As November moves on, hunting season begins again in Indiana.
Hunting is one of Indiana’s longest-standing traditions. If you’re like me, you probably have memories of spending cool fall mornings in the woods with your father – or even grandfather – learning how to hunt Indiana game. Hunting is a proud and cherished pastime that hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers enjoy each year.
Like so many of our traditions, hunting bears with it a certain responsibility. In order to preserve it for generations to come, we all must take necessary steps to ensure hunting falls in line with the best of Hoosier values.
Per state law, nearly all hunters must have a certified license and comply with the common sense hunting guidelines put in place over the years. All license information can be found at indianaoutdoor.in.gov. Additionally, the DNR website also provides the 2013-2014 Indiana Hunting and Trapping Guide, which includes all of the comprehensive information about hunting, licenses and safety in Indiana. Hunters will get the most out of this season by adhering to these guidelines.
I would also like to draw your attention to a special program in Indiana that enhances the hunting experience while helping hungry Hoosiers. Created in 2008, the Sportsman’s Benevolence Fund helps feed the hungry in our state, while expanding hunting opportunities for local residents.
The program is primarily supported through donations, but those donations have not been sufficient to allow the program to operate as it was designed. That’s why the Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act 364 this year, creating the Indiana Sportsmen’s Benevolence account. The account helps support the Sportsman’s Benevolence Fund, and pays the processing costs of deer meat donated by hunters. The meat is then distributed at Indiana food banks.
When hunters fill their freezers, they can now continue to hunt as many deer as their county will allow because of the efforts of the benevolence program. To find a local butcher participating in the program, visit www.hoosiersfeedingthehungry.org.
Fees from the hunting licenses in our state and programs like the Sportsman’s Benevolence Fund help in the stewardship of our natural resources, and leverage them to assist those in need. Together, by demonstrating personal responsibility and looking after each other, we can all have a safe and enjoyable hunting season.
This season, make sure you know Indiana’s hunting rules, respect our state’s habitat and have the best hunting experience Indiana can provide. Hunting is and always will be an Indiana tradition.