Sports and Outdoors

Monday, October 31, 2011

Parks closed for hunting

From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:

Select Indiana state parks will close temporarily for two rounds of controlled deer reduction hunts in the coming weeks.

The first reduction is Nov. 14-15. The second round is Nov. 28-29. The participating parks will close to the general public the evening before each of the two efforts and will re-open the morning after each two-day reduction.

The state parks closing temporarily this year for deer reductions are Brown County, Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Shades, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe, Turkey Run, Versailles, and Whitewater Memorial.

Each year, DNR biologists evaluate which parks require a reduction based on habitat recovery and previous hunter success at each park. The state parks are home to more than 32 state-endangered plants and numerous significant natural communities. The reductions help control browsing by deer to a level that helps maintain habitat throughout the state parks.

Though the parks have had much success since the first reduction in 1993, a high no-show rate of those drawn and over-selective hunting remain a challenge for the program.

Only individuals and those listed on their applications drawn last September may participate at any park, besides Indiana Dunes, Turkey Run, Fort Harrison, and Spring Mill state parks. A public standby drawing to fill spots left vacant after 7:30 a.m. local time will take place at Indiana Dunes (firearms hunt), Turkey Run (firearms hunt), Spring Mill (firearms hunt), and Fort Harrison (archery hunt) state parks each morning.

To be eligible for the standby drawings, the candidate must be an Indiana resident (or possess an Indiana lifetime license to take deer), be 18 years old by Nov. 14, 2011, and possess any valid deer license for Indiana. You must present a photo ID and any valid filled or unfilled license to take deer. Standby drawings will take place at 8:30 a.m. local time. Potential standby participants can apply onsite between 7:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. local time but cannot enter the park before 7:30 a.m. Applications can include up to three individuals. This is a drawing based on how many unclaimed spots there are for each day. It is not first-come, first-served. Spots will be limited as they are based on the number of no-shows each day. The need for stand-in hunters increases with each hunt day. If you have questions, please call the property of interest.

Information regarding 2012 state park deer reductions, including applications, will be available next summer at

The DNR will conduct controlled Canada goose reduction hunts at Ouabache, Shakamak, and Whitewater Memorial state parks in November.

Similar reductions have occurred since 2007 and are part of a management plan that includes non-lethal methods also.

Goose reductions will take place Nov. 28-29. These dates coincide with goose hunting season and annual deer reduction efforts at Ouabache, Shakamak, Whitewater Memorial and several other state parks. The parks will close to the general public the evening of Nov. 27 and will re-open the morning of Nov. 30.

Large amounts of goose waste at park beaches, picnic areas and in bank-fishing locations have raised health concerns, adversely affected visitor enjoyment, increased erosion, and resulted in increased operating costs.

Reduction hunts are only one aspect of DNR’s approach to managing Canada geese, according to Mike Mycroft, chief of natural resources for DNR State Parks & Reservoirs.

“The high recreational demand on the parks during periods of more optimum goose hunting has caused us to combine the reduction effort with other techniques, including ongoing harassment and nest management,” Mycroft said. “Combining these techniques is beginning to show favorable results and fewer parks needing reductions this year.”

Participation will be allowed on a daily first-come, first-served basis until available spots are taken. Spots will become available again throughout each day as hunters leave. Potential participants can arrive starting 90 minutes before sunrise local time. Shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. local time. Though hunting parties of two to four are desired, individuals are allowed. Questions should be directed to the park of interest.

Participants must be Indiana residents and 18 years old by Nov. 28, 2011. Hunters must present a valid hunting license, state waterfowl stamp, HIP number, and federal duck stamp on site on the day of the reduction. Apprentice licenses are not applicable. Dogs, boats and temporary blinds are allowed. Though Canada geese are the only harvest permitted, all state and federal laws pertaining to waterfowl hunting apply.

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