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Winter’s bare trees allow for optimal eagle watching
Spaulding Outdoors
By Jack Spaulding

Wintertime with its bare tree limbs, offers Hoosiers one of the best opportunities to view bald eagles in Indiana, especially around the state’s larger, ice-free reservoirs and rivers. In anticipation of excellent eagle viewing, some DNR properties will host Eagle Watch activities in February.

Monroe Lake’s Eagle Watch takes place Feb. 3-5 at Fourwinds Resort in Fairfax State Recreation Area on the west side of the lake. The weekend-long event includes birding hikes and tours to eagle hot spots around the property. Call 812-837-9546.

On Feb. 4-5, Cecil M. Harden Lake’s Eagle in Flight Workshop will be at Raccoon State Recreation Area. The half-day programs include a search for resident bald eagles and a backyard bird feeder project. Call 765-344-1412.

Each property charges a nominal program fee. Individuals interested in attending should call the state property for registration before the event. Participants should dress for the weather, arrive with their vehicles fueled for the viewing tours, and bring along binoculars or a spotting scope.

More state reservoir and park information and maps are available online at: www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/index.html and more Monroe Eagle Watch information can be found at: www.eaglesatlakemonroe.com

2006 Crappie USA
This year’s schedule has been released for the 2006 Crappie USA tournament events. Anglers will be competing for not only cash and prizes, but also a chance to advance to the Cabela’s Crappie USA Classic on Sept. 27-30 on Pickwick/ Wilson Lakes at Sheffield, Ala.

Anglers fishing Crappie USA have the opportunity to fish in one of two different divisions. The Amateur Division is for those who are not able to fish all the events and for locals who do not wish to compete with the heavily experienced traveling teams. The Semi-Pro Division is for those seeking a higher payback. Entry fee in for the Amateur Division is $75 per team with $155 per team for Semi-Pro Division teams.

Region 3 tournament dates and locations are:

•Patoka Lake, Ind., April 15
•Miss-Sal-Huntington, Ind., April 22
•Grand Lake, St. Mary, Ohio, April 29
•Monroe Lake, Ind., May 6
•Chautauqua, N.Y., May 20
•Shelbyville, Ill., June 3
•Decatur, Ill., June 17 (Regional Event)
The Cabela’s Crappie USA Classic is Sept. 27-30 at Pickwick/Wilson Lakes, Ala.

For more information or a listing of all tournaments, call Crappie USA Inc. at 270-395-4204 or Media Specialist Larry Crecelius at 812-525-2707 or visit www.crappieusa.com

Winter at state parks
The holidays are over, but winter has just begun at Indiana state parks and reservoirs. These state properties offer a wealth of opportunities for exercise, entertainment or a weekend of relaxation with trails to hike, vistas to enjoy, winter birds to see and lots of family fun.

“Put on your winter coat, warm up the car and join the fun,” suggested Ginger Murphy, DNR Division of State Parks and Reservoirs. “See your first Indiana bald eagle at Eagle Watch events held at Patoka Lake, Monroe Lake and Raccoon Lake. Take a ride down the refrigerated toboggan at Pokagon State Park. Listen to lively music during Patoka’s Music and Jam Session.”

Turkey Run Inn will host a Sweetheart Getaway on Valentine’s Day, and Clifty Falls and Potato Creek state parks both will hold bluebird nesting box-building workshops before spring.

When there’s snow, the sledding hill at Fort Harrison State Park is a popular destination. The Wine Tasting Getaway, along with the bridge or euchre tournaments at the Canyon Inn at McCormick’s Creek State Park provide a winter break, and hunter education classes at Roush Lake can provide an excuse to visit the new shooting range.

At all Indiana state parks and reservoir properties, Hoosiers can enjoy the hikes, talks, crafts and games of the interpretive services. Indiana state park inns offer a special “Pay for One, Stay for Two” program. Visitors can enjoy two consecutive nights for the price of one, Sunday through Thursday, through February 24, 2006.

Camping is still available in many places for hardy souls who enjoy the brisk temperatures. In most cases, campers must provide their own water supply, and restrooms are closed. However, the modern campgrounds at Hardy Lake, Pokagon State Park and Patoka Lake each have a heated restroom that remains open in winter.

Check out a list of winter events and activities at www.in.gov/dnr/winter

For a complete schedule of interpretive programs at each site, visit www.interpretiveservices.IN.gov or call individual properties. Make reservations at state park inns at www.indianainns.com

Some events require a small fee. Donations to help defray the cost of supplies for events are always welcome. The standard resident entrance fees of $4 per Monday through Thursday and $5 per car on Saturday and Sunday. A $7 per car fee for out-of-state license plates is in effect during the winter season in most locations.

Published in the January 18, 2006 issue of Farm World.

1/18/2006