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WAYNEDALE WOODS AND WATERS

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A much decorated, retired Marine Captain sent this to me recently, and I thought I'd share it with you.

"I hunt because it keeps my passions alive and my memories fresh and my senses alert even as my beard grows gray, and because I am afraid that if I stopped hunting, I would instantly become an old man, and because I believe that as long as I hunt I will remain "YOUNG." Campground reservations filling up fast for summer.

Indiana's DNR campground reservations are filling up fast, but there are still a few excellent campsites available for summer holidays and weekends. Since DNR's new reservation system went live late last year, campers have staked claims on nearly 60,000 sites by making reservations online at: www.camp.IN.gov or toll-free at 1-866-CAMPIN. "It's definitely time to make reservations.‑ While many Memorial Day sites are spoken for, we still have openings at some of our finer parks," said Becky Weber, DNR State Parks and Reservoirs marketing director.

Properties with a good stock of electric campsites remaining for Memorial Day are: Charlestown State Park — the only state park offering AA campsites, Lieber SRA at Cagles Mill Lake, Lincoln State Park, Brown County State Park — Taylor Ridge campground, Harmonie State Park, Deam Lake and Wyandotte Woods SRAs, Mississinewa Lake, Patoka Lake, Summit Lake State Park, Salamonie Lake, and Raccoon Lake and Paynetown (Monroe Lake) state recreation areas still have a few electric campsites available.

Potato Creek, Pokagon, Ouabache, Mounds, Clifty Falls, Brown County, Horseman's, Spring Mill and Turkey Run state parks have no electric campsites remaining for Memorial Day, but some non-electric sites are available. Campsites can be reserved six months ahead for the summer and fall period (May 1 through the end of October). To check availability and make reservations for campsites, shelters or family cabins (except family cabins at Brown County State Park) go to: http://www.camp.IN.gov Or call toll-free to 1-866-CAMPIN (1-866-622-6746) Monday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m. EST or on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. EST.

You can also check availability for all seven state park inns and family cabins at Brown County State Park at: http://www.indianainns.com Or call toll-free to 1-877-lodges1 (1-877-563-4371).

Information about Indiana state parks and reservoirs is available at: http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/index.html

2003 WILD TURKEY HUNTING SEASON

Indiana's 2003 spring wild turkey hunting season runs from April 23 to May 11 in every county except Rush and Shelby counties, where Department of Natural Resources biologists continue to establish wild turkey populations. To hunt, Indiana residents need a resident turkey hunting license and a valid game bird habitat stamp, or a lifetime or youth license.

Wild turkeys may be hunted from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset. All Fish and Wildlife areas and Huntington, Mississinewa and Salamonie reservoirs have hunting hours 1/2 hour before sunrise to noon. Some DNR properties only allow reserved turkey hunting. Call property for details before you hunt. More information is available in Indiana's free Hunting and Trapping Guide, available wherever hunting licenses are sold or at: http://www.hunting.IN.gov

A 2003 turkey hunting season forecast is available at: http://www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/hunt/turkey/turkeydata.htm

HUNTER SAFETY & RESPONSIBILITY (©1995 Winchester/Olin Corp.) SAFETY:

TREAT EVERY GUN AS IF IT WERE LOADED - Don't assume the firearm you're carrying is empty. Give it the respect you would a loaded gun.

WATCH YOUR MUZZLE - Know and control the direction of your muzzle at all times. Never pull a gun by the muzzle toward you.

KNOW YOUR TARGET - Make sure you identify your target before firing, and know your safe zone of fire. Prepare yourself by studying game features before hunting.

DON'T LOAD BEFORE YOU'RE READY - Take down or have all actions open before traveling. Make sure firearms are unloaded while in their cases.

WATCH YOUR STEP - Never climb fences, jump ditches, or make awkward moves while holding a loaded firearm.

CONTROL YOUR TARGET PRACTICE - Be aware of your line of sight. Make sure your backstop is more than adequate. Avoid shooting at hard, flat surfaces or bodies of water, and always wear hearing and eye protection.

KEEP IT SERIOUS - No matter how enjoyable it is, hunting is no game. Avoid horseplay, and never point a firearm where you don't want to shoot.

INSPECT YOUR FIREARMS - Before loading, inspect your barrel for obstructions. Check ammunition to make sure its specifications match those of your gun.

STORE FIREARMS SAFELY - When not in use, store unloaded firearms separately from ammunition. Keep all out of reach of children and inexperienced users.

NEVER DRINK AND HUNT - Never consume alcoholic beverages or other mood-altering drugs before or while hunting.

(Remember, it's up to us to protect our hunting privileges. Remind your hunting companions how important responsibility and safety are to our sport. Because if we don't do something today, we may not have a sport left tomorrow.)

RESPONSIBILITY:

KNOW AND OBEY THE LOCAL GAME LAWS - It will keep both you and your sport out of trouble.

DON'T FLAUNT GAME - Treat it with respect. Do not display dead animals on your car etc.

CONDUCT YOURSELF PROPERLY IN PUBLIC - Behave in a responsible manner.

CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF - Pick up empty shell cases, bottles and dispose of properly.

DON'T DRESS OR BEHAVE IN AN IRRESPONSIBLE MANNER - Portray the proper image to the general public.

AVOID WASTE OF GAME - It is illegal to start with. Adopt the policy, "Don't shoot anything you're not going to eat. At least give it to someone who will enjoy it.

OBSERVE LEGAL LIMITS - Take only what you can use no matter what the law says you can take.

DON'T LOOK THE OTHER WAY - Turn in poachers and report illegal or irresponsible practices.

STAY ABREAST OF THE ISSUES - Read about what's happening in our sport.

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT - Speak out in public forums.

PASS UP QUESTIONABLE SHOTS - Don't take the shot if you're unsure about it.

GET INVOLVED - Get involved with your local, state, and national sportsmen's organizations.

(Wildlife Legislative Fund of America - 614-888-4868)

(National Shooting Sports Foundation - 203-426-1320)

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The Waynedale News Staff
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