Good news! Now that our one biggest national holiday (Groundhog Day) is over with I can give you the information about groundhog hunting straight from Jon Marshall of the IDNR (Indiana Department of Natural Resources). Here it is in case you've been staying up nights worrying about it. He said, "No license is required for groundhogs and there is no season or limit." There is no license required to "carry" a gun (except for handguns) in the woods. You only need a license if you're hunting. (Here I would say it means if you're hunting any animal legally, in season, and which a license is required.)
And there is something new - it's called the "point of sale" system. This is a centralized, computerized system in which license vendors would have instant access to any/all licenses. No more license books. They will just print whatever license is needed. So, in short, we're on our way to solving the problem of 'no license' at any one particular store. I know how this works since I ordered my deer licenses from their web site last fall. I printed them, and the temporally field tags, out on my computer. I did go one step farther and got a laminating kit from Walgreen's Drug store and laminated the license (after filling in the information in ink) between plastic sheets to protect them from the weather. I think that anyone will be able to print out regular hunting and fishing license before long. I'm not sure what they will do about trout stamps though unless they just give them a code like West Virginia does on their non-resident licenses.
The Indianapolis Sports, Vacation, and Boat show will be going on from Friday, February 14th through Sunday, February 23rd. It's held at the Fair Grounds in Indianapolis. For more information and show hours, go to: http://www.IN.gov/dnr/boatshow.htm. See you there; I'll be the one wearing the camouflaged ball cap.
The Fort Wayne Sports Vacation and Boat Show will be coming to Fort Wayne in March. I will be helping to "man" the GAD-A-BOUT Magazine booth. Stop by and get some free back issues of the magazine or an autograph. Have your picture taken with an outdoor writer, or listen to some tall hunting/fishing tales. I hope to see you there. Ray McCune
MUZZLELOADING 4-H SHOOTING SPORTS PROGRAM
This program is sponsored by the Allen County 4-H Shooting Sports Club. The program teaches safe handling of firearms, proper use of equipment, shooting techniques and ethics of good shooters. The program will begin Thursday, April 24 at 6:30pm at the Allen County Extension Office, 4001 Crescent Avenue. Then the program will continue in Spencerville, Indiana on May 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Registration is limited. Advanced registration is required. The program is open to all youth grades 3-12. The cost is $20; equipment will be provided. Please call the Allen County Extension Office at 481-6826 to request additional information. Instructors are certified through the Indiana 4-H Shooting Sports Program of Purdue University and the Department of Natural Resources.
ASTRONOMY FOR CHILDREN
Kids can reach for the stars, too. Join Education Director Bob Dispenza at "Astronomy for Children" at Fox Island County Park Nature Center, 7324 Yohne Road on Friday, February 21, 2003 from 7pm to 9pm, and get stars in your eyes. Learn about telescopes, stars, our solar system and far-away galaxies with demonstrations, stories and hands-on activities. Class fee is $5 per child (7and older only, please), accompanying adults $2. A responsible adult must accompany children. Call 449-3180 to reserve your space to learn about space. If you need help using your telescope, bring it along. Observing outdoors after the program (weather permitting). Dress for the weather, and binoculars could be useful.
ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION CLUB AT FOX ISLAND COUNTY PARK
Beginning February 19,2003, Fox Island will be hosting an Environmental Action Club for high school age students. The club will meet at Fox Island Nature Center, 7324 Yohne Road at 3:30pm and last until 5pm on the third Wednesday of every month. Each meeting will consist of a presentation by a Naturalist or guest speaker, followed by an "action" activity such as letter writing, and time for input from the students. This will be a great opportunity for young people to meet others with similar interests, possibly gain extra credit from teachers, have an impressive entry on a college application, and gain life experience. After the first few meetings topics will be chosen by the club members. Please R.S.V.P. at 449-3180.
BIRD SEX? Join naturalist Angie Carl to learn about the exciting life of bird sex and have Breakfast With The Birds at Fox Island on Wednesday, February 19, 2003. The cost is $3 per person and a continental breakfast will be provided. For information or to make reservations, call 449-3180.
"WILDFIRES AND WILDLIFE" will be presented by naturalist, Angie Carl on Saturday, February 22, 2003 from 10am to 11:30am in the classroom at Fox Island Nature Center. The cost is $2 per person. You must have a reservation. For more information call 449-3180.