Spaulding Outdoors by Jack Spaulding
Indiana conservation officers are encouraging Hoosier sportsmen to donate part of their 2014-15 deer harvest to help feed the hungry. The Sportsmen’s Benevolent Fund program, administered by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Law Enforcement Division, provided 269,892 high-protein venison meals to help feed hungry Hoosiers during the 2013-14 season. Indiana deer hunters donated 67,473 pounds of meat.
“The program provides an opportunity for our hunters to demonstrate their concern for their fellow man, allows the DNR another management tool for our deer population and provides nutritious meals for those in need,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Director Danny East. “It is a triple-win situation.”
The Sportsmen’s Benevolent Fund received public funding during the 2013 legislative session through a bill presented by state Sens. Mike Crider of Greenfield and Brent Steele of Bedford.
Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard and Dubois County Sportsmen’s Club have developed a network of participating butcher shops throughout the state. The organizations also have coordinated with food banks serving every county to pick up and deliver the venison. All venison is ground and provided in 2-pound packages.
“Thanks to contributions made by Indiana DNR Law Enforcement and deer hunters, we will be able to provide nutritious protein to hunger relief agencies in Indiana”, said Debra Treesh, founder of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry. “Protein is the hardest commodity for the food banks to get.”
“Fighting against hunger in Indiana is a concern for us all, and it makes me proud that the DNR and Indiana deer hunters are working together to overcome this need,” said DNR Director Cameron Clark.
A video about the fund may be viewed online at www.youtube.com
11 hunting etiquette tips
The DNR has put together 11 top tips to help you get the best out of your hunting season. Stick with these suggestions and you will improve your experience this year and for years to come.
•Acquire permission to hunt on someone’s private land with a formal request. You can print a Private Land Permission Form and either mail it or bring it directly to the landowner (visiting the landowner in person is more friendly and shows a stronger commitment than sending a mailed request, and may increase your chances of obtaining permission).
There are many different reasons why a landowner may refuse a request, so remember always to be respectful regardless of the decision. Remember, your method of handling the situation could impact similar opportunities for future hunters.
•Always be respectful of the landowner and the property. The best rule of thumb is to leave the land better than you found it. Report any signs of disturbance to the landowner, pick up trash if you see it and leave no trace of your own. Leave any gates exactly how you found them, open or closed.
Do not shoot near or towards any homes. Even if the shot is too far away to be dangerous, the sound can be disruptive and discouraging to neighboring landowners considering opening their parcels to hunters. Remember to pick up your shells before you leave.
•Know the boundaries of the property you have permission to hunt. No matter how tempting, never shoot or chase a deer onto property you do not have explicit permission to be on. Not only is it rude, but it’s against the law in Indiana.
If chances are high your hunting spot will put a wounded deer on neighboring property, either find another spot or try to get permission from the adjoining property’s owner before you hunt.
•Never use your scope to identify people, or anything but a target. It is a good idea to have a small pair of binoculars at all times so approaching people do not ever have a gun pointed at them.
•Be sure of your target and what is beyond it; do not shoot in the direction of homes or vehicles.
•Do not dispose of unwanted animal parts (your gut pile or leftovers from butchering) in waterways or anywhere they are likely to be seen by passersby.
•Maintain distance between yourself and adjacent hunters; do not crowd someone if they have already taken a spot. Hunting spots are first come, first serve, so if yours is taken, move on. For this reason it’s always a good idea to stake out multiple spots in advance.
•If given permission to hunt on someone’s land or in someone’s preferred hunting spot, don’t assume the invitation extends to other friends of yours. Ask the landowner or hunter explicitly if the permission is just for you, or if other people you know are welcome as well. If given permission to invite others, it’s always polite to ask how many are allowed to accompany you.
•Be considerate of other hunters and outdoor enthusiasts while you hunt. Loud noises from talking, running an ATV or dragging out your deer may ruin another person’s hunting or general outdoor experience. If you need to make noise where you know another person is hunting, wait until they leave if you can.
•Serve as a positive ambassador for hunters and hunting culture to people who are not familiar with hunting or who are undecided. Cover your harvested deer with a tarp and transport them discretely (i.e. not on display in the back of your pickup truck with the tailgate down). Be wary of how non-hunters perceive you so you don’t convert them into anti-hunters, intentionally or unintentionally.
•Most importantly, value your hunting excursion by the total experience. It is easy to estimate the value of your effort by how many deer you took or how big the trophy was, but really, hunting is about the total package. You don’t need to take your total bag limit to have a great experience – show restraint and take only what you need.
Participate in youth development and teach your children ethical and responsible hunting. If given the opportunity, take the time to complete a Deer Hunter Survey for the DNR to improve the experience for both yourself and future generations.
Man faces charges
after shooting road sign
Conservation officers arrested 22-year-old Mark Barber of Lafontaine for allegedly shooting road signs near the intersection of 1050 South 50 East in Wabash.
Officer Jerry Hoerdt was patrolling the area for poachers on Sept. 28 just before 10 o’clock when he witnessed a vehicle stop and fire two gunshots. This time conservation officers did not find any poached wild game but instead found a road sign had been vandalized. Officers arrested and charged Barber with criminal mischief, operating a vehicle without ever being issued a driver’s license and shooting from a public roadway.
Even though shooting road signs may not seem to be a serious offense to some, firing a gun without a proper backstop, the bullet may end up hitting a home or, even worse, a person. It is imperative everyone follow safe firearm practices especially as many of us will be entering the woods this hunting season. Conservation officers will be watching to make sure everyone follows the rules.
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.