"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Hunting Seasons Have Begun
Copyright © 2008 by Bill Scifres

Aside from the fact that the statewide season on squirrels opened last month, the arrival of September spells out two important issues for Hoosier nimrods.

First of all it brings Labor Day, and consequently the beginning of hunting seasons, however earnest that may be. There is a passle of other season openings to come in the next month or so and some of them may be considered more important than doves, teal, geese and those for some minor early-migrating birds. Suffice it to say that hunting doves, teal, wood ducks, and geese constitute a pretty decent bag.

For example, I will take a brace of wood ducks on the din-din table to all other huntable species. But I still like them all. Be that as it is, here’s a thumbnail sketch on the various species of early migrating game birds that opened last Monday: However, whoever invented leg quarters of blacks and mallards knew of which he invented. 

The closing dates, and daily bag limits are, by species, as follows: sora rail, Nov. 9, 25; mourning dove, Oct. 16, 15; snipe, Dec. 16, 8, and Canada geese, Sept. 15, 5. The early season for these seasons opened Sept. 1.

The season for woodcock opens Oct. 15 and closes Nov. 28 with a daily bag of 5.

The teal season opens Sept. 6 and closes Sept. 21 with a daily bag of four birds.  The Sept. 6 opener was delayed from the traditional 

Sept 1 date because we have more teal in the southern part of the state a bit later. This delay also offers three weekends of hunting.

The first part of the split regular season opens in October for other species of waterfowl, but the big news there is the daily bag on wood ducks. It will be three instead of the customary two. Wood ducks will not be allowed in the early teal season.

WATER, WATER--One of the big concerns for both early teal and the later waterfowl seasons has always been a shortage of surface water when these seasons roll around. We kind of dry up when late summer rolls around.

This may seem a remote possibility this year with our rainy spring and summer, but we are nearing these conditions now and they seem to be worsening, Smaller and mid-sized streams are getting lower by the day, and this could put us in the customary low-water boat when waterfowl seasons arrive.

We’ll see!

SILEAGE CUTTING--One of the conditions that will be a great aid to dove and Canada goose hunters in the early seasons is the cutting of silage last week by some farmers.

Farm machines--a great variety of them--can be the best friends many species of birds and animals have. Spilled grains--no matter where they are spilled--provide excellent food for wildlife and the machines often cooperate. This provides food for wildlife.  A few years back we got a ruling from the US. Fish and Wildlife Service, administrator of migratory birds, on what constitutes a farm operation spill and a definition of baiting which is illegal. 

The feds said grain spilled by normal farm operations is not considered baiting. Scattering grains, and other foods for the express purpose of drawing birds or animals is baiting and illegal.

DON’T FORGET--You need a HIP number (Harvest Information Program) to hunt doves, waterfowl, and other migratory birds. Prospective hunters may get their HIP number on line at www.wildlife.IN.gov or by telephone, 866-671-4499.

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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