The Herald Bulletin

January 16, 2013

Rick Bramwell: Outdoors in state of flux

— Outdoor folks will tell you that things seldom stay the same. Good fishing holes go sour and fine rabbit cover gets developed. Sometimes the change can be abrupt.

I’ve been writing about this hot pond where Bob May and I have been catching rather large bluegill. The pond is small and getting smaller. When we ice fished, the pond was down about 15 feet; the result of corrosion in the overflow pipe. The little lake seemed to stabilize at nine feet.

Recent flooding raised the water level some 20 feet. The pressure broke the overflow pipe free. Now, water is rushing out the bottom of the dam. The owner is not certain if he will lose all the water, but it is likely. We might be able to pour cement down the vertical hole to stop the leak, but that is a long shot.

Sunday evening, I walked to check my mail. Directly across the road was a pack of coyotes howling at another pack behind my neighbor’s house. Daisy, my beagle, was in the back yard.

I crossed the road, got out my rabbit squealer, and hid behind a telephone pole. Those coyotes came right for that rabbit and me. When I could stand the excitement no longer I stepped out and yelled. The night air grew quickly silent.

I have been hunting rabbits without a gun. There is nearly a possession limit, in my freezer, and I have fried 13. Last week I jumped a bunny and put Daisy on the trail. Soon, the rabbit turned and was headed back to where it was jumped. Silently, I watched the return trail to see two rabbits coming back. I took five steps and jumped another. There are a lot of rabbits.

Monday, I was running Daisy behind the barn. She was hot on a rabbit when I heard a flock of about 20 sandhill cranes flying overhead. The big birds heard the beagle and circled three times before moving on. I was surprised to see sandhills this time of year. Most migrated south in late November and will return late February, early March.

One of my sources believes the DNR will do away with the early October 1 rabbit season on reservoir and fish and wildlife properties. They may then open the state-wide rabbit season Nov. 1 and let it run through February.

Recent research by Ball State revealed that rabbits can produce young through the month of October. Wait and see on this, but remember, things seldom stay the same.