The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking individual partners and communities to participate in the Community Hunting Access Program (CHAP) in 2018.
In its second year, CHAP is an initiative through the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) to increase hunting opportunities for deer in urban and suburban areas. Doing so can help alleviate human-deer conflicts. CHAP provides community partners with financial and technical assistance to administer hunting programs in their communities.
As part of the program, managed hunts are administered by a certified CHAP coordinator trained in hunting safety, deer biology and public relations. The community partner determines when and where managed hunts occur, what hunters can participate and which certified CHAP coordinator they use or contract.
Communities interested in participating in CHAP must submit a grant application by March 31, 2018. Training for people interested in becoming a certified CHAP coordinator will take place on Feb. 1. Before attending training, those interested in becoming a coordinator must complete the following prerequisites:
•Any state-sponsored Hunter Education certification
•Any DFW-Approved Firearms Instructor Training. Examples include: National Rifle Assoc. (NRA) Firearm Instructor Training, Indiana Hunter Education Instructor Academy, 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor Certification, etc.
•Any DFW-Approved Formal Deer Hunting Training. Examples include: NRA Hunter Clinic Instructor Program Certification, QDMA Deer Steward 1 Certification, etc.
•Provide name and birth date for routine DNR background check
To sign up for the Feb. 1 CHAP Coordinator training, or for questions regarding certification prerequisites, email South Region urban biologist Megan Dillon at mdillon@dnr.IN.gov
For more information on CHAP, the grant application and the current certified CHAP Coordinators list, visit www.wildlife.IN.gov/9420.htm
Remaining hunting, trapping seasons
Opportunities continue to abound for Hoosier hunters and trappers, as some seasons continue into January 2018 and beyond, including the following:
Pheasant (Cock only): Through Dec. 15
Rabbit: Through Feb. 28
Raccoon, Opossum: Through Jan. 31
Quail: North of Interstate 74, through Dec. 15; South of I-74, through Jan. 10
Canada Geese: Central Zone, through Feb. 11
Ducks, Coots, Mergansers: Central Zone, through Jan. 14
Beaver: Through March 15
Mink, Muskrat, Weasel: Through Jan. 31
Raccoon, Opossum: Through Jan. 31
River Otter: Through March 15 (or until quota is met)
Nominations needed for Trails Advisory Board
The DNR is seeking nominations for six openings on the Indiana Trails Advisory Board (TAB). TAB discusses and advises the DNR director on important trail matters and shares news, best practices and resources with the trails community.
Openings are for representatives of the following trail-user or interest groups: bicyclists; off-road motorcyclists; parks and recreation agencies; water trail users; higher education/health; and equestrians. Nominees should be involved with a local or statewide trails-oriented organization.
TAB members will serve a three-year term starting March 1 and attend quarterly meetings; however, the equestrian user-group representative will serve a one-year term to fill a resignation.
Meetings are on the first Thursday of March, September and December, and the last Thursday in June. All meetings start at 3 p.m. and locations will vary throughout the state.
Nominations will be accepted by the DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation until Dec. 30. To learn more about TAB, visit www.dnr.IN.gov/outdoor/4094.htm and for more information, contact Austin Taylor at ataylor1@dnr.IN.gov or 317-232-4070.
Moraine Nature Preserve temporarily closing
Moraine Nature Preserve will be closed to public access for a deer reduction hunt from Dec. 15-18. Moraine is a 474-acre nature preserve in Porter County, owned and managed by the DNR Division of Nature Preserves.
Hunting will take place on 115 acres. All regulations of muzzleloader season will apply. The closure includes trails and parking facilities. Closing the property to everyone except selected hunters will reduce conflict and increase safety.
Two qualified hunters per day were selected by lottery to perform the deer reduction. The preserve is not being opened to hunting in general.
The deer reduction is an effort to help maintain the preserve’s rare and unique ecosystem. With few natural predators left to keep populations in check, deer can damage native plant communities by over-browsing. Deer feeding has been documented to be especially damaging to white trilliums and other spring wildflowers.
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 email@example.com or by writing to him in care of this publication.