke, Vigo, Clay, Sullivan, and Greene.

Adam Phelps, DNR waterfowl biologist, says populations of breeding Canada geese in Indiana appear to have leveled off during the past few years at about 125,000. The DNR's target population for reducing human-geese conflicts in urban areas is 80,000. 

“We chose February because it's when geese are most likely to leave cities and towns,” Phelps said. “Urban ponds are most likely to be frozen in February, and grass is most likely to be covered with snow.

"These two conditions may force urban geese into agricultural fields outside of town to feed, where it is usually safe and legal--in season--to hunt them.”

Indiana has used a September season on locally breeding geese for many years. The new "late" season gives wildlife managers another tool to manage local goose populations, and gives waterfowl hunters more days afield.

The bag limit for the experimental season is five Canada geese per day, with a possession limit of 10, same as for the September season. Shooting hours are from a half-hour before sunrise to sunset.

The same regulations and restrictions that apply during the September season apply during the February season. In addition to a valid hunting license, signed Indiana waterfowl stamp (unless exempt), a federal duck stamp, and an HIP (Harvest Information Program) number, a free permit is also required. Free permits are available at (812) 334-3795, goosehuntingpermit@dnr.in.gov, or any state Fish and Wildlife Area, field office, or reservoir during regular January hours. 

Hunters must check all geese harvested at a check station. Geese must have the head, a fully feathered wing, and reproductive parts still attached when the bird is checked. Check station staff will age and sex each bird, and will remove and keep the head of all adult birds checked. These heads are measured to determine whether each bird is a Canadian migrant or a local breeder. 
This process is required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether more locally breeding geese are being harvested than Canadian-breeding (“migrant”) geese.

This temporary rule also establishes a one-year Feb. 1 to March 31 season for the lesser snow goose and Ross's goose. The HIP number and federal duck stamp are not required to take a lesser snow goose or a Ross's goose.

PHOTO CONTEST--July 15 is the deadline for submitting a maximum of three photos taken at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area over the last two years. Suggested subjects include landscapes, seasons, activities, flora and fauna.

Photo entries must be submitted electronically to goosepondphoto@yahoo.com, with the  name of photographer, mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, and number of photos attached.

Each photo must be accompanied by a caption with the photographer’s name and a number identification (e.g., "1.3" would indicate that a photo would be the first of three photos submitted).

For more information, please contact Cam Trampke, secretary of Friends of Goose Pond, (812)659-9901. 

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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