posted on August 02, 2004 00:00
Outdoors: Skip Hess
Fall turkey hunting season added
August 1, 2004
The majority of turkey and deer hunters got what they asked for for the 2005-06 hunting seasons at public hearings held by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife division.
The Natural Resources Commission has approved a fall hunting season for wild turkeys.
The decision to propose a fall turkey hunting season was actually a no-brainer for the DNR.
Indiana is the only Midwest state that does not allow a fall turkey season.
The spring season (April 21 to May 9) will remain the same. The proposed fall season for hunting turkeys with bow and arrow will be from Oct. 1-23. The fall firearms turkey hunting season will be from Oct. 19-23, meaning some bow and arrow dates overlap with firearms hunting dates.
There was also concern about hunters being required to wear orange clothing during the fall turkey season.
The division created a stir among many hunters who insisted that instead of making hunting safer, orange clothing would make it more dangerous for them. They said orange clothing could be confused with colors on a turkey, making hunters either moving or sitting targets.
In its written report to the commission, the division stated:
"Due to the overwhelming public input against the proposed hunter orange requirement, the DNR is recommending that the hunter orange requirement be removed."
At the urging of hunters, the DNR has also proposed that persons other than the hunter be allowed to take a turkey to a check station and to extend the check-in time from 24 hours to 48 hours.
These changes would allow hunters to get turkeys to check stations without missing work or school. Hunters said, and the DNR agreed, that turkeys are normally taken late in the day and that they can't report their game because check stations have closed.
"By allowing additional time and additional persons for checking will make it more convenient to get the turkey properly checked and will decrease unintentional violations that may be caused by short check station hours," according to the report.
Also, the DNR would allow shotguns and muzzle loaders not smaller than 20 gauge and not larger than 10 gauge loaded with shot size of 4, 5, 6, 7 or 71/2 for turkey hunting.
The current rule does not allow "odd gauge" muzzle loaders.
In the DNR's report on the fall turkey hunting season, Rush and Shelby counties were noted for the addition of a spring turkey season for the first time in 2005.
The DNR explained that wild turkeys in those counties have gone through five complete production seasons.
This can be attributed to a wild turkey restoration program in Indiana in which 156 wild turkeys were trapped and relocated at nine sites.
Two of those sites were in Rush and Shelby counties.
There were four males and 11 females released in Henry and Rush counties and four males and 11 females released in Rush, Shelby and Hancock counties.
According to a 2003 DNR spring wild turkey survey of check stations, 40,000 to 50,000 hunters harvested 10,366 wild turkeys in 82 of the state's 90 counties opened to hunting.
In its report, the DNR said that counties included in the fall hunt won't be disclosed until the department's 2005-06 Hunting and Trapping Guide is released.
A safe bet on where the fall seasons will be allowed will be Switzerland, Warrick, Washington, Perry, Orange, Parke, Ripley, Spencer, Pike, Ohio, Martin and Ripley counties, where spring harvests are in the 100-400 range.
Don't look for fall seasons in Marion, Randolph, Madison and Tipton counties. No turkeys were harvested in those counties in 2003. Few turkeys were taken in Wells, White, Porter, Vanderburgh, Whitley and Noble counties, so they are likely out, too.
As for ruffed grouse season, the season of Oct. 1-Dec. 31 will remain. The commission declined to shorten the season from Oct. 1-Nov. 9.
Because the coyote population is increasing and creating problems in cities, the commission extended the hunting season from Oct. 15-Feb. 28 to Oct. 15-March 15.
The coyote trapping season was extended from Oct. 15-Jan. 31 to Oct. 15-March 15.
Skip Hess is the outdoors columnist for The Indianapolis Star. Call (317) 862-1994 or e-mail email@example.com .