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
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.
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
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