By Jeff Gambill
It’s the “dog days” of winter. The hunting seasons are winding down, fishing is just a dream, and turkey season is too far off to comprehend. This is the last weekend for rabbit hunting and squirrel hunting for those of you south of U.S. 40. Thanks to the mild temperatures we are having, it might be a good idea to squeeze in that last hunt of the year. What’s worse, there’s not even enough ice on the lakes and ponds for ice fishing. That’s another year for my little poles and tackle to gather dust. This has been a freakish winter season; not that I’m complaining. This time of the year looks bleak, but not entirely.
Winter is the time for banquets and conventions. The 9th annual Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation big game banquet will be held on February 4th at the Zorah Shrine Temple in Terre Haute. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. with an auction at 7:30 p.m. Anyone interested in tickets should contact Chris Wrede at (812) 232-0107 or Bill Harris at (812) 240-6317. Tickets will not be available at the door.
The Indianapolis Boat, Sport, and Travel Show will begin on February 17th at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. In conjunction with the show, the Indiana Deer and Turkey Expo will start the same date and run through the opening weekend. This is always a good day to spend listening to expert hunters and fishermen, buy new tackle, and pick up travel brochures to plan summer vacations. What a great way to cure the cabin fever (or make it worse).
I think this weekend I’ll have to get my beagle out one last time for the year. He’s a little lame right now, but he keeps on hunting. If that doesn’t work out, I guess I can shoot some crows. They’re in until March and there are plenty of them.
For hunters who are interested in turkey hunting public land, the IDNR is planning reserve hunts at 16 DNR properties, one military property and two national wildlife refuge areas during the 2006 spring turkey season.
To apply for these hunts, interested parties can apply online at www.wildlife.IN.gov. This year’s spring turkey season runs April 26 to May 14.
Mail-in turkey hunt reservation cards are in the 2005-2006 Indiana Hunting and Trapping Guide, available at most sport license vendors and DNR property offices. The DNR reserved turkey hunt reservation deadline is March 15. All applicants will be notified of the results by mail.
The hunter who is fortunate enough to be drawn will share the public acreage with only a handful of other hunters. Last year, I was fortunate to be drawn at Fairbanks Landing. I didn’t see a hunter in the field the entire three days of my reserve hunt. It is well worth applying.
Jasper-Pulaski, Kingsbury, LaSalle, Pigeon River, Tri-County, Willow Slough, Winamac, Crosley and Splinter Ridge Fish and Wildlife areas and Roush, Mississinewa and Salamonie lakes will conduct five, three-day reserved hunts and two, two-day reserved hunts. Hunting dates for these areas are:
n April 26, 27, 28
n April 29, 30
n May 1, 2, 3
n May 4, 5, 6
n May 7, 8, 9
n May 10, 11, 12
n May 13, 14
Atterbury, Glendale, Hovey Lake, Hillenbrand, Fairbanks Landing and Minnehaha Fish and Wildlife areas and Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge, will hold two, three-day reserved hunts. The hunting dates for these areas are:
n April 26, 27, 28
n April 29, 30, May 1
After the reserved hunts, Atterbury, Fairbanks Landing, Glendale, Hovey Lake, Hillenbrand and Minnehaha Fish and Wildlife areas will be open for turkey hunting from May 2 to the end of the season, May 14.
A daily drawing may be conducted each morning at the property, if necessary, to allocate hunting locations. A hunter must obtain a daily hunting permit at the property’s check station to legally hunt on these fish and wildlife areas.
Kankakee and Sugar Ridge Fish and Wildlife areas and several reservoirs will offer self-service check-in hunting for the entire spring wild turkey season, April 26 to May 14.
Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area conducts five, two-day hunts at Atterbury Military Maneuver and Training Center. Atterbury Military Maneuver and Training Center reserved hunts take place on the following dates:
n April 26, 27
n May 1, 2
n May 3, 4
n May 8, 9
n May 10, 11
Hunter Education certification is required to hunt at Atterbury MMTC.
Only selected individuals will be permitted to hunt on most properties. Selected hunters will not be allowed to bring a partner. However, hunters drawn to hunt Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge will still be required to bring a partner to hunt.
Selected hunters must be checked in at the property check station by 4:30 each morning of their hunt. Hunting spots that are not claimed by 4:30 a.m. will be filled with stand-by hunters. Roush Lake, Fairbanks Landing, Hillenbrand, Splinter Ridge Fish and Wildlife areas, Mississinewa and Salamonie reservoirs will not conduct no-show drawings.
Reservation hunts are non-transferable, except when a selected hunter wishes to transfer his/her reservation to a hunter 16 years old or younger and takes that hunter hunting on the reserved days. If the selected hunter harvests a turkey prior to his/her reserved hunt, or on one of his/her reserved hunt dates, the selected hunter forfeits the remainder of the reserved hunt dates.
For additional information, call the property office where you wish to hunt.