"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Canada Goose Harvest Figures
Copyright © 2008 by Bill Scifres

The Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Fish and Wildlife did not have any harvest or hunter details yesterday on the special Canada goose season that ended Feb. 15, but from where I sit the total harvest for that season appears to have topped 2,000 birds.

To say how many free permits were issued, and how many were used is much too much to ask of the special season that ended Feb. 15.

Thus, in my own most unscientific manner, I report that my estimate two weeks ago of 1,000 birds harvested probably was about half right. That is to say that the reported harvest was a tad over 2,000--like 1,858, give or take a few honkers.

Adam Phelps, the DFW’s waterfowl biologist, did not have totals of birds checked in at the seven state fish and wildlife properties, but expected to have it ironed out soon.

My own unscientific investigation points toward harvest figures at the seven check stations as: Kankakee State Fish and Wildlife Area of 107 birds (not necessarily all taken there); Minnehaha, 340 geese; Atterbury, 12 geese; Goose Pond. 37 birds; Tri-County, 618 birds; Kingsbury, 290 birds, and Pigeon River, 454 geese.  With a little luck, those figures will figure out to1,858 birds. 

That amounts to the proverbial “drop in a bucket” when you consider the fact that the scientific guys bandy about a state population figure of 200,000 resident Canadas messing up countless convertible seats, driveways, sidewalks, lawns that people do not want to see being used as Canada bathrooms. But it is a start—1,858 Canadas in roaster pans beats that many on the hoof, according to Hoyle. Still, it is only a start.

The DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service still have another multi faceted plan up their dirty little sleeves to give the Canada’s nesting efforts another round of dirty tricks, (You will not read the details of which in this column or its fellow web page).

In the meantime, the feds and local protectors of wildlife will continue to wrack their feeble you-know-whats to bring Canada geese into perspective when there are others quite willing to help.

That would include market hunters who started with front end scatterguns to eradicate the passenger pigeon. Of course, we do not want to eradicate Canadas--just control them. 

So let the market hunters control Canadas. When populations are right, stop the shoot-for-pay boys.

Wildlife management is that easy . . . that humane.

SPRING SPRINGS--Don’t look now--it is sure to go away temporarily if it knows you see it--but these warmish days are a prelude to spring, the snow flowers on the threshold of bloom in my front yard, and the full-blast run of the Sports Show that closes Sunday.

It translates into fishing for the three spring, and late winter species--suckers, sauger, and crappie.

Actually, the latter two have been at the bite for some time. But the crappies (alias old paper mouth) are just warming up now. Oh, sure! As the sun comes north the crappies will enter a full blast feeding binge, but they are good fishing and exquisite eating now. A bit slow, maybe, and chilly fishing, but if you dress as the temperature and wind dictate, it is good to be out there.

Small minnows--those between one and two inches--are reputedly the best offering you can make, fished three or four feet deep in 10 to 15 feet of water. The bobber should be slight and elongated because the crappie is a light biter. At times, the crappie takes the bait so lightly that even a quill bobber only moves on the surface. Nevertheless, such situations tell the angler it is time to set the hook. 

Set the hook softly--crappies, at times, only have the minnow (not the hook) and they get more vigorous when you pull the bait out of their mouths. Give them another chance.

The bobber moving on the surface does not indicate the size of the fish. Even big crappies can be lazy.

When I fish crappies with live minnows--or some other natural bait--I like three poles (that is legal) with two poles (one to two hooks each) baited with live bait, and a third pole rigged for casting very small artificial lures below a casting bobber. This pole is, of course, a long and it is used to find schools of fish.

If fishing alone from a boat, I place the live bait poles out the transom of the boat 15 or 20 feet at angles (to keep them well apart) and cast the artificial bait rig as far between the other poles as I can. This helps to find the schools and may pull schooled fish to my other poles. Once I find a school, I work them over with minnows. The action can get so fast that you have to use only one pole.

I may slip quietly around the banks a body of standing water if I am floating until I find fish. If bank fishing, I select a bay-type spot or one where a creek or drainage ditch enters the water. Points of land produce well, too. Actually, you can’t see it because it is inundated, but spots where the bottom drops foot or so are excellent travel lanes. These can be roughly located by studying the contour of the dry banks.

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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