"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Charles Deam
Copyright © 2009 by Bill Scifres

CHARLES DEAM – For many years, his name has meant good information on the natural world for conservationists and those interested in trees, flowers and the like. 

His work was like an outdoor encyclopedia on the hoof. We all knew him, or at least his work. He died many years ago, but his work in the natural resources field will live forever. At this moment, I glance to my right and there in my bookshelves sits his book on Indiana Trees.

He was the first real expert on wild things, not to mention the fact that he is the so-called father of our 13 Indiana State Forests system.

I could recite his doings all day, and scarcely touch them. But the purpose of this it is to point out that the Indiana Wildlife Federation, the oldest conservation organization of the state, is staging “Footprints,” a program on the late Mr. Deam’s life and work by Sam Carmen of the Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry, who mimicks Mr. Deam.

It will be a luncheon affair at the State Museum, 650 West Washington Street, in Indianapolis. The buy-your-own- lunch is set for noon, April 18 in the museum cafeteria, and Carmen’s program on Mr. Deam is set for 1 p.m.

Still another feature of the program will be a special exhibit of Indiana wildlife from the Ice Age to the present. Viewing of this exhibit will be available after Carmen’s presentation of Mr. Deam’s life and work. 

Ticket information is available by calling the Federation, 800-347-3445.

In one ball of wax, it is a program that all Hoosiers should attend.

HOP TO IT – With the season on frogs closing April 30 (until June 15), there is a lot of time left to take a dinner of fried frog legs. But at this time of year it takes a warm spell to bring them out at night . . . the customary time to take them.

The old-fashioned frog hunt on a hot, dark night of summer still is a great outdoor experience, even if the cooler nights of spring keep frogs from spending a lot of time on the shore where they are vulnerable to hunters (and the raccoons that feed on them). However, in the cooler temperatures of spring, frogs still make themselves more available by day. At night time, the custom is blinding them with the beam of a flashlight, but they still can be taken in spring.

Often, in spring, by day, frogs do not go to dry land . . . as they do at night . . . but sit high and dry for catching insects (and small water inhabitants) in the edge, or fully, in water. At this time, a fishhook dressed with any color of cloth or hair will put them on the feed. At times, even a small artificial lure cast close to them and twitched gently will hook the prey.

Actually, I think frogs have a better taste in the spring than those taken in the summer because the water they live in is more free of mud and other untasty elements.
Some outdoors folks – including some biologists – do not agree with my thinking that a burgeoning raccoon population can be held responsible for a downturn in frog populations. But I find it rather conclusive that ‘coon populations went up as frog numbers declined. Of course, other wild animals and birds had their fingers in the pie. 

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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