Indiana’s Choice for Outdoor News & Information • Since 1994
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VOL. 2012 • NO. 3
PETITION TO BAN LEAD FISHING TACKLE REJECTED
ION ONLINE PAGE 2
BARBOUR BUCK PAGE 5
TURKEY HUNTING PAGE 12
ALEXANDRIA, VA -The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) commends the February 14, 2012, decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to reject a second sweeping petition to ban lead in all fishing tackle. The petition, which was submitted on November 16, 2011, by the Center for Biological Diversity and two other groups, requested that the EPA study and ultimately ban lead in fishing tackle on all U.S. waters under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This most recent attempt to federally ban lead fishing tackle came on the heels of the EPA’s November 2010 decision to dismiss a similar petition submitted by the same groups. That decision is currently being challenged in court by the petitioners. Sweeping regulation of lead fishing tackle would have a significant, negative impact on recreational anglers and the sportfishing industry with minimal benefit to the environment. In dismissing this most recent petition, the EPA stated that the petitioners did not “provide a basis for finding that the risk presented is an unreasonable risk for which federal action under section 6(a) of TSCA is necessary.” The EPA also cited state-specific actions and the increasing education and outreach activities being undertaken. The EPA’s decision falls in line with sound fish and wildlife management practices and several scientific studies which demonstrate that waterfowl populations are not negatively impacted by the use of lead fishing tackle. “The sportfishing industry applauds the EPA’s dismissal of this most recent petition,” said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. “Such an extensive ban is not only unwarranted, but is wildly unpopular. Sweeping regulations on lead fishing tackle would have a tremendous impact on the sportfishing industry and change the face, and cost, of recreational fishing for the angling public. Thousands of anglers submitted comments in opposition to this petition and I am glad to see that their voices were heard. Unjustified bans will only serve to harm the economy and reduce participation in traditional outdoor sports.” “The EPA’s decision reaffirms that lead fishing tackle is not harming waterfowl populations,”
GONE AFIELD PAGE 17
Robertson further noted. “America’s anglers are the original conservationists, committed to taking reasonable steps to protect the environment. Through fishing license fees and the federal excise tax on fishing equipment, anglers and the sportfishing industry provide the bulk of the funding to help ensure that there are healthy and abundant fisheries to enjoy. The EPA recognized this fact with its dismissal of this second petition.” “Unfortunately, this does not mean the end for these unwarranted attempts to ban lead fishing tackle,” concluded Robertson. “With anti-fishing organizations trying to stop recreational fishing using whatever means they can, legislation is necessary to protect our sport from overregulation. Legislation currently pending before congress, the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act, will put a stop to these onerous petitions and protect these cherished pastimes.” The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act (S. 838/H.R. 1558) seeks to prevent a federal ban on lead in recreational fishing tackle and ammunition and helps to ensure that any future regulations on fishing tackle are established based on scientific fact instead of unjustified petitions. This bipartisan legislation was introduced by the co-chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.
... were taken during last month’s late Canada goose zone season -including this three man limit shot by Dan Haneline (left), Jim Ligda (right) & Jay Anglin in LaPorte County. Anglin Outdoors photo.
Remembering Eric Corey - Pg. 10
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YOUNG ANGLERS CLAIM SIX “FISH OF THE YEAR” IN 2011 DNR Report
BASS FISHING PAGE 16
A steelhead angler probes the pocket water in Porter County’s Salt Creek, no doubt with a lead split shot or two pinched on his leader. Chris Young photo.
INDIANAPOLIS -Indiana’s 2011 Fish of the Year contest proves the art of angling has not been lost on our youth. Fish of the Year recognizes the angler who catches the longest fish of each species tracked. In 2011, anglers submitted entries for 25 species. Four anglers younger than 18 years old accounted for six wins. Among the youth winners, 10year-old Rylan Crockett scored the longest fish, a 33.3-inch channel catfish he caught in Cagles Mill Reservoir in Owen County on cut shad. Rylan caught the channel cat while competing in an Indiana Catfish Association Tournament with his father and grandfather, Brian and Jim Crockett. Nine-year-old Evan Logan from Columbus was the youngest angler to win 2011 Fish of the Year honors. He tied for first in the bluegill category with an 11-inch
specimen from a private pond in Johnson County that he caught using a worm and bobber. Teenage brothers Danny and Michael Kotfer of Munster teamed up for four wins. Danny, 17, won for a 31.5-inch coho salmon, caught in the Little Calumet River in Porter County on a spinner; a 13inch bullhead, caught at a private lake in Fountain County on a night crawler; and tied for first in the green sunfish category with an 8.5inch specimen pulled from a private lake in Fountain County on a twistertail. Michael, 14, won for a 29-inch brown trout, caught in the Lake County waters of Lake Michigan using a spoon. Danny and Michael’s father, Ron Kotfer, also earned wins in three categories. Ron Kotfer caught the largest chinook salmon at 35 inches, from the Lake County waters of Lake Michigan using a glow spoon; the largest rock bass at 10.3 inches, from the Little Calumet River in Porter County
using a spinner; and the largest walleye at 22.5 inches, from Wolf Lake in Lake County using a crankbait. The longest winning fish among all the 2011 Fish of the Year species was a 55.5-inch flathead catfish. Tim Kaiser, an angler from Elnora, caught the flathead in the Ohio River in Perry County using a live bluegill as bait.
Other notable winners included: • In the steelhead category, Gene Ray of Paris, Ill., and Greg Dini, of Avilla, tied for first place with fish that measured 35 inches. Ray caught his in the St. Joseph River in St. Joseph County on an egg fly. Dini caught his in the
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INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
Indiana Outdoor News and Wild Indiana team up to provide Indiana’s premier outdoor news site Raghorn, Inc. CEO, Brian Smith, announced last month that Indiana Outdoor News (ION) and WildIndiana.com have teamed up to launch Indiana's number one online resource for state-wide outdoor news. The redesigned IndianaOutdoorNews.net website went live at 11:59 p.m. on February 16, 2012. Leveraging the resources of Indiana Outdoor News magazine with the content of WildIndiana.com, the new website promises to keep Hoosier outdoors enthusiasts informed about what is happening in the woods, fields and waters of the state. “I'm really excited about the redesign and our partnership with WildIndiana.com,” said ION Publisher Brian Smith. “This website is going to be the primary online destination for people looking for information and news about hunting, fishing, camping and every other outdoor activity across the Hoosier state.” WildIndiana.com creator, longtime Hoosier outdoor journalist and ION Webmaster, Brent T. Wheat, is also excited about the new project. “This partnership will bring the two most in-depth Indiana-focused internet resources together. I think this project marks a new era of electronic outdoor journalism in our state.” Raghorn, Inc. founded in 1994 by brothers Mark and Brian Smith, is the parent company to Indiana Outdoor News and Adventure Media Productions. The new ION website can be visited at www.indianaoutdoornews.net.
Indiana shooter named to USA Shooting 2012 Junior Olympic Shotgun Team COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -While the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team for shotgun will be decided in the coming months, the future of the program continues to unfold each year with the naming of the Junior Olympic Shotgun Team. This year, 22 shooters were selected for the team for which they will receive the support, assistance and coaching needed to advance through the ranks of competitive shotgun shooting. James Keldsen of Walkerto was one of the 22 shooters named to this year’s team The Junior Olympic program for USA shooting can often be the beginning of the Olympic journey for many shooters.The Junior Olympic Shotgun Team is the gateway into the USA Shooting Team’s Olympic path. National Shotgun Coach Bret Erickson and the Junior Olympic Shotgun Team committee reviewed 80-plus applications this year—a record number that indicates growth in the shooting sports. “The talent pool has strengthened over the past year and the competition was steep,” said Erickson, a four-time Olympian. “We’re happy to acknowledge this group of young kids in hopes that they’ll gain the confidence and maturity necessary to be elite-level shooters in our program down the road.” The team is comprised of nine trap, nine skeet and four double trap shooters. Keldsen was named to the skeet team.
Spring turkey season and hunter-ed.com offer a perfect combination for mentoring new hunters Spring turkey seasons will be opening soon, offering experienced hunters a great chance to introduce family and friends to hunting. Those who must pass a hunter safety course before they can purchase a hunting license for turkey season can get started on their training at www.hunter-ed.com. "Milder spring temperatures make it an ideal time to mentor new hunters on the finer points of calling in a big gobbler," said Kurt Kalkomey, president of Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc. "Hunter-ed.com will give students a head start on learning how to safely handle firearms and hunt defensively." Online hunter safety education courses are available in participating states. Students here in Indiana should visit hunter-ed.com and click on the Indiana DNR button to use the course materials approved by the Indiana DNR. Features such as detailed illustrations and interactive animations at hunter-ed.com make it easy for students to learn how to be safe and responsible hunters. Plus, an optional narration feature allows students to listen, read or both. Students can study for free at hunter-ed.com. Those who must receive their hunter education certification to obtain a hunting license pay a one-time fee, which is due only if they pass the test. Students can take the test as many times as they need to pass it. To take the online course, visit www.hunter-ed.com.
DNR launches “Talk to an Expert” on Facebook Facebook followers of the Indiana DNR can “talk” online with different people from the Department of Natural Resources once a month, during a new program launched on Feb. 9. The “Talk to an Expert” series features DNR experts on scheduled topics for one hour a month on the DNR Facebook page. Topics and experts will change every 3-4 weeks. The series is an opportunity to ask DNR personnel questions. Those who don’t have a specific question will have the chance to learn from others or clear up misconceptions. The first program on Feb. 9, from 2 to 3 p.m., featured two conservation officers: Lt.William Browne (public relations) and Lt. Larry Morrison (outdoor education). These conservation officers answered questions about DNR conservation laws. This month’s Talk to an Expert session is March 14 from 11AM-noon, and will cover birding topics with Indiana DNR’s nongame bird biologist, John Castrale. To join in the chats, go to the High fenced hunting bill dead Indiana Department of Natural ION STAFF REPORT -Resources Facebook wall, faceAfter pasing the House last month, HB 1265 has been assigned to book.com/INdnr, and click the Senate Rules Committee and, sources say, will not make it to the “like” (if you are not already a Senate floor during this legislative session. “friend”). You may begin typing Authored by Representatives Matt Ubelhor (Linton), Bob Heaton in questions during the hour and (Terre Haute), and Bob Morris (Fort Wayne), the proposed bill would the DNR experts will answer have legitimized at least four existing high-fenced hunting operations questions as time allows. in the state of Indiana and opened the practice to additional, new operFuture topics, instructions ations as long as certain conditions were met. The bill sought to reverse on how to join a conversation on Indiana’s 2005 legislative action which shut down all hunting and Facebook and commenting shooting of privately-raised cirvids (deer, elk and similar animals) guidelines are posted at inside fenced enclosures and spurred ongoing legal action. dnr.IN.gov/7315.htm.
March, 2012 Edition
Blue Grass Pit bass fishing improves under new rules DNR REPORT -Special bass fishing regulations at Blue Grass Pit are paying off for anglers. The 195-acre Blue Grass Pit at Blue Grass Fish & Wildlife Area in Warrick County has become one of the best largemouth bass fisheries in southwest Indiana. DNR fisheries biologists credit the pit’s success to regulations enacted in 2003, including a two-bass bag limit and an 18-inch minimum size limit The latest fisheries survey at Blue Grass Pit was conducted in 2011. The bass electrofishing catch rate was near the pit’s record high at 150 fish per hour. Also, the number of mature bass caught was significantly higher than prior years. Twenty-four percent of the bass sampled were at least 14 inches and 4 percent were at least 18 inches. The largest bass sampled was nearly 23 inches. Currently, bass take seven years to grow to 18 inches, so it is important for anglers to practice catch and release to help preserve the fishery. The first noticeable increase of larger bass at Blue Grass Pit occurred in 2008. Better fishing was also documented in the 2009 angler creel survey. The angler creel survey documented an explosion of big bass being caught and released as the number of bass at least 18 inches long increased from 66 in 2006 to 713 in 2009. The total number of bass caught of all sizes also increased over that same time period from 6,282 to 17,905. Both Blue Grass Pit and Loon Pit, which is also at Blue Grass FWA, were identified as having the potential to produce big bass based on their habitats and forage base. The special regulations were enacted at both pits. The number of larger bass has also improved at Loon Pit, but not to the same degree as at Blue Grass Pit. Much of Blue Grass and Loon pits is open to bank fishing, and there is an ADA accessible concrete ramp and a gravel boat ramp at each pit. Outboard motors must be operated at idle speed. The pits also offer crappie fishing and are two of the few lakes where the Division of Fish & Wildlife stocks muskie. A map of the property and other information can be viewed at fishing.IN.gov/3099.htm.
DNR offers online ATV safety course The Indiana Department Natural Resources Law Enforcement and Outdoor Recreation divisions are partnering to offer an online All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) safety course. ATVs and other off-road vehicles have increased in popularity over the past decade, but so have accidents. Indiana Conservation Officer Maj. Michael Portteus reports that ATV accidents are have increased nearly 40 percent over the past four years from 153 in 2008 to 214 last year. “The online safety course will educate people on the safety rules of riding, using and operating an ATV,” said Lt. Larry Morrison, head of DNR Law Enforcement’s outdoor education program. The online course presents a wide variety of information on the basics of ATVs, safe operation of ATVs, responsibilities of riders to others and the environment, and general information on preparing for the unexpected. The online course can be
found at offroaded.com/in/index.htm and can be studied at a personal pace. A $30 fee is assessed prior to beginning the certification test. Individuals who successfully complete the test are issued a lifetime certification card. “This certification ensures that the operator is well educated and has learned how to safely operate an ATV, which is the first step in reducing the number of ATV accidents in Indiana,” said Dale Brier, chief of DNR Outdoor Recreation’s streams and trails section.
Fish of the Year -- Continued from Cover LaPorte County waters of Lake Michigan on a spoon. • Joshua Gansman of Tennyson won in both the sauger and saugeye categories. Gansman caught a 19-inch sauger from a private pond in Warrick County on a redeye shad and a 24-inch saugeye from Huntingburg Lake in Dubois County, also on a redeye shad. • William Taylor of Crown Point won bragging rights for a 39-inch Northern pike from the Kankakee River in Lake County. He caught the fish on a double spinner. As previously announced last summer, one angler caught a fish of state-record weight in 2011. Nine-year-old Noah Smith of Delaware, Ohio, established the first state record for a spotted gar. He caught the 29.2-inch, 3.2-pound fish from Crooked Lake in Steuben County using a live minnow. New for 2012 in the contest, the Indiana Record Fish Program and Fish of the Year will recognize the lake whitefish species. In Indiana, lake whitefish are primarily caught in Lake Michigan in early spring and late fall. For information about the State Record Fish or Fish of the Year programs, go to Fishing.IN.gov/3577.htm. To find out where to fish, go to Fishing.IN.gov and click on the interactive “Where to Fish Finder” link. To purchase an Indiana fishing license online, see IndianaOutdoor.IN.gov.
March, 2012 Edition
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
Another side to the story ® Volume 2012 • Number 3
JOSHLANTZ I’ve never considered myself one of those hard-hitting, gotchatype journalists, nor have I ever inspired to be one. I do, however, recognize and appreciate my role as a conduit for good information. Sometimes, this is as simple as passing along fact-checked outdoor news items prepared by other organizations, or editing and publishing interesting or inspiring stories prepared by one of our columnists or some other talented outdoor writer. Occasionally, however, I am contacted by a person or group wanting our readers -- Indiana’s outdoor enthusiasts -- to be made aware of certain information affecting them which others in positions of power or influence may not be as eager to have released. Sometimes these people ask to remain anonymous in order to protect their jobs Such an instance happened late last month. Since then, I’ve heard more than a few concerns from several Indiana Conservation Officers (ICOs) -- the brave men and women charged with investigating crimes and enforcing laws that protect our state’s wildlife and other natural and cultural resources -regarding their day-to-day job duties. The chief concern being voiced is that new and increasing emphasis is being placed by agency supervisors on non-wildlife law enforcement and crime prevention activities. Specifically, officers are telling Indiana Outdoor News that their primary job duties are suffering because they are being expected to make a specified number of traffic stops and other non-conservation-related arrests or face what is known as progressive discipline. I hear that drug investigations are also commanding an increasing amount of our ICOs’ time, further removing them from their core mission of preventing natural resource
violations. “Quotas are in full swing”, one officer recently relayed to me. “Traffic stops, vehicle searches for drugs and alcohol and subsequent arrests are expected or you aren't doing your job and will pay the consequences”, the officer continued. Additional sources from inside the agency tell me that every Lieutenant has been instructed to have their officers start stopping more cars and doing more traffic enforcement. I’m also told that a recent letter sent to all districts suggests that progressive discipline will be used to increase arrests for officers not meeting their traffic quotas, although I have not been provided with a copy of such a letter. According to ION sources, progressive discipline includes time off without pay. I can understand how encouraging ICO’s to make a couple of traffic stops per month could be perceived as good practice for the officers. Makes sense to me. But some of the officers I spoke with believe revenue issues are at play. I was told the DNR Division of Law Enforcement (DLE) gets $3 for each ticket issued to spend on training. If this revenue is driving how our ICO’s are being directed to spend their time, that’s a problem. But these reports are troubling for a larger reason. The officers I’ve heard from are concerned that the DLE is continuing to move away from its core mission of investigating crimes and enforcing laws that protect our state’s natural resources -- those traditional activities collectively referred to as conservation law. Those are their words, not mine. The Indiana DNR’s overall mission statement is to “Preserve, protect and promote Indiana’s cultural, historical and natural resources”. So what then is the mission of the DNR’s DLE? I always assumed it was conservation law, but when I looked, I couldn’t find a specific mission statement on their website. Assuming conservation law is still the DLE’s mission, why then have traffic citations, non-boating drug, alcohol and other types of criminal arrests allegedly become an officer evaluation requirement and now a priority? I’d like to know because, personally, I can’t think of a good reason as to why our ICO’s should be routinely providing services that
are already being provided by other state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies. We need to remember that the DLE’s mision is broader than fish and wildlife, so they can’t spend all their time busting poachers. Their work also encompasses important services like environmental and cultural resource protection, public safety and public outreach -- again, all manner of law enforcement and crime prevention with respect to our natural, cultural and historic resources. Our ICO’s can’t catch cave vandals or assist in rescuing someone who fell through the ice if they are busy doing activities already provided by traditional law enforcement agencies. All of that said, sportsmen do pay for the majority of the work the DLE is doing. Well over half of the DLE’s annual budget comes from dedicated Fish and Wildlife funds paid directly by hunters, fishermen and boaters. So from the sportsman’s perspective, an ICO pulling over speeders on the highway is an ICO that isn’t crawling through the weeds busting poachers, patrolling boat ramps and waterways to curb the spread of invasive species, or investigating illegal wildlife trade. On page 8 of this issue, you’ll find an unedited interview ION columnist Alan Garbers conducted with IDNR’s Dept. of Law Enforcement Director, Colonel Scotty Wilson. It’s a good read, and Col. Wilson shares some interesting insights to specific changes and recent advancements made inside the DLE. What you won’t see, however, is any discussion on an increased focus by the DLE on traffic stops and other non-conservation law enforcement activity as alleged and reported to us by many active ICOs. To the contrary, Col. Wilson simply states that the ICO’s role “has not changed” and “will not change”. These statements stand in stark contrast to those reported to us by active duty ICO’s. More detailed information is obviously needed. Indiana Outdoor News would ike to hear from more active duty ICOs about the emphasis of their current training, what (if any) specific quotas exist, and the details of their assigned day-to-day activities. Of course, we also welcome additional information, clarification and
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INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
Well, read on. This month is going to be a lot better.
JIMBIDDLE You won’t believe it. During the month of February I spent most mornings practicing yoga on the beach in Nokomis, Florida. I guess you are never to old to learn something new. I can’t believe how much flexibility my body has lost over the years! I have heard that yoga will help lower your blood pressure, reduce stress and lead to all around better health. I think it will improve my casting ability, so watch for me along the shoreline or in the boat. I will be the guy standing on one leg, like the karate kid, making a deadly cast to the only open spot among the lily pads. I will either catch a lot of fish or entertain a lot of fish. One thing for sure, I’ll be the most interesting fisherman in the area. Enough about my activities. Let’s see what the prospects are for your fishing activities this month. My contacts all agree fishing should really start picking up this month. I know it has been a lousy season for ice fishing. When we did get ice it wasn’t thick enough for fishing and it also prevented good open water fishing. I guess it has been a lose-lose situation.
Lake Michigan Ed Avenatti from Mik-Lurch Tackle in Hammond says the perch are hitting in the river by Cal Park at the state line. Ed says you should use fathead minnows for the best action. There has also been some decent coho action around Michigan City, where the folks are using spoons, little cleos and night crawlers with good results. Look for coho action to really pick up along Indiana’s coastline towards the end of the month. Of course, the steelhead and brown trout will be in the mix too. Ed thinks the whitefish are making pretty good comeback especially around Michigan City, so give it a try using a small piece of crawler or a single shrimp egg fished on the bottom. Burns Ditch is a good spot to take a coho or brown and Wolf Lake is the place for walleye or crappies. Saint Joseph River Dick Parker of Parker’s Central Bait & Tackle in Mishawaka tells me the steelhead fishing is good down from the Twin Branch Dam. Dick expects an early spring run this year, and suggests you use plugs, shrimp or wax worms. Northwest Indiana Penny Boisvert at Greenwood Bait Shop in English Lake will be
opening for the season on March 1st and will have everything you need to help you catch your limit. Penny says they’re taking some northerns at the point in English Lake. East Central Indiana Ed Gipson at Peacepipe Bait & Tackle at Andrews reports good crappie action around the 105 bridge. The bass action is slowly picking in the area and most of the fellows are using plugs and suspending jerkbaits. Try landing a walleye below the spillway using a big, juicy night crawler. Catfish action is slow but getting better as the weather continues to warm up. If catfish are your target, use shad guts or chicken livers. Several friends of mine say Berkely’s Gulp! corn always get them a mess of catfish, so give it a try.
North Central Indiana Dave Garber at Ye Old Tackle Box in North Webster says if you fish the local channels with min-
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West Central Indiana Terry Raines from Twin Lakes Fish & Game reports good walleye action below Norway Dam. The best action seems to be with deerhair jigs tipped with minnows. Looking ahead, Terry expects some nice crappie and catfish action later this month. Southwest Indiana Barbara Shedd from the Fishin Shedd in Bloomington says
she has been selling a lot of crappie minnows and we all know what that means. Barbara expects the walleye action to take off this month, so head down to Monroe and get your share. Well, since I’ve finished this report I think I’ll get back to figuring out how yoga can improve my fishing. I think I’ll try some balance poses with my fly rod as it is longer and might make balancing on one leg a little easier! I should say to all of you, “don’t try this at home”. Keep in mind I’ve had yoga lessons! Hey, good luck and remember what OL’ JB always says, “You can’t catch a fish sitting in your recliner, unless you own a really fancy boat, so get up and get out there.” See you next month.
Central Indiana Junior McCalla from the Bait Barn in Indianapolis tells me that you can get some nice crappies in moving water using minnows, spikes or pinkies fished beneath a float. Junior expects catfish and bluegill action to really pick up this month. If you want to try for largemouth or smallmouth, fish deep with night crawlers or try a JPS lure.
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nows you should get some crappies. Dave expects the bluegill action to pick up this month so stock up with wigglers and bee moths. There has been some early muskie action with Rattle Traps and the bass are hitting on crank baits.
March, 2012 Edition
Gary Nichols of Syracuse caught this beautiful steelhead on the St. Joe River system fishing with World Class Fly Fishing last April.
March, 2012 Edition
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
Barbour buck beats all
LOUIESTOUT Don Barbour had been thinking about the trophy buck almost daily since late December, 2010 when he saw the brute in hot pursuit of does. “That told me he made it through the hunting season,” said Barbour, who spotted the deer earlier that year but couldn't get off the shot. “I could only hope he'd make it into the 2011 season.” It did - until opening day of gun season. Barbour dropped the 24-point buck in southeastern St. Joseph County with a single shot from his Marlin .44 Mag rifle from 80 yards out. John Bogucki, deer scorer for Boone and Crockett and Hoosier Record Buck Program (HRBP), announced in mid-January that Barbour's deer not only made both record books, but becomes the highest scoring non-typical whitetail ever taken in St. Joseph County. Bogucki pegged Barbour's deer as a 22-point buck with a net score of 208 4/8. The gross score, before deductions, was 213 7/8. It
erased the previous record (207 7/8) set in 2002 by James L. Stone of Bremen. Despite the 24 visible prongs, the Barbour buck scored officially with 22 points, had 24 1/2-inch main beam lengths and 8-inch tines. It wasn't a big-bodied animal, field dressing at 168 pounds. And while the rack wasn't massive, it was definitely impressive. “It looked like a picket fence,” noted Bogucki. “It's an outstanding deer, and when you consider no one has ever shot one like it in this county during the 60 years that records have been kept, that's pretty remarkable.” So remarkable, in fact, that Bogucki ranks it the third largest non-typical ever taken in northern Indiana. Larger ones were killed from Marshall and LaPorte counties in previous years. Antlers are scored as typical and non-typical based upon the overall appearance. Typical antlers are considered “normal” when they have an equal number of points on each side and points grow in the same direction. Barbour's deer had 12 on one side and 10 on the other. “To give you an idea how unusual this is, there have only been two non-typical Hoosier Record Book bucks recorded from this county during the past 60 years,” said Bogucki. “And statewide, only about 12 non-typi-
cal racks make it into the Boone and Crockett record book each year, out of some 120,000 deer killed annually.” The rare feat is not lost on the 62-year old Barbour who has been deer hunting for 40 years. He hunted 13 years before he killed his first buck - a 13 pointer - one of 14 trophies that grace the wall in his home. The owner of Toolmasters, Inc. in Mishawaka got a glimpse of the newest trophy two years ago, and in 2010, spotted the animal standing on the other side of a fence as he was leaving the woods. He saw the deer again the day before the 2011 gun season opened and knew his chances were good. At 8:15 the next morning, the buck emerged in hot pursuit of a doe. “I grunted, the doe heard me and started working in my direction and that brought him in,” Barbour said. “He was coming straight at me, but kinda turned his shoulder and I put the crosshairs on the heart area and squeezed off the shot. The deer dropped on the spot.” Barbour, an avid bow hunter, recalled an earlier encounter during archery season when a nice 8 pointer stepped into range. “I started to draw on him, but I had that big (24 pointer) in mind,” he said, noting he would have used up his one-and-only Indiana buck permit on the 8 pointer. “I'm glad I waited.”
Don Barbour shows off his record-shattering buck taken with a gun in St. Joseph County. (Photo provided)
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
March, 2012 Edition
The Straight Shooter BRENTWHEAT One of Elvis Presley's favorite sayings was “TCB,” which stands for “Taking care of business.” While we're not exactly sure what The King meant, we do know that for a shooter, taking care of business means taking care of your firearm. Now that the hunting seasons are over, most firearms are safely tucked away in the gun cabinet for that long off-season nap. Unfortunately, many of those weapons were put to bed needing a bath worse than your five-year-old after he discovered the joys of a deep mud puddle. Cleaning your gun is a vital task if you want a properly performing and accurate firearmn. Without proper care, your firearm will eventually fail, often at the most inopportune moment. Just like 14-year-old boys discussing women on a street corner, there is much disinformation, myth and misunderstanding about the act of cleaning firearms. Add in the
manufacturers hype about cleaning products and you end up with many shooters who bewildered about the best way to remove the crud and grime from their blunderbuss. First and foremost is safety. All ammunition should be accounted for, stored away from your workbench and the gun triplechecked to make sure it is unloaded. There is absolutely no reason for the old “I didn't know the gun was loaded”-type accident. We consider all weapons always loaded, all the time! As a health precaution, I also wear nitrile gloves while cleaning to prevent absorption of mercury and all those other toxic substances that end up on your skin while cleaning a firearm. After your safety preparations are complete, you can then dismantle the gun. If you don't know proper field-stripping procedures for your weapon, pull out that dusty owner's manual or visit the Internet. With a bit of research, you will undoubtedly find a description of the proper technique regardless of weapon. Once the gun is apart, we open the festivities with solvent. While there are literally hundreds of types on the market, we are big fans of the traditional Hoppe's #9 for this part of the service. When buying a cleaner, be careful before purchasing any of the super-aggressive cleaners. I have seen rifle barrels
ruined by using strong copperremoving chemicals because the solvent doesn't really know when it is done eating copper and will continue onto the steel of the barrel, albeit at a slower rate. Abrasive cleaners and complete de-greasers shouldn't ever be used except in special situations and then only under the direction of a licensed physician or local religious leader. The first order of business is to run a solvent-soaked patch into the barrel to soak. The longer exposure will help loosen the stubborn metal, plastic and powder fouling. Set the barrel aside and begin work on the action of the gun. Be careful when it comes to slopping solvent around. While copious amounts should be used when scrubbing away dirt and fouling, you must use care to remove every trace afterward. One of my favorite cleaning accessories is a box of cotton swabs. They are perfect for wiping and soaking up chemicals from every nook and cranny so long as you take care to remove any lint that gets caught on sharp corners. Pay particular attention to rails and bearing surfaces. These are the
locations where even a bit of dirt or a stray metal shaving can slow things down enough to cause a malfunction. Also wipe out magazine wells and tubes with a dry cloth. These frequently-neglected locations collect dirt and often cause feeding malfunctions. Don't forget to give the overall outside of the weapon a good wiping to remove invisible skin oils and acids that will eventually cause rust, even to a stainless steel or polymer-coated gun. Once the other parts are sparkling clean, turn your attention to the barrel. It requires a scrub with solvent-soaked patches, followed by a copper brush and then dry patches until they exit the barrel without any residue. Old-time
shooters frequently admonish you to make a cleaning pass for every round fired. We don't necessarily subscribe to this formula but we do frequently see shooters who stop working before the barrel is truly clean. Take the time to make a few more passes. Work from the breech whenever possible and protect the muzzle of the gun. Should you damage the crown (the end of the barrel), your weapon will never again shoot accurately. This is why steel cleaning rod and brushes should be used with exceptional care as they can easily damage this critical area of the gun.
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The tools of the trade: solvent, cotton swabs, a scrub brush and cleaning rod are ready to make this fine old double-barrel shotgun ready for next hunting season.
The Smokin’ Gun Combo Specialties
Hunter’s Specialties® new Smokin’ Gun Combo comes with three great new calls to help turkey hunters fill their tag this spring. The Smoking Gun Combo includes the box call, glass friction call and diaphragm call. The Smokin’ Gun box call is a true hand made custom hybrid boat paddle style call that not only sounds great, but Hawke Red-Dot Sights looks great as well. The call is completely waterproof and is constructed of walnut. It can easily produce all the sounds in Hawke® Red-Dot sights offer many features as standard, including the turkey vocabulary including gobbler yelps. It comes with 4 or 5 M.O.A. red dot with eleven brightness settings, fully coated an attached elastic strap to quiet the call during transport. optics and a wide field of view to provide extra light gathering. Other The Smokin’ Gun friction call features a custom made wood pan with the latest in sounding board techgoodies include positive windage and elevation adjustment turrets, 5” at nology for the most realistic yelps, clucks, cutts and purrs available. The larger friction surface allows hunters 50 yards, unlimited eye relief and fixed focus, which enables use on pisto easily use their striker in different locations on the call to change pitch and tone, sounding like several diftols, shotguns and bows. ferent hens. The deep pan also provides plenty of volume when needed 5 models are available ranging in price from about $45 - $50. We The Premium Flex™ Smokin’ Gun diaphragm call is of three reed design with a middle cut for higher recommend the Red Dot 30 (Weaver Rail) model HK3206 for most pitch. It features Infinity Latex®, the most durable and consistent latex available for diaphragm calls. The turkey hunting aplications. Go to www.hawkeoptics.com. Infinity Latex calls also use water resistant tape, so hunters G.Loomis PRO4x can easily get a full season of use Fly Rods out of each call. The Smokin’ Gun Combo The industry leading rod sells for a suggested retail price designers at G.Loomis took a page of $49.99. For more information from their breakthrough NRX blank about other Hunter’s Specialties technology to develop an all new products, log onto the Hunter’s series of 4-piece fly rods they call Specialties website at the PRO4x. An all new taper www.hunterspec.com. design along with a noticeable weight-reduction in the upper half of the blank results in a rod that is LakeMaster ProMap Hi-Definition Maps Exclusively for Humminbird incredibly light, recovers quickly and casts with precision. LakeMaster® ProMap Hi-Definition Lakes cartography packages are Eleven models are available in now available for Humminbird® Combo units in the 700, 800, 900 and 1100 the new PRO4x line, from an 8’ 3Series™. wt. to a 9’ 12-wt. Indina’s steelSeven complete coverage packages are currently available, including: headers may be especilly fond of Dakotas/Nebraska, Iowa/Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas/Oklahoma, the 6, 7 and 8 wt. models offered in a 10’ length. We selected the 9’ 8 wt. Wisconsin and Woods/Rainy (Ontario, CA). An Indiana/Ohio package will for steelhead, salmon and largemouth crossover duty. be released later this spring, along with Florida/Georgia/Alabama. At a retail price of around $350, the PRO4x is the most affordable An exclusive Water Level Offset feature allows users to synchronize the fly rod G.Loomis currently offers. But don’t be fooled into thinking this depth contours and shorelines of their LakeMaster charts with the actual rod is only for beginners or intermediates. Our 9’ 8-weight has power to water levels of lakes, reservoirs and rivers at the time they are fishing for unmatched accuracy. An additionspare and shoots a line farther and more accurately than other rods we’ve al Highlight Depth feature allows users to select and highlight a particular depth range to more easily target cast at twice the price of the PRO4x. To us, the PRO4x seems to have productive water and stay in the bite zone. Other unique features include Shallow Water Highlight, an easyalmost all the sophistication and power of the top-of-the-line NRX, to-see shading which highlights shallow water areas on a user-adjustable range from 0-15'. minus the NRX’s expensive nano-resin. Lakemaster ProMap Hi-Definition mapping is available exclusively to Humminbird Color Combo Units We’re not alone in our affinity for the new PRO4x. It was named in their 700, 800, 900 and 1100 Series. Fore more Best Fly Rod at the 2011 ICAST show in LasVegas last summer -- the information, go to www.lakemap.com/humminworld’s premier fishing tradeshow. For more information, go to birddigitalgpsfishingmapcards.aspx. www.gloomis.com.
March, 2012 Edition
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
D.L.SMITH Curves in Camo Growing up in Lower Michigan, it always fascinated me when my friends related stories about their vacations “up north”. The stories of fishing with their families and campfires on small islands seemed exotic to me. My mother was from down south so when family vacation time came we always headed that direction. When we fished it was for bass and crappie, never the exotic fish of the north, walleye. I’ve had the opportunity to fish in many famous fisheries throughout the US and Canada, but there is still a special mysticism about heading north for me. So when I had the opportunity to head to Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods, I knew I would be embarking on a true northern adventure. It excited me that we would be fishing in the northernmost county in the United States. Sure, I’ve fished Alaska -- that’s north, but somehow not the north of my imagination. As I looked out from the deck of the Border View Lodge, I knew that this was the exotic North
that had fascinated me as a child. Here was the home of the exotic walleye and the prehistoric lake sturgeon. Sure I’d fished for them before and caught more than my fair share, but this was something different. This fishery was mindboggling. Lake of the Woods has 65,000 miles of shoreline and some 14,000 islands. With 950,400 acres of water, you could spend your whole life fishing this lake and never fish the same place twice. People here are dedicated to year round fishing and truly using the natural resources out their back doors. The ice doesn’t even stop them. Seeing
the hundred of icehouses lined up waiting for the cold weather confirmed what I had heard, Lake of the Woods is hard-core. It seemed overwhelming -- all that water, all of those fish. Where should we start? Just in case I had my doubts about what type of fish we would be going for, Willie the Walleye in town reminded me of what fish is king up here. For those who have never visited Lake of the Woods, Willie the Walleye is a 40-foot long 2.5-ton lunker that greets visitors to the small and friendly Town of Baudette, MN, reminding everyone that Lake of the Woods is the walleye capital of the world. Willie is definitely outside the slot limit. We motored out with our guide and began drift fishing for walleye and sauger using crawler harnesses with a variety of live baits. The spinners also varied in color. Our guide advised throwing a variety to see what they were biting on. I had on a white spinner with a minnow. My niece, Mya, was drifting with an attractive orange spinner with a leech. We drifted over the ledge and began being attacked by walleyes. “Fish on!” rang out on the boat. We soon had a respectable number of walleyes in the cooler. My niece Mya and myself even had a double hookup. Nothing beats the excitement of having to wait your turn for the landing net. Yes, we are that good. Mya had her fishing mojo rocking and she nailed both walleyes and saugers. She even landed some fish in the slot
that had to be released. Shore lunch was a welcome break, as my wrist was getting sore from all that reeling and fish wrangling. I had worked up an appetite. We had an excellent shore lunch on Garden Island. Garden Island is a picturesque island that is conveniently located near the most popular fishing hot spots. Enjoying fish caught an hour earlier is a real treat. Even the pelicans looked envious. We went back out and drifted a little more, mainly for fun. Mya was still hot, and the fish just kept jumping on her hook.
We were beat by the end of the day. It was great to head back and enjoy a beautiful Lake of the Woods evening. We had dinner out on the deck over looking the Rainy River and were able to enjoy the cooling of the evening -- yet another joy of fishing up north. It had been a long day. The kind of day that generates fishing stories and sore muscles. I was bone tired but ready to go again. I had found the exotic “up north” I’ve always dreamed about, and I intend to follow my compass back -- the sooner the better.
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
March, 2012 Edition
Q&A with IDNR’s Director of Law Enforcement
ALANGARBERS In January 2010 Colonel Scotty Wilson became the new director of the Law Enforcement Division of the INDR. After being the top Indiana Conservation Officer for a year we thought it would be interesting to catch up with Col. Wilson and see how things are going and what the future might hold under his direction. ION: How has your first year as director been? Col. Wilson: It's been a busy year! Due to a change in the retirement benefits several Officers and staff members close to retiring decided to retire early. As a result of this and normal attrition we experienced thirty-four vacancies as of May 2011. ION: What else has changed during this last year? Col. Wilson: Each district used to
have a Commander and an Assistant Commander, with the Assistant Commander's position being filled with a 1st Sergeant. Now when a 1st Sergeant retires we replace the position with three Corporal positions to get more front-line supervisors out in the field. This started prior to my direction but with all the retirements, we've had more opportunities to put it into action. ION: What's your history with the DNR? Col. Wilson: In 1985 I was assigned as a field officer in Knox County. I worked in SW Indiana along the Wabash for two years. I then transferred to Perry County and worked there until 2001, when I received a promotion to the position of District 7 Field Commander back in the SW portion of the state. In 2006 I was promoted to the Logistics Major which is an executive position here at headquarters. In 2009 I was promoted to the position of Executive Officer and held that position until being appointed as Director by Governor Daniels. ION: How has an ICO's role changed since you started? Col. Wilson: Our role hasn't changed but the application of it
has. One big change is going to be the new 24-hour dispatch center. We've never had 24-hour dispatch center for this organization before. In the past if a person needed assistance they had to contact a regional dispatcher between 8am and midnight at one number, a local county sheriff at another number, or a district office from 8am to 4:30pm at another number... Soon they will be able to call just one number 24 hours a day, seven days a week to have an ICO respond. It will be quite a milestone because not only will a citizen be able to contact the dispatcher 24/7, so will the ICO's, and the dispatchers will know who needs to be contacted for each situation and how to get in touch with them in the quickest manner. Along with this, ICO's will still maintain contact and dispatch capabilities with local law enforcement in their assigned areas. ION: What about your role in the future? Col. Wilson: Our role won't change but we are making sure we remain focused on it. To do our job properly we must get our boots dirty, because our job starts where the blacktop stops or the water begins. And we must not allow tasks outside of our primary area of responsibility distract us from our mission.
Colonel Scotty Wilson and K-9 partner, Judge. Photo provided. Our role with Homeland Security is supporting the community and other law enforcement agencies by focusing on what we do best with the spe-
cial training and resources we use every day, not doing a job that
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March, 2012 Edition
2012 March 01 Thu 02 Fri 03 Sat 04 Sun 05 Mon 06 Tue 07 Wed 08 Thu 09 Fri 10 Sat 11 Sun 12 Mon 13 Tue 14 Wed 15 Thu 16 Fri 17 Sat 18 Sun 19 Mon 20 Tue 21 Wed 22 Thu 23 Fri 24 Sat 25 Sun 26 Mon 27 Tue 28 Wed 29 Thu 30 Fri 31 Sat
A.M. Minor ----12:29 1:16 2:03 2:48 3:34 4:21 5:11 6:04 7:02 9:04 10:09 11:13 ----12:46 1:40 2:30 3:15 3:57 4:37 5:17 5:59 6:42 7:29 8:18 9:09 10:01 10:54 11:47 12:14 1:03
A.M Major 5:53 6:42 7:29 8:16 9:01 9:47 10:34 11:24 ----12:48 2:50 3:54 4:59 6:01 7:00 7:54 8:42 9:27 10:08 10:48 11:28 ----12:31 1:17 2:06 2:57 3:49 4:42 5:34 6:26 7:15
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
P. M. Minor 12:06 12:55 1:42 2:29 3:14 4:00 4:46 5:36 6:31 7:30 9:33 10:38 11:43 12:16 1:14 2:07 2:55 3:39 4:19 4:59 5:39 6:20 7:04 7:51 8:40 9:32 10:25 11:19 ----12:38 1:28
P.M. Major 6:18 7:07 7:55 8:41 9:27 10:12 10:59 11:49 12:17 1:16 3:18 4:23 5:28 6:31 7:28 8:21 9:08 9:51 10:31 11:10 11:49 12:31 12:53 1:40 2:29 3:20 4:13 5:06 5:59 6:51 7:41
Sunrise 07:17 07:16 07:14 07:13 07:11 07:10 07:08 07:07 07:05 07:03 08:02 08:00 07:59 07:57 07:56 07:54 07:52 07:51 07:49 07:48 07:46 07:44 07:43 07:41 07:40 07:38 07:36 07:35 07:33 07:32 07:30
Sunset 06:36 06:37 06:38 06:39 06:40 06:41 06:42 06:43 06:44 06:45 07:46 07:47 07:48 07:49 07:50 07:51 07:52 07:53 07:54 07:55 07:56 07:57 07:58 07:59 08:00 08:01 08:02 08:03 08:04 08:05 08:06
Fishing Quality / Notes Fair / Waxing Half Moon Fair Fair Poor Poor Fair Fair Fair / Full Moon Fair Fair Fair Fair Poor Poor Fair / Waning Half Moon Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair Good Good / New Moon Good Good Good Fair Fair Fair Fair / Waxing Half Moon Poor Fair
Indiana Outdoor Calendar - March Upland Preserve Hunting Season Open All Month. Mar 1: Last day of Late Crow Hunting Season Mar 2-4: Marsh Madness Bird Festival at Goose Pond FWA (more info at www.marchmadness.info) Mar 1-11: Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic (info at www.basspro.com) Mar 3: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Dinner in Valparaiso (see ad on opposite page) Mar 3: Porter County DU Decoy Painting Greenwing Event (www.ducks.org/indiana) Mar 3: Decatur County DU Sportsman's Night Out (www.ducks.org/indiana) Mar 3: Youngs Creek DU Dinner (www.ducks.org/indiana) Mar 10: Indiana DU Volunteer Celebration Day (www.ducks.org/indiana) Mar 15: Last day of Coyote Hunting Season Mar 16-18: Fort Wayne Outdoor Sports, Lake & Cabin Show (www.sportsandcabinshow.com) Mar 16-18: Ohio Deer and Turkey Expo in Columbus (www.deerinfo.com) Mar 17: Mud Lake DU Greenwing Event (www.ducks.org/indiana) Mar 17: Adams County DU Dinner Banquet (www.ducks.org/indiana) Mar 23-25: Illinois Deer and Turkey Classic in Peoria (www.deerinfo.com) Mar 24: Wa-Nee DU Dinner Banquet (www.ducks.org/indiana) Mar 24: Kankakee Valley DU Dinner Banquet (www.ducks.org/indiana) Mar 30-Apr 1: Wisconsin Deer and Turkey Expo in Madison (www.deerinfo.com) Mar 31: Allens Creek SRA Spring Cleanup (contact Jill Vance at (812) 837-9546 or jvance@dnr.IN.gov) • A variety of Hunter Education courses are offered around the state this month. For details, visit www.in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/4812.htm. • For current information about Ducks Unlimited banquets and events throughout Indiana this month, visit www.ducks.org/indiana. • For a list of National Wild Turkey Federation events in Indiana this month, go to www.nwtf.org/in_your_state/banquet.php.
A Marketplace for the Outdoor Enthusiast!
1 Sets of antlers 5 Ants, gnats 8 Material for bullet jacket 10 Tasty mollusks 11 Old wild pig or elephant bull 12 Hunting and fishing equipment 14 Tom’s weapon 15 A station for still hunting 16 Male turkeys 19 Put deer lure on a scent ___ 21 A group of decoys 23 No. of game, fish, fowl allowed 24 Controlls spread of shot pellets 26 A male dall 27 Where you fish for the brookie 30 A deer and squirrel food source 33 Arboreal duck nickname 34 Small, fast flying duck 35 Parts of antlers 38 Popular, tasty icefishing catch 41 Brings a catch into the boat 43 Fly pattern used for steelhead 44 Outdoor activity regulation 45 Inshore Florida gamefish 46 Term for crack in a bow stave
1 Jolt from a fired gun 2 A brook trout or dolly varden 3 pheasant, quail: _____ game 4 Commercial fishing equipment 5 The water wolf 6 Large, true bass 7 An aid to finding fish 9 A buck mating period 12 A Rocky Mountain game 13 To closely follow a game 15 Camo slip-ons for a bow 17 A silvery minnow bait 18 A wood used in arrow shafts 20 The hunter’s quarry 22 He hunts with a snare 25 Rules for hunting and fishing 28 A species of diving duck 29 Sought by thr trapper 31 Squirrels gather them 32 Turkey egg eater 33 Subsurface fly type 36 A type of open sight 37 Female dalls 38 Deer food source 39 Hog hunter’s reward 40 Line grommets on a fishing rod 41 A Gun Organization 42 To construct a fly
Answers on page 17!
GET RESULTS! Place your ad in the ION Outdoor Directory. 2”x2” ad just $30 per run! This spinning reel you sold me won’t stop spinning.
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
s is the case with many of us involved in the outdoor industry, I wear many hats. While hunting and fishing are my passions, they don’t always pay the light bill, so I do have a day job. Besides this publication, filming Wild Adventures Television and Angling the Great Lakes Television, I also own and operate a funeral home located in Knox, IN. It was a Wednesday night and I was up on a scaffold working on a remodeling project in our living quarters at the funeral home when my cell phone began to ring. Before I could climb down, it stop ringing and went to voicemail. I wrestled the phone from my pocket and looked at the caller ID. It read “Carol Corey”. Immediately, I thought to myself, “well, it must be time to start working on Turkey Tracks”, so I hit redial on my phone. About that time my wife, Lori, walked in the room with the office phone in her hand, talking. She was upset. Almost simultaneously, Doug Corey answered the phone in my hand, and I could tell from his voice that it was bad news. The words he said to me nearly brought me to my knees. “Mark, we lost Eric, he just passed away a little bit ago here at the house.” Cleaned up and clothes changed, I walked out into the cold night air toward the garage to get the funeral car. Immediately, my mind was flooded with the memories of my first contact with the Corey family. The entire drive out into the countryside to Eric’s house I reminisced with Tony, an avid hunter and my right-hand at the funeral home, about that first meeting. Believe it or not, it was at a funeral luncheon at the Eagle Creek Church fellowship hall, after a funeral service I had handled for a friend and neighbor of the Corey’s. Doug and Carol approached me and wanted to know if they could ask a favor. They knew I was an avid outdoorsman, and they knew of my involvement with this publication, the weekly radio show hosted by my brother Brian and I on our local radio station, as well as, our first
March, 2012 Edition
Eric Corey: attempt on television on our local PBS station. They told me about their teenage son, Eric, and his love of hunting. They said he was absolutely consumed with the desire to hunt every waking moment -- so much so they felt it was affecting his grades in school. Their request was that maybe my brother and I could take him to the set of the TV show, and maybe to the radio station, and even the lay-out room for this publication (which by the way, at that time was located in the basement of the funeral home). Their hope was that by doing this Eric would see the importance of keeping grades up in school, even if he wanted to make a career of the outdoors. Needless to say, I said yes. Unfortunately, none of that ever happened. Several weeks after that conversation, I was sitting on a bench at the local 4-H fair with Eric’s uncle, Terry Corey, when Eric and a group of other young boys walked by. I noticed Eric seemed to have an awkward step to his stride. I asked Terry about it and he filled me in that Eric had been diagnosed with ALS. At the young age of 15 he was one of the youngest people to be diagnosed with the condition, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Terry went on to tell me that Eric’s grandfather also had ALS and that it was fatal, typically within 5 to 10 years. Needless to say, the yet undiagnosed ALS probably had as much to do with the issues surrounding Eric’s grades as did his preoccupation with hunting. My wheels were immediately turning. To Terry’s knowledge, Eric had never been outside of our county to hunt. That same night I was on the phone with my brother Brian and we were trying to put together a hunting trip that Eric would never forget. The people in the outdoor industry are some of the most compassionate and generous people I know, and in no time flat, things started happening. After a short conversation with the owner, we had a trip planned with Safari Nordik to northern Quebec for caribou. A quick conversation with my friend, and pilot, Leigh Smith, and we had air transportation, in his private plane, from our local airport to Quebec. Next we made contact with Tina Pattison at Hunt of a Lifetime and introduced her to the Corey family. Usually, Hunt of a Lifetime would have organized the entire endeavor, but since Brian and I had already secured the hunt and the transportation, Tina arranged for a shopping spree at Gander Mountain, that completely outfitted Eric, head to toe, clothing, guns and ammo, for the trip. More importantly, it forged what will likely be a lifelong friendship between Eric’s mom, Carol and Tina, who formed Hunt of a Lifetime after her own terminally-ill son’s request for a hunt was rejected by a prominent wishgranting foundation. On September 20, 2002, Eric, his father Doug, myself, and pilot Leigh Smith departed in the pre-dawn darkness from the Starke County Airport and Eric was off on his first adventure. We spent a glorious week in the wild tundra of northern Quebec, where I had the privilege of filming Eric and his father filling their first ever caribou tags. The adventure didn’t stop
March, 2012 Edition
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
uly 9, 1986 - January 18, 2012 there, the guides adopted Eric as one of their own, and he actually shacked up with them every night in the guides quarters and hung out in the skinning room. About midweek, Nicolas Loren, the owner of Safari Nordik, arrived by floatplane in camp, and took Eric lake hopping, fishing and sight seeing along the way. By the end of the week, all tags were filled and Eric couldn’t wait to get home and tell his stories. Even though that trip was ten years ago, Doug, Carol and Eric have remained in contact with the camp managers and guides. Shortly after arriving home, the film I had shot on that trip was produced and we aired the show on the Sportsman Channel. Our headline sponsor at that time was Rangemaster Outfitters in Chesterton. What happened next was yet another example of the extraordinary generosity among the brotherhood of hunters. The owner of Rangemaster Outfitters, Brian Busch, was an avid hunter who loved hunting in Africa. Shortly after the airing of Eric’s caribou hunt on TV, Busch contacted me and asked if Eric was still capable of travel and asked me if I thought that Eric’s parents would let him take Eric to Africa to hunt. Before long, Eric and his dad were off to Zimbabwe for their next adventure. After those first two trips, Eric was fortunate enough to have applied for and been granted numerous other hunting trips around the United Sates. In a display of maturity not found in some people twice his age, Eric told his mom and dad that he felt he had been so blessed to have had so many opportunities to do things he never imagined he would have been able to, that he wanted to start a program to help other hunters with terminal illness and disabilities go hunting. He wanted a way to give something back. In April of 2009 Eric hosted an event called “Turkey Tracks”. Ten hunters attended that event, with nearly as many disabilities, ranging from cancer to cerebral palsy to MS. For months the Corey’s spent countless hours every day getting permission from landowners to hunt, finding local hunters to act as guides, arranging for hunting equipment, food and accommodations for the hunters. The event ran from Friday to Sunday and ended with six of the ten getting turkeys. More importantly, it had mobilized a small army of volunteers who were now as dedicated as Eric to keep it going. The 2010 and 2011 events were equally as successful, gaining steam, and gaining more hunters every year. Somewhere along the way, they joined forces with the Community Foundation and formed the Eric Corey Turkey Tracks Foundation. I wrote an article about Turkey Tracks about a year ago, these words are from that article: “Eric has accomplished something that few ever will. He has created something special. Something that has really changed the lives of all of those involved, the hunters, the guides, and the volunteers. Listen to the quiver in their voices when re-telling the tales from hunt. Watch them swallow hard and fight back a tear. And watch them line up at the door to participate in the next event.” I also told the story about one of the guides, a local taxidermist and close friend of mine, Harry Rust, when
he was interviewed by Ted Hayes from WKVI Radio, he said “I don’t care if I personally ever shoot another turkey as long as I can continue to take these kids hunting.” Those words were ringing in my head as I watched person after person step up to the podium at Eric’s funeral service and say that their experience with Eric and Turkey Tracks had truly changed their lives. Carol went on to say that Eric had recently made herself and Doug promise that Turkey Tracks would continue on after he was gone. And then his services ended just as memorably as Eric himself. The hundreds of people in attendance at his funeral service sat in silence as the lights were turned out in the great hall at the Knox Community Center. Several beams of light pierced the darkness from the lobby across the room, as six of Eric’s close hunting buddies walked into the room. Clad from head to toe in their coon hunting attire, they proceeded up the center aisle, formed rank on each side of Eric’s casket and carried him from the room, guided only by the narrow shafts of light from their headlamps. The hunting world lost a great man the day Eric died. A person that when faced with limitations that would have kept most at home, went on to create a legacy that will live on to allow others to experience the very things that Eric loved so much. Eric left our midst the day of the funeral just exactly as he would have wanted to, surrounded by his hunting buddies, headed off to his next great adventure. Monetary contributions cam be made the Eric Corey Turkey Tracks Foundation c/o Northern Indiana Community Foundation, PO Box 807, Rochester, IN 46975. This is a not for profit foundation and your contributions are tax deductible.
TURKEY HUNTING Turkey hunting is one of the fastest growing facets of hunting with new hunters discovering the challenges of the sport each spring and fall. The first lesson of turkey hunting is proper target acquisition. Unlike other sporting birds that are shot while flying, turkeys are taken most often as they feed on the forest floor. The favored target is the head and neck area as the turkey sticks its head up to investigate his surroundings. Good luck, as Ol’ Tom’s head typically bobs and weaves like that of a drunken prize fighter. As forgiving as a shotgun can be, a miss is still a miss. So how can we be assured that our shot will be perfect each and every time? Two obvious answers are getting to know the weapon and practice, practice, practice. The third and most important answer is choosing the correct sight, something that will get us on target fast and accurately with little or no error. Standard shotguns come with just a bead near the muzzle and possibly another bead in the middle of the sight plane. It couldn't be simpler. Line the beads up with the target and pull the trigger. Done. With all things being perfect, it would be that simple. However not everyone sights down the barrel the same way. In the excitement of the hunt, the shooter might not even line the barrel up with the bead. In other types of shooting where an open choke is used, the shooter might be okay, but with tight turkey chokes and ranges out past forty yards the margin for error increases exponentially. Other hunters go to the opposite extreme. Their guns sport low-
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
Setting Your Sights on Spring Turkey power turkey scopes. Like other scopes it often magnifies the target allowing for better shot placement. The special bull's-eye reticle also helps get the shot group dead center. While scopes seem like an ideal cure for all of a turkey hunter's woes, it can bring up a whole different set of issues. The first being proper eye placement. Anyone that has used a scope knows what happens if your eye isn't in the right plane, too far back, or worse yet, too close. The best you can hope for is a foggy simulation of cataracts; the worst is a bloody eye socket. Another issue is tunnel vision. Most folks close their off eye when peering through a scope. Doing so makes the shooter oblivious to everything else around him or her. And, if the shooter somehow spooks the bird and it starts to run or fly, good luck going for a wing shot with a scope in your way. The most common sight is the open sight. Sold by the millions across the USA, the glowing fiber optic versions seem like the perfect compromise. Simply line the green and red dots up with the turkey's head, bang, dead turkey. If the turkey starts flying, no problem, just fall back on wing shooting skills and down he goes. What could go wrong? Nothing, if you're an experienced shooter and seldom make mistakes. Most guides and experienced hunters I spoke with prefer those simple sights. But, what if you're not an experienced turkey hunter? Here's what happens. Those same experienced guides told me the most common mistake with open sights is the shooter raising their cheek off the stock because that big black
barrel kept them from seeing the target! With the way a turkey's head bobs around as they move it is no wonder why a hunter has a good sight picture one moment and nothing but air the next. Even experienced turkey hunters can get excited and forget the basics. So what is the best choice for turkey hunters? Many experts feel a red dot scope is the answer. Turkey hunting guide and Mossy Oak Pro Staff manager, Darrin Campbell agrees. “The red dot scope is the absolute easiest. Put the red dot on the turkey's red head and let the lead fly.” I like easy. Turkey hunting is challenging enough without putting handicaps in my way. There are many different brands and styles of red dot scopes out there. For my turkey gun, I went with the 42mm diameter red dot scope from Hawke Optics. The scope comes with Weaver rail scope mounts, has unlimited eye relief, and eleven brightness settings. With such a large aperture to sight through target acquisition is fast. Plus, there's no need to close the off eye. The hunter can stay focused on the target; see all of the target, plus its surroundings. It couldn't be easier. To prove it, I had my daughter, who had never fired a shotgun before, try my setup on a turkey target at thirty yards. The very first shot ever, the paper turkey target was perforated with ten B-Bs in the brain and spine area. That's a dead bird on the first try! Since both eyes can be open, wing or running shots can also easily score. Some turkey hunters even leave the red dot on for goose hunting and have good success.
March, 2012 Edition
By Alan Garbers
That's not to say a red dot is all sunshine and roses. There are two problems that hunters use in this debate. The first is dead batteries. Some shooters forget to turn the red dot off. While the batteries have long life, they can't be expected to last day after day, week after week of being on twentyfour/seven. The second problem is inclement weather. Rain drops on the glass can make the sight picture blurry, which is why scope covers were invented. Both of these problems can be overcome with a little forethought. This season, set your sights on the best sight for you and have one less thing to worry about when that big tom starts heading your way.
Patterning your turkey gun It doesn't matter how expensive or simple your turkey rig is. If you don't know where the pattern density is, you're shooting in the dark. Once you have chosen your sighting system, take your shotgun to the range. Set a target up at twenty yards and zero-in the sights
using lighter and less expensive target loads. (Your shoulder and wallet will thank you) Once the densest part of the shot pattern is hitting your point of aim, which should be the neck and head area, move the target back to forty yards and switch to your turkey hunting loads. You may also want to use a turkey target. They can be purchased at many sporting goods stores or you can download a free target at http://targets.s3.amazonaws.com/PDF/Turk eyTarget.pdf Once you have fired one shot, inspect the target and count the holes in the kill zone. Eight to ten holes or more in the brain and spine areas is what you are shooting for, literally. If you don't achieve that density you have a few options: Limit you hunting range to shorter distances, change to a tighter choke, or try a different brand of shotgun shell. For more information on sighting in your turkey gun check out this free video by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). http://nssf.org/video/index.cfm?vid ID=17cushion
March, 2012 Edition
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
Col. Wilson Interview -- Continued from Page 8
TCB, Baby -- Continued from Page 6
another agency is already doing. A good example is our emergency response expertise in a waterborne environment, like the flooding we had in 2008.
After everything is clean, you need to lubricate before reassembly. This is a topic of considerable debate among shooters but experience has proven that “less is more.” Unless your weapon requires copious lubrication (such as the bolt carrier assembly on AR-platform rifles), you are better off to gently lube with a very thin film of product. Trigger assembles, unless directed otherwise by the owner's manual, should be gently cleaned but not lubricated. Don't use WD-40 or “3-in-1 oil”. These are good products but not in guns; use oil specifically designed for the service requirements of firearms. Another frequently misused product is “CLP” (“Clean-LubeProtect”) or such similar one-shot items. While hosing out the gun with these wonder potions will indeed work, it is frequently an invitation to malfunction. No amount of squirting will ever replace good old-fashioned scrubbing. When cleaning your weapon, take the time to properly Take Care of Business.
ION: What will be your biggest challenge? Col. Wilson: Technology and budgeting our funds. Both continue to change the way we do business. Cyber crimes in wildlife trafficking is common and you can even find people on Craigslist selling animal parts. We monitor the Internet for wildlife crimes and sometimes concerned citizens or other agencies bring illegal activity to our attention. We don't monitor Facebook, but if probable cause is brought to us, we can find some pretty incriminating evidence. Our other challenge is stretching the money we receive to do our jobs. Our department budget is eighteen percent less than it was three years ago but we still need to buy bullets, boots, and gas. We used to rotate our vehicles out of service at 75,000 miles. Now we've extended that to 140,000 miles, and many of those miles are spent towing boats or other gear. Steps like that help make the most of the money we receive to do the job the public expects from us. ION: With all of the recent retirements, how are you filling the vacancies? Col. Wilson: We are in the process of filling the positions. We have eleven people in the law enforcement academy now but it has been a challenge to find qualified people for the other vacancies. We are law enforcement officers that have the authority to enforce all state statutes, as well as federal fish and wildlife laws, but if they want to run RADAR on the interstate or become a member of a SWAT team, they've applied to the wrong agency. They need to understand the issues involved in our natural resources. ION: Lastly, what new technology will help the new officers? Col. Wilson: One of the biggest advances is the use of side-scan SONAR. Back when I first started I was sent out to find a missing vehicle in the Ohio River. I was given a large magnet on a 100-foot rope and was told not to lose it because it was the only one we had… Now, with side-scan SONAR we can see a very detailed picture of the bottom. It is especially useful when recovering drowning victims. It used to take five to six days of black-water diving probing for a body. Now we can Another Side -- Continued from Page 3 scan the bottom with such detail that when a diver is sent down the explanation from DNR decision-makers and DLE supervisors. recovery takes just minutes. The Specifically, ION is interested in learning if there is emphasis being shortened search times are merciful placed in training or officer instruction on traffic stops and other nonfor the searchers as well as the famconservation law enforcement? Is an ICO disciplined if they fail to ily members. We always want to make a specified number of automobile traffic stops or non-boating give closure to the victim's family as drug or alcohol arrests? Also, what percentage of an ICO’s time is soon as we can. actually spent on wildlife conservation patrol and investigation? Is this percentage shrinking or is it remaining consistent? Finally, how is this ION would like to thank Col. information reported to the feds for the reimbursement/distribution of the dedicated fish and wildlife funding which comprise a significant Scotty Wilson for taking time from portion of the DLE’s annual budget? his busy schedule to talk with us. If I’d like to know both sides of the story, wouldn’t you? you feel you have what it takes to be an Indiana Conservation Officer As always, reader comments and opinions are welcomed via e-mail at go to http://firstname.lastname@example.org. for/2760.htm.
Ban Petition Defeated -- Continued from Cover The sportfishing community’s objection to the petitioned ban was based on: • The data does not support a federal ban on lead in fishing equipment. In general, bird populations, including loons and other waterfowl species, are subject to many more substantial threats such as habitat loss through shoreline development, waste and other pollutants. Any lead restrictions on fishing tackle need to be based on sound science that supports the appropriate action for a particular water body or species. • A federal ban on the use of lead in fishing tackle will have a significant negative impact on recreational anglers and fisheries resources, but a negligible impact on waterfowl populations - the most cited reason for the ban. • Depending on the alternative metal and current prevailing raw material costs, non-lead fishing tackle products can cost from nine to twenty times more than lead products. Non-lead products may not be as available and most do not perform as well. Mandatory transitioning to non-lead fishing tackle would require significant and costly changes from both the industry and anglers. • A federal ban of lead fishing tackle oversteps the EPA’s authority. Any impact of lead on waterbird populations is a localized issue which, when scientifically documented and determined to be a population threat, should be addressed by state fish and wildlife agencies through local fishing regulations. • America’s 60 million anglers generate more than $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy, creating employment for more than one million people. To learn more about this issue and to support Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act, visit www.KeepAmericaFishing.org.
Creature Feature: The red-winged blackbird, a sign of spring! Four and twenty blackbirds… That's how the nursery rhyme begins. Signs of spring often begin with the arrival of red-winged blackbirds in large numbers from the south. If you have backyard bird feeders, watch and listen for them. Males arrive first, then the females. Red-wings have many vocalizations. The males shout a loud, raspy, “Conk-la-REE,” call in spring, but other sounds include whistles and "chuck" notes. A male red-winged blackbird works hard to show off. From high perches he belts out his song flaring his bright red shoulder patches (called epaulets) which give this bird its name. As he sings, he Nature’s Almanac hunches his shoulders forward (the better to see those epaulets) and spreads his tail. The song and display serve to notify other males Woodfrogs begin calling when they are trespassing in his territory day and night temperatures and to impress female red-wings. first reach 50 degrees. Females are brown and heavily streaked, perfectly camouflaged for nesting in cattails. Older males have the brightest shoulder patches, and their black feathers are shinier and more deeply black than young males. Did you know? Because displaying their red feathCheck out the evening sky on ers is a sign of aggression, when To demonstrate how imporMarch 14. Venus and Jupiter red-winged blackbird flocks gather tant feather color is to a redwill be very close to each to feed, males often hide their winged blackbird male, sciother. On March 24 and 25, epaulets, usually showing just a entists have experimented by the crescent moon will be near thin line of yellow. This allows a blackening the shoulder the two planets, creating a group of males to “get along” while patches. The male usually sparkling spectacle. dining at your feeders. loses his territory. Red-winged blackbirds are Red fox pups are born this usually found in marshy areas or near water. Females often weave their month. nests in cattails. These birds have strong, flexible leg muscles designed to stretch when perched on two different cattails at once. For protection Spring arrives on March 20. against stiff, rough cattail leaves, their feathers are sturdy to prevent wear and tear. On damp evenings, salamanListen for red-winged blackbirds and watch for them at your feeders ders move to vernal pools to for one of the earliest signs of spring!
Spring Checklist: March brings the spring Equinox and winter begins to melt away. Animal life begins to stir. Keep the checklist below to see how many signs of spring you see and hear!
mate and lay eggs.
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
Unique, outdoor lifestyle show returns to Fort Wayne
MARCH EVENTS Our days are getting longer and warmer. All remnants of ice and snow will soon disappear; replaced by fresh, green shoots along the ground and the telltale buds of springtime overhead. The sounds and smells of the outdoors are changing too. The finest months for outdoor recreation and outdoor living will be here soon. Are you ready to make the most of them? The Outdoor Sports, Lake & Cabin Show will return to Fort Wayne’s Allen County Memorial Coliseum March 16-18, and any outdoor enthusiast within a reasonable drive should make plans to attend. This is a total-lifestyle expo for all manner of active, outdoor enthusiasts --as well as for people who are interested in log or timberframe homes, rustic cabins or the lake-living lifestyle. Visitors will find exhibitors, attractions, seminars and clinics that speak to the things they love to do, the places they love to go and the way they want to live, plus a ton of fun for the entire family.
Great exhibitors are the heart of any great outdoor show or expo, and this year’s Outdoor Sports, lake and cabin Show boasts over 150 unique exhibitors, a number of which are brand new to the show. A complete list of exhibitors is available at www.sportsandcabinshow.com, but the following gives you an idea of what will be represented, plus much more! • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
ATVs Bicycles Boats, canoes & kayaks Camping gear Fishing gear & tackle Fishing guides & trips Hiking and climbing gear Hunting gear Hunting guides & trips Lodges & Resorts Log & timber-frame homes Motorcycles Personal watercraft RVs & trucks Unique cottage furnishings and décor Vacation ideas and outfitters Water sports gear Wood treatments & finishes
Show Features & Attractions In addition to unique and interesting exhibitors, this year’s Outdoor Sports, Lake and Cabin Show offers an entertaining lineup of features and attractions that will be appreciated by the entire family. Pre-built Midwest Solid Oak Log Cabin – Walk through this cabin built by Gastineau Log Homes that can quickly & easily be delivered and placed on your homesite! You don’t have to imagine what it would be like any more. This one’s finished and furnished!
Archery Demo – Stop by our and try out the latest bows from Mathews on our archery range. Duck Calling Contest -- Participate in the Duck Calling Contest! Hunter Education -- The Indiana DNR will hold a Free Hunter Education Class Reclaimed Barnwood – Enjoy a true ‘old school’ mortise and tenon timber frame home built with reclaimed barnwood floors by The Beamery.
March, 2012 Edition
By Lance Davidson Wild Turkey Federation. Catch a Lunker -- Bring your rod or try one of ours. We’ve got the bait! catch a big one from one of two stocked indoor ponds! Try Before You Buy Boat Pond -Take a brand new kayak or canoe for a test spin in our giant 25,000 gallon “lagoon.” RV & Boat Blowout Sale! -- Check out dozens of makes and models from Indiana’s top dealers and then drive yourself a sweet bargain!
Display Your Deer Mount – Bring in your deer mount for a weekend display and receive one free show admission and automatically be entered in a drawing for a free muzzle loading rifle given away by Osborn Polaris, Ft Wayne, IN. The drawing will be on Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm. JAKES Take Aim Program – Kids love this free indoor inflatable shooting range and gun safety course provided by the National Gear Up for Camping and Save! Whether you’re a backpacker, car camper or RVer, this year you’ll find great deals on a huge inventory of gear and accessories. Adventure of a Lifetime – Book your dream vacation directly with a Canadian or Alaskan hunting/fishing lodge and save! Climb The Coliseum Free! -- Test your skills on a giant indoor climbing wall, courtesy of the US Army. Hunting Dog Demo Area -- Watch as expert handlers put these amazing canines through their paces and share their training secrets! NASCAR Speedway -- You’re in the “driver’s seat” as you race these 1/10th scale remote control replicas of real NASCAR vehicles at scale speeds up to 200 MPH on the JAM RC Speedway! Indoor “Beach” -- and sand castle building sponsored by Northern Indiana LAKES Magazine. Free Hunting & Fishing Video Games -- and more in a 40-foot long video arcade. Expert Archery & Fishing Demos presented by Gander Mountain champs and pros. Free Seminars & Clinics -- featuring leading experts on all kinds of outdoor sports, travel, log and timber-frame home building and design and much more. Go to www.sportsandcabinshow.com for an up-to-date listing of seminars. Hourly Prizes & Giveaways – including a Hobie Mirage Drive Kayak, a variety of guided fishing adventures and more! Go to www.sportsandcabinshow.com for an up-to-date listing of door prizes and giveaways. Regardless of your particular outdoor interests, you’ll find something for everyone in the family at this year’s Outdoor Sports, Lake and Cabin Show, March 16-18 at Fort Wayne’s Allen County Memorial Coliseum. Admission is $10. Kids 12 and under are free! For complete show information and to check for special deals on admission, go to www.sportsandcabinshow.com.
March, 2012 Edition
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ÂŽ 2012ÂŠ
March, 2012 Edition
Dial in lure retrieval for bass
BABEWINKELMAN I'm sure everyone reading this has had this happen: you're in a boat fishing with someone else and the other guy is killing the bass while you can't buy a bite. So you switch to the exact same lure as the hot shot. You fish the same weight line, cast to the same exact spots, but can't seem to get bit. What gives? More often than not, the answer lies in the retrieve. The angler catching all the fish just happens to be imparting the exact pace, hop, hesitation, or whatever to the lure and is giving the fish what they want to see. And because the "magic" retrieve can be so subtle in its uniqueness, it's sometimes very difficult for others to duplicate. Leading professional bass anglers prove this week in and week out. At many tournaments, every fisherman in the field knows exactly what the "bite" is on the water they're fishing. Every competitor out there might be throwing virtually the same exact thing. But guys like Kevin Van Dam will come to the weigh-in with a nice bag while the rest of the field scratch their collective heads and
wonder 'how in the heck did he do that?' The world's best fishermen know how to dial in the perfect retrieve and bait presentation. They just know how to feed fish. Like anything worth working for, perfecting effective retrieves means you have to practice and experiment. Here's a great example. While filming a pike show in Ontario, I came into a shallow bay that was literally loaded with huge pike. They looked like sunken logs strewn all about. I figured I was in hog heaven and started throwing a five-of-diamonds spoon... a go-to bait for pike. On a steady retrieve, they wouldn't budge for it. So I began to pause and flutter the spoon. That got them to make a few half-hearted charges, but no bites. Clearly slower was better, and nothing beats a jig for a slowmotion retrieve. So I switched to a big Banjo Minnow and swam it back slowly in a gentle up-anddown way. Still no takers. It wasn't until I let the bait fall to the bottom and just sit there that I got the pike excited. They'd rush in, poise above the motionless bait, and wait. Then, after a good 20 seconds of doing nothing to the lure, I would give it the slightest twitch and WHAM! They would hammer it! I read the fish and dialed in the right lure and retrieve they wanted. And that's what it takes to master the perfect retrieve. There are so many lures in the world and so many ways to bring them back to the boat. Covering the gamut would fill an entire bible-
sized book and then some. So instead, I'll cover the four mostused bass baits and their fundamental retrieves. From the surface to the bottom of the water column, they are topwater plugs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jigs/soft plastics. I'll present the most effective retrieves that I've experienced for each lure, and encourage you to try variations of those when you find that fish simply aren't responding. For topwater baits, I start out with a long cast to fishy structure. With an exposed-hook popper or dog-walking plug, it's just a regular cast. With weedless topwaters in heavy cover, I'll often "skip" the bait in so that when it lands at its final destination it comes to rest quietly instead of "plopping" down. This can decrease the likelihood of spooking bass in shallow cover. After the bait lands, I let it sit for several seconds (typically the amount of time it takes the ripples to subside) before I begin the retrieve. Sometimes bass see the initial landing and come close to investigate... waiting. Then, when that initial twitch happens, they pounce. As I begin fishing the plug, I'll start with a slow tempo first and if I don't get any strikes after several casts, then I'll up the tempo. When the first fish hits, I make the preliminary assumption that that's the speed they're looking for. The same applies to spinnerbait and crankbait retrieves. I start by slow-rolling the baits and if the bites don't come, I keep speeding up until I'm really ripping the lure
in. High-speed retrieves are most effective with single-blade spinnerbaits (versus tandem blade) and tight-wobble lipless crankbaits (versus wide-wobble lipped baits). Again, experimentation is key when determining the ideal speed for a particular day, the weather conditions or the time of year. Finally, with jigs and soft plastics, the art of retrieval gets even more tricky. That's because these baits can be fished vertically, dragged on long lines, snap-jigged, swum in at any depth, hopped off the bottom, flipped into cover pockets... the list goes on and on. But when push comes to shove, jigs and soft plastics are the bass-catchingest baits on the planet. So all I can do is inspire you to get out there and try every conceivable jig/soft plastic retrieve imaginable. Make it a personal challenge to experiment and develop jigging and finesse skills that you've never tried before. While you do it, pay close attention to feel and watch your fishing line for that telltale "hop" that can happen when a
bass bites. I promise you, it will help you catch more fish and hone angling skills that will make you the guy in the boat who's getting bit instead of wishing you were. Good Fishing! Babe Winkelman is a nationallyknown outdoorsman who has taught people to fish and hunt for more than 25 years. Watch the award-winning "Good Fishing" and "Outdoor Secrets" television shows on Versus, Fox Sports, Texas Channel and many local networks. Visit www.winkelman.com for air times where you live and be sure to check us out on Facebook.
How do you know you are using the right lure with the right retrieve? When you catch two bass on the same bait! Josh Lantz photo.
March, 2012 Edition
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
THIS MONTH’S WINNER!
Clockwise from below. . . 1) ION reader Berdette Zastrow can hunt turkeys through January 31 in her home state of South Dakota. She took these two great toms in January. 2) Mark Rotering of Knox took this nice Starke County buck with his bow in 2010; 3) Larry Kriss of Plymouth took his first turkey last spring. The big tom weighed 27-lbs.; 4) Susan Baert took her first buck this past season with her muzzleloader in Fulton County; 5) Joe Boisvert took this big buck last firearms season. The bruiser had a 21” inside spread and weighed 260-lbs; 6) Christopher Rodriguez of Hammond took this great Porter County buck last season near Chesterton. It dressed out at 206-lbs.
This months answers From Puzzle on Page 9
Gone Afield monthly photo contest. . . It’s EASY! It’s FUN! Fill out this form and send it in with your favorite outdoor photograph. A winner will be randomly selected each month to win a great outdoor prize!
Entry Information: Person submitting the photo: Name(s) of person(s) pictured: Other information describing the photo: If I’m selected as this month’s random winner, please send my prize to:
Send your photos to: Gone Afield P.O. Box 69 Granger, IN 46530 E-mail submissions welcome at: www.contact@ION4U.net. If mailing photos, please include a SASE if you’d like us to return them to you CONTEST RULES: Raghorn, Inc. shall retain the right to publish or not publish any images submitted in any of it’s media outlets. Winners chosen at random. Prizes are subject to change and contest may cease without notice.
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©
March, 2012 Edition
Fish with Stripes
The Last Thought MIKESCHOONVELD “What kind of fish is that one?” my fishing partner for the morning, Beverly, asked guide, Ray Williamson. “This one is a hybrid striper,” he told her. “White bass don’t get this big and see how the stripes are broken along the side? “ Bev looked and then while Ray added the fish to the cooler, she told me, “To me, they are all fish with stripes!” There are actually two species of “striped fish” in North America’s true bass family that are very popular with anglers, as well as one “man-made” species. I say “true bass” because largemouth
and smallmouth bass are actually large members of the sunfish clan. White bass are native to much of the eastern two thirds of the United States, from the Great Lakes south. In most places, whites can grow to well over a pound. Striped bass, often called rockfish, are a popular saltwater gamester along both coasts but they can live in and are widely stocked in deep, clear reservoirs -- including Raccoon and Patoka Lakse right here in Indiana. Then there’s the hybrids. In the 1960s biologists learned to hybridize white and striped bass. In Indiana they are called “wipers”. Other places call them sunshine bass or just hybrids. Regardless of their name, these stripe-sided fish proved perfect for shad-filled reservoirs to which pure bred stripers wouldn’t adapt. Hybrids normally top out around 10 pounds instead of the 20 and 30-pounds to which their pure-bred parent might grow. Here in Indiana, Lake Monroe and Lakes Shafer and Freeman are
three of the more popular wiper fisheries. Very few lakes have populations of white, stripers and hybrids. Texas’ Lake Buchanan is an exception. “Can we catch all three in the same trip?” I asked Williamson as we stowed our gear and readied for the run down the lake. “Absolutely!” Williamson said. “All three species prey upon threadfin shad. The threadfin stay in tight schools and the pure-breds, hybrids and whites all shadow the shad schools.” Williamson gunned his Boston Whaler a few miles down the lake to a large flats area. “I’m going to anchor up here and we’ll see what comes to us.” He pointed south to the open lake. “There’s water 40 or 50 feet deep just over there and this south wind has been pushing up here since it started blowing yesterday. That’s making just enough current to concentrate the bait schools and attract the predators.” He handed each of us a light spinning outfit with a white, Bomber Slab Spoon tied to 8 pound monofilament. “Drop these down to the bottom. It’s only 15 feet or so deep. Flip the bail closed and wind in about a foot of line. Then just lift
The author and his fishing partners shared a morning of great jig fishing for fish of all stripes on Texas’ Buchanon Lake. Photos provided.
the spoon up a couple of feet and let it fall back towards the bottom,” he coached. “I‚ll get some live bait rigs ready.” The jigging spoons were deadly on the white bass, most of them an inch or two over the 10-inch minimum size limit. The live bait rigs attracted the bigger predators. The first to bite was a purebred striper an inch short of the 18inch keeper size so back it went. Almost instantly another of the live bait rods arched down and this one was one of the lake’s hybrids. And so went the morning with a steady parade of whites, stripers and wipers hitting our lures and bait. We didn‚t latch onto any of the 30-pound pure-breds Buchanon
Lake can serve up, but I met my goal of catching all three species of these line-siders in one trip. There are several places to stay at Lake Buchanan, near Burnet, Texas. I highly recommend the Canyon of the Eagles with an on-site restaurant and other amenities as well as being located on over 900 acres of Texas Hill Country land, managed as a nature preserve. Go to www. canyonoftheeagles.com, or phone 800-977-0081. There are several guides who specialize fishing for Lake Buchanan’s striped fish. Ray Williamson, www.raysstriperguideservice.com, phone 512-8258746, is one of the best.
March, 2012 Edition
INDIANA OUTDOOR NEWS ® 2012©