To set the matter straight: Yes, the rabbit season
closes Thursday [Jan. 31, 2008]--you can legally hunt dryshins that day.
No, the rabbit season does not close until Feb. 15. Swamp rabbits are protected.
What kind of gibberish is that?, you may ask .
. . justifiably. Well, itís a little complicated . . . maybe more than
Opening and closing dates of the general Upland
Game rabbit season is listed in the DFW Hunting Guide as Nov. 9, 2007 to
Feb. 15, 2008. That presumably includes the entire state.
So far, so good.
However, the same hunting guide tells me that
a special season on rabbits is open on a good number of state properties
only from Oct. 1, 2007 through Jan. 31, 2008.
Thus, although the general season on rabbits applies
to the entire state, it doesnít.
Frankly, I donít know whether rabbits can be
hunted after the special season or not. On Atterbury, Chinook, Blue Grass,
Crosley, Fairbanks Landing Glendale, Hillenbrand, Jasper Pulaski, Kankakee,
Kingsbury, LaSalle, Minnehaha, Sugar Ridge, Splinter Ridge, Pigeon River
Tri-County, Wilbur Wright, Willow Slough, and Winnamac State Fish and Wildlife
Areas or not. This same confusing regulation also applies to Brookville,
Hardy, Roush, Missinewa, Monroe, Patoka and Salamonie reservoir properties.
Hereís the gist of the situation. An employee
of the Division of Fishand Wildlife tells me the rabbit season does,
indeed, close on Jan. 31 at the aforementioned state properties. Thus,
do not go to these properties after said date (Jan. 31) expecting to hunt
Although folks at the DFW, keepers of the Hunting
Guide, seem to well understand the scenario (and I had that inkling), I
fear there are a lot of hunters, toting a lot of licenses, who donít because
of double talk.
Lindeman, Indianapolis, tells me an interesting story about hunting quail
on shooting preserves.
Last week Don had taken his Brittany, Sophie,
to Royal Flush, a shooting preserve south of Rockville in the western side
of the state for a training session on planted quail. The dog pointed a
single bird, and when it flushed, it buzz-bombed over a slight rise in
the terrain Don dropped it.
When they went over the rise looking for more
birds, they flushed a northern harrier, a large hawk, carrying a quail
that had been stocked for them. It was a northern harrier and it flopped
off with the bird they were hunting.
Owner of the preserve told Don the big guy, strictly
protected under state and federal law, hangs out at the preserve waiting
for a free lunch.
They simply watch for Brownís truck going around
the property as a cue to hunt.
Brown says there is nothing you can do about it.
Hawks and owls--all birds of prey--are strictly protected (big fine) by
both state and federal agencies.
harrier is a beautiful and big bird . . . maybe a wingspan of a yard.
It often hunts from perches or rides the air currents in a low, methodical,
speedy flight over harvested fields.
From my deer stand (10 feet above the earth against
a big walnut tree), I once was involved in a point-blank staring contest
with a harrier for more than a minute before I blinked. That sent the hawk
on his way.
Rep. John Ulmerís bill on the right to hunt, fish, and pursue game has
been assigned to the death committee by Sen. Patrick Bauer, Ulmer is to
be congratulated for the good fight that has been ongoing without success
since 2001. We can hope he will try again next year.
Elsewhere, HB 1060, and SB 45, similar Great Lakes
Compact measures designed to give our water more protection, have passed
respective houses and await further action in their new houses. They needed
to pass their originating houses by Wednesday.
HB 1046, the apprentice hunting license bill,
also passed the House last week and awaits Senate action.
January 31, 2008--Developing in the legislature is a
glimmering hope for the concept of the right to hunt, fish and pursue game,
but it still is more than somewhat nebulous.
The HJR resolution on the concept still is very
dead, assigned to a committee that is its deathbed, thanks to Sen. Patrick
Bauerís whimsical assignment
The glimmer of hope stems from the fact that Senator
Johnny Nugent, Sen. Don Waterman, Sen Wendell Hill, and Sen. Steele Hill
have rejuvenated the resolution on a vehicle bill. It now has passed the
House and is ready for third reading in the Senate as SJR Resolution 10.
The $64,000 question is will Sen. Bauerís in-your-face
whims outweigh the good work tht has been done.