I’ll be the first to admit, I am a camo junkie. I have a bunch of camouflaged clothing; just ask my wife, even though she’s not much of a fan.
When it comes to turkey hunting and freezing my butt off in a tree stand while deer hunting, you will find me – if you can see me – decked out in appropriate multicolored attire and discretely blending in with the background.
Yes, beware the sharp discerning eyes of whitetail deer and wild turkey. I think I may even have some lightweight suitable camo summer attire in case I get the opportunity to go wild-hog hunting in the South during the summer months.
Yes, it’s camo, camo everywhere. I was a sound aficionado of the disguising patterns long before the Robertson family of “Duck Dynasty” brought camo clothing to the couch-prone masses as everyday wear, and even formal dress. I can’t think of anything snappier than a camo-print sport jacket … but my wife says “absolutely not.”
In a recent press release I received this breaking news from Hortonville, Wis. (did anyone hear a Who?). The central Wisconsin-based casual camouflage designer Fishouflage has entered the European market by licensing its new European Carp pattern, after seeing strong 2018 first-quarter results from the product’s introduction into the German, French and Netherlands markets.
“American anglers might be thinking, ‘Seriously? Carp?’” said Mark Kaiser, executive vice president. “But Europeans are as passionate about their carp as we are about our bass and walleye.
“In Europe, Carp is king; they’re treated with reverence. When a carp is landed, they are placed on ‘unhooking mats’ and the hook is gently removed to avoid injury. It’s a deep-rooted tradition in the carping community.”
Fishouflage currently offers eight lifestyle fish patterns on dozens of items in men's, women's and youth casual wear, headwear, home and gift items and vinyl vehicle graphics for trucks and boats (all available online at Fishouflage.com or at Amazon.com).
The company also licenses to several premium brands offering a variety of items such as seat covers, tackle bags and even ice fishing tip-ups featuring patented Fishouflage patterns.
Fishouflage was developed in the heart of the Midwest, embracing the region’s long-standing fishing tradition. Founders Gary and Paul Bernegger understand the significance of a strong brand, as they are the son and grandson of Fritz Bernegger, founder of Hillshire Farm Co., an 80-year old legacy brand in the food industry.
As heirs to Hillshire, and having the access, they might want to look to see if there are any bratwurst or hotdog mascot costumes lying around. I can’t think of a better way to fool a fish than to stand around looking like an innocent short, fat worm.
New bird at the feeder
A few days ago, I looked out the back window at the bird feeder and saw an unusual bird sitting on top of the sunflower feeder daintily nibbling on the suet cake. It was a large woodpecker-looking bird with a sharp, elongated beak and seemed to be dark brown-colored overall.
It was dark brown … until it flew. The bird’s up-and-down rhythmic flight pattern revealed a white underbelly and light wing patches that flashed in flight. I knew I had seen this kind of bird before – not at the feeder, but in the surrounding woodlands – but I hadn’t identified it.
Going to my bird book, it didn’t take long for me to find the new visitor to the feeder was a Northern Flicker. Unlike most other woodpeckers, Northern Flickers only occasionally visit a suet feeder and are principally ground feeders, though they also forage on tree trunks and limbs.
They have a strongly undulating flight pattern, and they can be easily identified in flight by the pattern and their prominent white rumps.
This evening as I filled the sunflower feeder and put up a new suet cake, I had a tiny visitor land on the ground at my feet. I had seen this bird several times before. The little thing was hardly bigger than a chickadee and had a brown cap and light-colored slashes on the side of the head. It had a long tail for its size but still was only about 4.5 inches long.
The thumb-sized tiny bird seemed oblivious to me as a Cardinal and Nuthatch stood their distance waiting for me to back away from the feeder. The little bird was flitting back and forth on the ground at my feet, foraging on the pieces of sunflower seed dropped by the other birds.
Birds of the sparrow family can be difficult to identify, but with some study, I found this one to be a Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerine).
Osprey watch at Patoka Lake
Bird and wildlife lovers will have a chance to look for ospreys by boat and by car at Patoka Lake during a special program on June 23. The planned osprey watch runs from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Ospreys are a unique migratory raptor frequenting Indiana during breeding season and returning to South America for winter. Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) nongame bird biologist Allisyn Gillet will share information about the state’s osprey reintroduction program and how the species has made a remarkable return.
Cost for the program is $15 per person and includes lunch. Advance registration is required by calling the Patoka Lake Nature Center at 812-685-2447. The event is limited to 55 people. Dress for the weather and don’t forget to bring binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras.
DNR grants to fight invasive aquatic plants
DNR grants totaling nearly $660,000 will be used to fight invasive aquatic plants in Indiana’s lakes. The grants were awarded by DNR Director Cameron Clark through the Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) program in the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.
The 40 projects involve 63 lakes in 15 counties. Grant applications were submitted by local sponsors who share at least 20 percent of the total cost. LARE grants are funded through the LARE fee paid by boat owners annually when they register their boats with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. The user-funded program benefits boaters throughout the state and allow for the completion of projects difficult for many local organizations to fund on their own.
“Controlling invasive aquatic plants in lakes will improve fish habitat by giving native vegetation a better chance to propagate,” Clark said.
The grants will help control or manage aggressive non-native species, including Eurasian watermilfoil, curly leaf pondweed and starry stonewort, which can take over and clog lakes. The grants can also provide economic benefits to lake communities by improving and increasing public access opportunities for individuals who fish or boat for pleasure.
Conceal and open-carry in state parks
I’ve been asked by a lot of people about the legality of open-carry or concealed carry of handguns on Indiana State Parks.
For all Indiana residents with a lawful carry permit, it is legal for you to possess your handgun in a state park, with a few exceptions. It is not allowed at DNR State Parks & Reservoir properties managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (e.g., Mississinewa Reservoir) or at Falls of the Ohio State Park.
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 may contact Jack Spaulding by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to him in care of this publication.