On Nov. 11, Indiana conservation officers arrested 42-year-old Edward B. Jones Jr. of West Harrison, Ind., for allegedly threatening two officers with a firearm.
Officers Andrew Hagerty and Matthew Hicks were investigating a complaint of illegal hunting on private property on Jamison Road in Dearborn County early that morning. Hagerty stated Jones had allegedly threatened another hunter on an earlier occasion, which led them to the investigation.
The officers reported they encountered Jones on the property and attempted to apprehend him. As the officers approached, Jones dropped to one knee and pointed a scoped rifle at them. The officers took cover and were about to return fire when Jones fled on foot.
Hicks and Hagerty began a foot pursuit of Jones, leading into the woods. The officers requested backup and a manhunt ensued, with the assistance of several area law enforcement agencies. Jones was apprehended on the Ohio state line that afternoon and was held pending further investigation of the incident.
ICO District 9 Assistant Commander Corporal Chris Powell stated the incident illustrates the risk conservation officers take every day while protecting the natural resources of Indiana.
“During this time of year, nearly every person we contact is armed.” Powell commented. “While the vast majority of hunters we encounter are law-abiding, we must be ready for the few who mean us and the public harm.”
Officers nearly hit by intoxicated driver
Two Indiana conservation officers were sitting and watching for deer ”jack lighters” spotlighting and shooting deer in a high-activity area, when out of nowhere, a full-size pickup came barreling through an open gate at a high rate of speed into the cornfield where they were hiding.
One officer stated, “I thought he was going to hit us head-on!” At the last minute, the operator noticed the officers’ vehicle parked on the dirt lane in the field and swerved to avoid a collision.
When the officers approached the truck, they reported a 21-year-old male staggered from the vehicle. As they spoke with the young man it became apparent he was highly intoxicated.
Officers reported after failing standardized field sobriety tests and registering almost four times the legal limit at 0.303 blood-alcohol content (BAC), the suspect was transported to the hospital for a medical evaluation. Upon his release by a doctor, one officer transported the suspect to the Franklin County Security Center where he was incarcerated.
Alexander Christman of Hartford City, Ind., was arrested for allegedly operating a motorized vehicle while intoxicated with a BAC of 0.15 or higher a Class “A” Misdemeanor.
Conservation officers want to remind Indiana sportsmen to call 800-TIP-IDNR if they witness a hunting, fishing or pollution violation.
Bald eagle found dead
The shooting death of a bald eagle is being investigating by Indiana conservation officers. The mature eagle was located and reported by hikers in the Hoosier National Forest near the Jackson, Lawrence and Monroe county lines.
The eagle was found on Nov. 5, and officers believe it died sometime in early November. It is unknown if the eagle died at the location where it was found, or if the carcass had been dumped.
Officers are also considering the possibility the eagle was able to fly after being shot, for some distance, before dying.
Officers requested an X-ray be performed, and it confirmed the bird died as the result of being shot. A necropsy is pending at this time.
Officers are requesting anyone with information relating to the case please contact them at 800-TIP-IDNR (847-4367). There is a cash reward available for information leading to the guilty party in the case.
Second round of Bicentennial Nature Trust projects approved
Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman and former Congressman Lee Hamilton, co-chairs of Indiana’s Bicentennial Commission, have announced the approval of 12 new Bicentennial Nature Trust (BNT) projects to the ongoing conservation initiative.
The BNT is a statewide program aimed at expanding trails, wetlands and recreation sites to help celebrate Indiana’s 200 years of statehood in 2016. The state park system was created during Indiana’s Centennial in 1916, and BNT projects will provide a similar legacy for generations of Hoosiers.
The latest selections total nearly 2,000 acres and include former Gov. Edgar Whitcomb’s secluded retreat on the banks of the Ohio River in Perry County, a 16-acre expansion of Wilderness Park in Blackford County, 140 acres on the Eel River in Miami County, 110 acres at Lake Everett in Allen County and a 704-acre addition to Yellowwood State Forest.
“The Bicentennial Nature Trust initiative continues to accept a wide range of projects to solidify Indiana’s conservation legacy,” Skillman said. “These gifts of forests, trails and wetlands will be accessible to all Hoosiers for many generations.”
Hamilton said, “As we continue moving forward in our plans for the state’s Bicentennial celebration in 2016, it is encouraging to see the level of participation for our first initiative. Hoosiers have taken a strong interest in preserving Indiana acreage and I look forward to their suggestions for future conservation projects.”
The BNT projects are awarded through state funding and private donations. The 12 new projects received a total of more than $2.4 million. Projects will continue to be announced until the state fund runs out.
BNT was first announced by Gov. Mitch Daniels during his 2012 State of the State Address. Co-chairs Skillman and Hamilton honored the request by starting a statewide campaign to acquire property protecting conservation and recreation areas throughout the state.
The state has increased the amount of public recreational lands by 44,000 acres since 2005. The Healthy Rivers Initiative, started in 2009, will add nearly 70,000 acres of river corridors in two areas: Sugar Creek and the Wabash River in west-central Indiana, and Muscatatuck River bottoms in south-central Indiana.
Indiana has also quadrupled the amount of land available for conservation under the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, to 26,250 acres.
The state is seeking additional private donations of land and money, as well as input from communities on viable projects. Applications for the nature trust can be found at www.in.gov/dnr/ heritage/7309.htm
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 email@example.com or by writing to him in care of this publication.