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Indiana swears in 24 new conservation officers
Spaulding Outdoors
By Jack Spaulding

Indiana’s natural resource law enforcement just got a boost in their numbers with the 2006 graduating class of new conservation officers. The new conservation officers were honored in graduation ceremonies October 27 at the State Capitol after completing 16 weeks of intense training starting back on July 7, 2006.

The new officers with their hometowns in parentheses are: Brian J. Bailey (Tipton), Mark Lee Baker (Anderson), Nicole M. Baumann (Bloomington), Robert Dean Brewington (Depauw), Jacob Carlile (Dowagiac, Mich.), Kevin L. Conner (Bedford), Jon D. Cook (Mentone), Brian David Culbreth (Wheatfield), Jonathan Allen Engle (Churubusco), Blake William Ever-hart (Seymour), Blaine Ray Gillan (Linton), Kyle D. Goff (Cicero), Ashlee D. Jackson (Walkerton), Ryan T. Jahn (Dubois), Joshua M. Laker (Indianapolis), Michael Robert Lamar (Santa Claus), Matthew David Landis (Bloomington), Aaron Joseph Mullet (Chesterton), John Tyler Pace (Evansville), Matthew K. Pearcy (Scottsburg), Troy Daniel Sparks (Milroy), Darin Lee Streuer (Cayuga), Roy Kenneth Tincher II (Mitchell) and Jonathan Joseph Watkins (LaPorte).

After being administered the oath of office by Chief Justice Randall Shephard, the 24 officers were assigned to various counties throughout the state.

Training for the new officers was conducted at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield, as well as at various off-site venues including the Ohio River at Clarksville, Lake Michigan at Michi-gan City, Warsaw, South Bend, Terre Haute, Monroe Reservoir at Bloomington and Redbird State Recreation Area.

Tree stand safety
Recently, I stopped by to see an old friend I worked with a few years ago. Unfortunately, he wasn’t at work, but at home… due to a tree stand accident. I was told, a slip while climbing left Ray hanging upside down.

In releasing his safety harness, he fell. Fortunately, the distance was only a few feet, but it still left the experienced woodsman hobbling around with a cane.

As one of the top hunting and conservation groups in the country, the National Wild Turkey Federation has always been concerned with safety afield.

Even though stand-hunting predominately involves deer hunting, the NWTF’s goal is zero accidents afield… both firearms and archery related and tree stand related.

As CEO of the NWTF, Rob Keck has hunted many different species in many different places. But, regardless of the game he’s after, his main focus is always hunting safely.

“Being safe in the woods is something we can’t stress enough,” said Keck. “A hunter must be a good defensive hunter, just like being a defensive driver. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way by careless decisions.”

To help hunters stay safe, the NWTF has compiled a list of useful tips for hunting out of tree stands.

•Understand the stand: Manufacturers’ warnings and instructions should be read before using the stand. Practice climb before the season, and use all provided safety devices. If there are any questions, call the manufacturer.

•Wear a Fall-Arrest System/Full Body Harness: The devices are the best method to keep a hunter from being hurt in a fall. Single strap belts and chest harnesses are no longer the safest restraints available; in fact, single-strap belts can cause internal injury when the wearer’s weight suddenly jerks them tight. Furthermore, the pressure from a single strap or chest harness on the abdomen or chest can cause rapid loss of consciousness.

•Climb with care: When a hunter is climbing and getting into or out of the stand are the most dangerous times. Always put on a full body harness before climbing.

•Use a pull rope: Sometimes called a haul line, the rope is used to pull gear, including firearms and bows, to the tree stand once the hunter is safely positioned.

•Don’t load your firearm: Never load a firearm until you are secure in your stand.

•Always let someone know where you are: Leave a note at the house or on the windshield of your vehicle stating where you will be and what time you expect to return. Also, take your cell phone. You never know when you will need it.

Carl Brown, Chief Operating Officer for the NWTF, is an avid deer hunter. A fall from a tree stand several years ago changed the way he now prepares for all of his hunts.

“The idea of safety first really hits home after an accident,” said Brown. “I never hunt without making sure all safety measures are in place. It’s something I wish I had always done.”

In many hunting situations, tree stands allow the hunter to see game better, and help reduce the amount of human scent on the ground. While positioning yourself in a tree sometimes gives hunters a better view, serious injury and even death can occur when all safety precautions aren’t taken.

Waterfowl enforcement sweep
A coordinated law enforcement blitz, targeting waterfowl hunters, was conducted in the DNR’s Syracuse Law Enforcement District on October 14 and 15 by Indiana Conservation Officers and Special Agents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Conservations Officers from nearly all parts of Indiana were paired with district Conservation Officers and Special Agents, who were then split into 12 working teams assigned to specific areas within the seven county district.

Officers were looking for waterfowl hunters who: possessed shotgun shells containing toxic shot, exceeded daily bag limits, violated licensing rules and regulations including harvest information program (HIP) numbers, and other waterfowl hunting violations. The 24 officers and agents participating in the two-day blitz checked 308 waterfowl hunters and took 46 law enforcement actions.

According to Lt. John Sullivan “We had a great group of officers who worked hard to get to hunters, some of which were hunting deep inside marshes or places difficult to get to. Those are places of particular interest to us because of their location.”

Sullivan also said interaction between hunters and officers is vital.

“This is a good time for hunters to ask questions, tell their favorite game warden jokes, or just give us the business about DNR rules and regulations. It’s all in fun and very important to us.” Sullivan said.

This farm news was published in the Nov. 8, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

11/8/2006