The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Sports Columns

May 15, 2013

Rick Bramwell: DNR looking for hunter input

sughed: DNR looking for hunter input

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has mailed a survey to 15,540 Indiana hunters to help improve the management of Indiana’s small game and furbearer species.

By completing this 20-question survey, hunters can give opinions on their hunting experiences of quail, grouse, pheasant, squirrel, rabbit, woodcock and crow.

DNR research biologists will gather the information and summarize it to help with management practices for these species.

“Hunter surveys are essential to determining  how far Indiana hunters are willing to travel to hunt, the number of days they hunted, and if they’re satisfied with their hunting experiences,” said Budd Veverka, farmland game research biologist with the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. “This information is integral to our management plans and strategies.”

I hope to receive a survey. I think last season offered an abundance of squirrel and the most rabbits I have seen in 40 years.

Those who hunt quail, pheasant and grouse might tell a different story. I used to enjoy watching grouse while hunting deer from a tree stand. I haven’t seen one in 20 years. A couple covey of quail exist in my neighborhood. The last pheasant I shot in Madison County, was 45 years ago.

Return the survey by that date for a chance to win Indiana sporting licenses and stamp privileges worth up to $50.

I never found the mother lode of big yellow morels, but I have been cutting a lot of wild asparagus. I will keep cutting until June 1.

Mature asparagus tops look like fine hair. When I see it growing along fencerows, in the summer, I mark the spot with bread ties and place a fist-size rock at the base of the plant.  Next spring all natural evidence will be gone, but when I brush back the grass, at my marked locations, there will be those lovely purple/green spears.

According to the DNR, walleye production at Indiana’s state fish hatcheries has rebounded after suffering a weather-related setback last year.

Every spring, DNR workers net adult walleyes at Brookville Lake in southeast Indiana, where eggs are collected from the fish and fertilized. The fish are released back into the lake, and the eggs are transported to Cikana State Fish Hatchery near Martinsville for incubation.

Fish incubated in the spring are then stocked in Indiana lakes throughout the same year.

Unseasonably warm temperatures last spring resulted in one of the worst walleye egg collections on record.

This year, however, the annual collection of walleye eggs was a success.  

Although native to Indiana, walleye distribution and abundance was limited until annual stockings were developed in the 1970s. According to DNR biologists, natural reproduction of walleyes is insufficient to maintain populations in most of Indiana. Hatchery production offsets the shortfall.

Indiana typically stocks about 22 million walleye fry that are 4 days old. An additional 1 million walleye fingerlings are stocked in June after being raised to 1 to 2 inches. Six- to eight-inch walleyes are produced for stocking in the fall at lakes where fry or June fingerlings fail to establish a fishery.

A list of lakes stocked with walleye by the DNR is at dnr.IN.gov/fishwild/3279.htm.

Rick Bramwell’s outdoors column appears on Thursdays.

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