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Wanted: Hunters to find ear-tagged Hoosier deer
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is advising hunters to be on the lookout for ear-tagged deer in Jackson County and the neighboring counties of Bartholomew, Jennings and Scott, and to harvest them if possible.

Hunters who harvest an ear-tagged deer in these counties or anywhere else in Indiana are asked to immediately call DNR Law Enforcement at 812-837-9536. Anyone who strikes and kills an ear-tagged deer with a vehicle is asked to call the same number.
The focus on the four-county area is due to farm-raised deer escaping from a captive cervid facility, whose owner is cooperating with DNR. The deer may have been exposed to chronic wasting disease at a captive facility in another state before being transferred to Indiana.

The DNR and the Indiana Board of Animal Health need to obtain the escaped ear-tagged deer to conduct disease testing. Of particular interest are any deer with a yellow ear tag bearing the prefix “IN 764” followed by another four numbers or any deer with a yellow ear tag and two numbers on it.

DNR staff will assist in transporting the deer carcass to Purdue University for testing at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. The DNR will replace the hunter’s license at no cost.

Sandhill crane trip from Indiana Dunes
A field trip to view the annual Sandhill crane migration at Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area (FWA) with Indiana Dunes State Park interpretive naturalist Brad Bumgardner will be Nov. 10. Space is limited, and advance registration is required.

Participants will meet at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center at 2 p.m. CST. A short introduction will explain the history and status of cranes in Indiana. The group will bus to Jasper-Pulaski FWA to view up to 20,000 cranes as they head for their evening roost.

The trip will finish at the Indiana Dunes Nature Center around 6 p.m. Cost is $20 for adults and $5 for children under 18. Children under age 3 are free. The cost of the trip includes entrance to the state park, travel to and from Jasper-Pulaski FWA and light refreshments.

Support for the trip comes from the Northwest Indiana Migratory Bird Assoc. For more information and to register, call 219-926-1390.

Deer reduction for Olin Lake Preserve
The DNR is planning a management deer hunt at Olin Lake Nature Preserve during the special antlerless deer firearm season from Dec. 26-Jan. 6. All regulations of the antlerless season will apply.
The preserve will be closed to other visitors during the 12 days of the hunt. The preserve is not being opened to hunting in general.
Deer numbers continue to be excessively high at the LaGrange County nature preserve, where over-browsing by deer threatens the long-term health of the property. Deer feeding has been especially damaging to white trilliums and other spring wildflowers. Olin Lake is about six miles south of LaGrange.

Ten hunters will be selected by drawing for the first six days of the special antlerless firearm season. A different set of six hunters will be drawn for the second six days of the season. No more than 10 hunters at a time will be given permits to hunt on the 116 acres of DNR property open to hunting.

Applications must be picked up at one of the following locations. None will be mailed:

•Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area Office, 8310 E. 300 N., Mongo, IN 46771; call  260-367-2164

•LaGrange County Department of Parks and Recreation, 0505 W 700 S., Wolcottville, IN 46795; 260-854-2225

Applications are due by Nov. 26 and the drawing will be Nov. 27.
Indiana DNR acquires site from Whitcomb

On Oct. 22, Gov. Mitch Daniels announced the DNR had reached an agreement with former Gov. Edgar Whitcomb to acquire his secluded retreat on the banks of the Ohio River.

“Today would be a fabulous moment if we just stumbled over this land, if it had no particular person attached to it,” Daniels said to Whitcomb in a ceremony attended by about 100 people on the courthouse lawn in Rome, Ind., where Whitcomb lives.

“But the fact it’s yours, and the fact you yourself have been such a significant figure in the 200 years (of statehood history) we’re ready to celebrate, just makes this perfect.”

The acquisition is the latest achievement of the Bicentennial Nature Trust, an initiative launched by Daniels to protect conservation and recreation areas across the state as a way to celebrate Indiana’s 200th year of statehood in 2016.

The DNR and Whitcomb agreed on a purchase price of $300,000, about half the appraised value of the property. It will be named the Edgar D. Whitcomb Nature Park and Retreat.

“I got word the DNR was interested in the property,” said Whitcomb, who was looking to sell the land he acquired in the 1990s. “As time went by, I waited and waited and waited for this day. I’m so happy to see this come to fruition.”

The 144-acre Whitcomb property in Perry County is surrounded by the Hoosier National Forest. The heavily wooded site rests on limestone and sandstone outcroppings and cliffs overlooking the Ohio River.

Several rare and uncommon plants are found on the property, including resurrection fern, heart-leaved noseburn, pink thoroughwort and a subspecies of downy phlox (Phlox pilosa deamii) named after Charles Deam, Indiana’s first state forester and botanist.

The property includes three historic log cabins and a small maintenance barn. Preliminary plans are to manage the site as a retreat to provide the public an opportunity to experience nature in a remote setting.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for Jack Spaulding may contact him by email at jackspaulding or by writing to him in care of this publication.