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Spaulding: Indiana senate bill imposes hunting buffer zones
Spaulding Outdoors
By Jack Spaulding

As first reported by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, an Indiana legislator has recently introduced a bill that could restrict landowners from hunting on their own property.

Senate Bill 261, sponsored by Sen. Connie Sipes, Democrat from New Albany, would prohibit the firing of a bullet, arrow, or other projectile within 200 yards (600 feet) of a residence without the landowner’s permission. SB 261 would place unnecessary burdens on landowners and would allow neighbors to impose restrictions on sportsmen, gun clubs and local governments conducting urban hunts to manage wildlife.

The bill currently awaits action in the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters.

SB 261 is not the first attempt at infringing sportsmen’s rights by using this manner of legislation. Anti-hunters have tried to impose similar legislative restrictions on sportsmen in other states. In 2005, bills were introduced in Connecticut, New York, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Texas attempting to place unnecessary distance limitations on hunting.

Indiana sportsmen can let their senators know SB 261 is unacceptable by explaining to their legislators the bill infringes upon landowner rights and could allow people to control activities on neighboring properties.

Sportsmen can contact their senators by calling 800-382-9467, or they can use the Legislative Action Center at www.ussportsmen.org More information on the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is available by writing to: U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance; 801 Kingsmill Parkway, Columbus, OH 43229; calling 614-888-4868; or faxing 614-888-0326.

Indiana anglers unethical away from home
My good friend and Indiana Conservation Officer, Bill Beville of Westport, Ind., passed on some information concerning a lack of out-of-state angling ethics by a few fishermen from the Hoosier State.

Three fishermen from Indiana face up to $6,300 in fines after they were caught poaching crappie and northern pike from two Minnesota lakes, state wildlife officials said.

A conservation officer caught Dan W. Londeree, 57; Brent A. Londeree, 35; and Robert D. Manley, 40 with 61 crappie over the limit and one northern pike over the limit, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Jan. 24.

A tip caller alerted wildlife officials to the men, who all reside in Columbus, Ind.

The anglers took a total of 91 crappie and 10 northern from Lake Minnewawa and Rat Lake, according to the DNR. Both lakes are west of Duluth, Minn.

Daily limits are 10 per person for crappie and three per person for northern pike.

The three anglers face approximately $6,300 in possible fines and restitution stemming from the incident.

These aren’t the only Indiana anglers caught poaching in Minnesota in the past year. Five men from Fort Wayne, Ind. were fined nearly $8,000 for taking 299 sunfish over the limit near Osage, Minn. in April, 2005. In June, 2005, six Indiana men were fined nearly $5,200 for taking 92 walleye over limit from Lake Winnibigoshish, among other violations.

“We love to have people come and fish Minnesota,” DNR chief conservation officer Col. Mike Hamm said in a prepared statement. “They’ve got to obey the rules and regulations.”

Unfortunately, fish and wildlife game offenses are often times not taken very seriously by the court system here in Indiana. Officer Beville’s parting comment to me was, “It would be a welcome change to see Indiana courts take fish and wildlife violations this seriously.”

Indiana Heritage Trust adding wildlife acres
Drive through any town in Indiana, and it won’t take long until you see the blue background, sun-and-eagle license plate - the Environmental License Plate. The blue plate signifies something special. The driver of an ELP licensed vehicle is identified as a partner in one of the greatest conservation ventures in Indiana. Thanks to the generosity of Indiana’s blue license plate partners who pay a premium for their plates, the state has conserved more than 12,000 acres in 25 counties during 2005.

The Environmental License Plate is the primary means by which the Indiana Heritage Trust raises funds to purchase and protect land. As of December 1, 2005, Hoosiers had purchased 63,685 plates - raising $1,592,125. These funds and the partnerships they foster have led to the purchase or protection of more than 45,000 acres in more than half of Indiana’s counties.

The Indiana Heritage Trust helped fund the purchase of the new 8,000-acre Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in Greene County. The 1,350-acre Ravinia Woods in Morgan County was also purchased, and will provide untold years of hunting, bird watching and other recreational opportunities.

Sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts can go online and check out more new and unique 2005 IHT terrain with neat names like Rabbit Hash Glade, Stoner Hill, Pyrmont Mill, Ambler Flatwoods and Manitou Islands, along with outstanding IHT landscape photos, in the DNR’s Outdoor Indiana magazine IHT Report at: www.IN.gov/dnr/public/janfeb06/index.html

More Indiana Heritage Trust information is available online at: www.in.gov/dnr/heritage/ and more nature preserve information can be found at: www.in.gov/dnr/naturepr/

Readers with questions or comments can contact Jack Spaulding by e-mail at outdoors@cnz.com

This farm news was published in the February 1, 2006 issue of Farm World.

2/1/2006