By Jeff Gambill
As another year comes to a close, it is time to look back and ruminate on the big events in the outdoor world in 2005: More land was acquired by the state Department of Natural Resources; the state of Indiana initiated a fall turkey season; Gander Mountain sporting goods opened in Terre Haute; and a potential state record buck was harvested in Morgan County.
-- Goose Pond — The IDNR purchased Goose Pond for $8 million last spring. It is one of the newest and largest state recreation areas in the Midwest, and it’s well within driving distance of Terre Haute.
Located 2 miles south of Linton on State Road 59, Goose Pond is an 8,000-acre ecosystem that adds to the already outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities found in Greene and Sullivan Counties. The new fish and wildlife area is now open to the public.
It is composed mostly of marsh and swamp ground, but there are also open fields, woods, and open water. The hunting on this property is outstanding for waterfowl, deer, and upland game.
For more information on the property, go to the Indiana DNR Web site.
-- Fall turkey hunting — This year marked the first fall turkey-hunting season in the state of Indiana.
Although a majority of counties in the Wabash Valley were restricted to bow (Owen and Greene Counties allowed shotgun) and I didn’t hear of any hunters harvesting toms, there is significance in the designation of this season. It shows that the turkey population across the state is thriving.
I am reminded of this success nearly every day on my drive to and from work as I see birds in the fields, particularly on those rainy days. I can’t wait until spring.
-- New outfitter opens — Terre Haute has always had several excellent sporting goods stores and still does. There was McMillans as well as The Wilderness Shop and Poff’s still remains a local institution.
For hunters and fishermen though, Gander Mountain is like heaven. Its Terre Haute store opened this year and is like an outdoorsman’s candy store.
The new store houses a bow shop, gun shop, ATV center, and fishing center. There is an enormous variety of guns, bows, fishing equipment, and hunting accessories for the outdoorsman. The store also includes areas for camping, ATVs, and household items.
Now when my wife goes to the mall, I can hit Gander Mountain.
-- Record buck — One of the top stories, that isn’t really a story yet, is the enormous buck that was harvested by shotgun in Morgan County this year.
It is now posted on the Boone and Crockett Web site as a potential state record. The buck has not been officially scored yet because there a drying period before the rack can be scored.
Not much is known about the hunter or the details of the hunt. The rumor mill is churning because of this, but it sounds like the hunter is just being careful. There is a lot of money at stake when any kind of record buck is taken, so we will not hear the story of this buck until the spring.
For those of you who would like to see the buck, it can be found at the following web address: www.boone-crockett.org/news/trophyWatch_detail.asp?area=news&ID;=04DCBC41-2A3A-4487-A227-2A68E6DE5BE1
Good luck typing all those letters and numbers, but nothing comes easy.
As for me, 2005 was uneventful on the outdoors front, but was very eventful for my family. My wife and I had our third baby, a little girl, so it was a great year for me.
Well, here’s to 2005. I hope 2006 brings you a full stringer, a gobbler up close, and venison in the freezer.
Whitetails Unlimited is hosting its annual banquet Jan. 14 at the Zorah Shrine Temple in Terre Haute. For more information on tickets and times contact Rick Lasure at (812) 533-9494.
Also, don’t forget about the free turkey hunting clinic being given by Chris Parrish of the Knight and Hale pro team at the Clay County Fairgrounds on Jan. 7. The event begins at 9 a.m. and will go until 11 a.m.
There will be a free breakfast at 7:30 a.m. First Christian Church of Brazil and Union Christian Church are sponsoring the seminar. There will be door prizes as well. Admission is free; however, donations will be accepted.