Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

February 25, 2014

Spaulding Outdoors

Jack Spaulding
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

BATESVILLE — Free Beginner Turkey Hunting Workshops

Registration is open for a DNR workshop series in March at two locations designed to teach newcomers self-reliance and how to hunt wild turkey.  “Hunt, Fish, Eat: Wild Turkey” is part of the ongoing “Hunt, Fish, Eat” program run by the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. The program is free.

 Installments of the workshop series are March 15, 20 and 27 at Kankakee Fish & Wildlife Area in North Judson and March 18, 25 and 29 at Morgan-Monroe State Forest in Martinsville.  All weeknight sessions will run from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturday sessions will run from noon to 3:00pm local time. Location specifics will be provided to registered participants.

Completing the program requires attending each of the three sessions, and participants must be new hunters.

The program will focus on laws and regulations, firearms and safety, locating a hunting spot, tracking and field dressing your harvest, and handling and preparing your turkey for the table. Each session will include an opportunity to sample wild turkey recipes and examine hunting gear and resources.

All equipment is provided. Space is limited, so hunters are encouraged to register early at wildlife.IN.gov/7548.htm.

CookIN Gone Wild

 Indiana’s “CookIN Gone Wild” video series now teaches viewers not only how to prepare their wild game, but also how to harvest it. The video series launched last year on Indiana DNR’s YouTube channel and initially focused only on cooking. Now, it also includes everything viewers need to know to harvest the featured fish or game animal; a format called field-to-table.

 The first episode in the new format highlights steelhead trout and Coho salmon fishing on Trail Creek in Michigan City. Viewers will learn some steelhead and salmon biology, equipment requirements and fishing techniques including some insider secrets.

The video ends with a recipe for the harvested game. The steelhead episode offers a recipe for a healthy, open-faced steelhead salad sandwich.

“We really wanted to offer viewers the entire experience,” said Michelle Cain, DNR wildlife information specialist and host of CookIN Gone Wild. “Showing that anyone can try new outdoor adventures is important to the future of hunting and fishing. The videos give you everything you need to know to try it yourself.”

 “CookIN Gone Wild” episodes are at youtube.com/idnrvideos. New episodes come out every other month.

A downloadable cookbook and recipes are at wildlife.IN.gov/7562.htm. A selected recipe also appears in each issue of Outdoor Indiana magazine.

Healthy Rivers Buys Land For Access Site

The smallest of three recent Healthy Rivers INitiative land purchases may be the most significant, not for its size but for its purpose. The 40-acre site in Sullivan County is next to Fairbanks Landing Fish & Wildlife Area, the southern anchor of HRI’s Wabash River Conservation Area, and it will become the first public access site created under HRI.

“One of HRI’s goals is to provide public access to the Wabash River every 10 river miles,” DNR director Cameron Clark said. “This helps get us to that goal by shortening the gap between two existing public access sites.”

The two access locations are approximately 37 miles apart — one at Fairbanks Park in Terre Haute, Indiana and the other at Hutsonville, Illinois.

 The new site features forested wetlands along the Wabash River floodplain. More important is a road along the southern edge of the property leading to the river.

“That makes this tract an excellent location for a public access site,” said Mark Reiter, director of DNR’s Division of Fish & Wildlife.

The two other recent purchases are in Parke County, the northern anchor of HRI’s Sugar Creek Conservation Area. One covers 878 acres and the other, 343 acres. The topography of both areas is similar to nearby Turkey Run State Park because of the areas’ rare geological and ecological features. The features include upland, ravine and bottomland forests; cliffs and canyons; and seeps and springs providing habitat for several federally or state-endangered and threatened species.

 “With the acquisition of these parcels, it is expected there will be long-lasting benefits to wildlife and habitat conservation of regional and statewide significance,” Clark said.

 The 40-acre site was bought through HRI by matching Lifetime License funds with the Bicentennial Nature Trust (BNT).

 HRI was launched in 2010 to secure permanent conservation protection of nearly 70,000 acres along Sugar Creek, the Wabash River and the Muscatatuck River. To date, more than 31,300 acres are protected. HRI is a partnership of resource agencies and organizations working with landowners to provide a model balancing forest, farmland and natural resources conservation. It connects separated parcels of public land to benefit wildlife; protects important wildlife habitat and rest areas for migratory birds and opens lands to public recreational activities. The partnership establishes areas for nature tourism and provides clean water and protection from flooding to downstream landowners.

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy of Indiana, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service are HRI project partners.

 The BNT is a statewide project of the Bicentennial Commission. It aims to expand trails, conservation areas and recreation sites to help celebrate Indiana’s 200 years of statehood in 2016. Indiana’s state parks system was created during the state centennial celebration in 1916. BNT is meant to provide a similar conservation legacy.

An initial $20 million in state funding was designated for BNT projects, and the Lilly Endowment donated another $10 million to the effort. Money from the fund is matched no less than $1:1 with the project sponsor. To date, the Bicentennial Commission has approved 71 projects; and 28 have been completed for a total of 4,123 acres.

The two Parke County purchases were also a joint effort.

Grants from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service were combined with funding from TNC and HRI to buy the 878-acre parcel.

 The 343-acre site was purchased with BNT and HRI funds, as well as funds from Indiana Michigan Power (I&M). I&M’s portion was part of a legal settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eight states, and 13 citizen groups. As part of the settlement, I&M agreed to invest $2.5 million to improve air quality in Indiana through various projects.

The settlement monies are overseen by a committee including Citizens Action Coalition, Hoosier Environmental Council, and the Indiana Wildlife Federation. The Sierra Club is a non-voting member, and Environmental Law and Policy Center is a non-voting legal advisor and facilitator.

Readers with questions or comments may contact Jack Spaulding by e-mail at jackspaulding@hughes.net or by writing to him in care of this publication.