Reports are already coming in of tree stand accidents here in Indiana. Despite warnings from enforcement officers and explicit instructions from manufacturers on placement and usage, tree stand related accidents head the list of severe and sometimes deadly happenings afield.

On November 1, Indiana Conservation Officers investigated a fall from a tree stand. At 5:30pm, responders were dispatched to the 9000 block of North County Road 125 East in Jennings County for a hunter who fell approximately 14 feet from an elevated tree stand.

John Connor, 39, of Bristol, Vermont, was initially treated on the scene and subsequently airlifted to St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis with a serious back injury.

An initial investigation revealed ropes securing the saddle style tree stand to the tree became loose causing Connor to fall to the ground.

Responding agencies include Indiana Conservation Officers, Jennings County Sheriff’s Department, Jennings County EMS and Westport EMS.

Indiana Conservation Officers encourage all who are hunting from an elevated position to utilize a safety harness and lifelines, and to check all tree stands and straps prior to climbing.

Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance

The Indiana DNR is conducting targeted surveillance for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Northwest and Northeast Indiana during the 2020-21 deer hunting season. Sampling locations and their hours of operation are listed on the website at https://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/9650.htm. Indiana DNR biologists will intensively sample hunter-harvested deer at local businesses in the surveillance areas during three weekends: Nov. 7-8, 14-15, and 21-22. Hunters may also voluntarily submit samples for free testing at select fish & wildlife areas (FWAs) and state fish hatcheries (SFHs) throughout the hunting season. Deer heads can be dropped into designated coolers, or hunters may make an appointment for their harvested deer to be sampled by a biologist during office hours.

Hunters interested in testing a deer for CWD harvested outside the CWD surveillance areas may also take their deer to select FWAs and SFHs. The testing option is free. Alternatively, hunters may independently submit their deer to the Purdue Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (ADDL) for testing for a fee. To use the ADDL option, hunters should complete the submission form and follow the shipping instructions on Purdue ADDL’s website.

Hunters who submit a deer for CWD testing will receive a metal tag reminiscent of Indiana’s historical deer harvest confirmation process.

Switz City Man Arrested For Timber Theft

Indiana Conservation Officers have arrested a Switz City man after he bought timber without a license from multiple Lawrence and Greene County landowners between 2016 and 2019. Many of the landowners failed to receive payment for their timber.

Alfred Barnes, 65, of Switz City, was arrested on October 22, 2020 after Conservation Officers served search and arrests warrants on Barnes at his Greene County business.

Conservation Officers began their investigation in 2016, after receiving information Barnes had illegally bought timber without a license from at least seven Greene County landowners.

In January of 2020, Conservation Officers investigated complaints in Lawrence County and discovered several landowners had also sold timber to Barnes and some of the landowners failed to receive payment.

As a result of the investigation, Barnes is facing the following charges: Lawrence County: One count – Corrupt Business Influence – Level 5 Felony; Two separate counts – Theft – Level 6 Felony; One count – Unlicensed Timber Buyer with a Prior Conviction – Level 6 Felony.

Greene County: Seven separate counts – Buying Timber without a License, with a prior conviction – Level 6 Felony

Upon service of the warrants, Barnes was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Greene County Jail. Orders for forfeiture of equipment and vehicles were also granted in relation to the Lawrence County based investigation.

The DNR Division of Forestry oversees the licensing and regulation of timber buyers and agents. For information on timber buyers, or if you are a landowner seeking to sell timber, please visit: https://www.in.gov/dnr/forestry/2846.htm.

Surplus Trout Stocked Throughout Indiana

The DNR has recently stocked more than 9,000 surplus rainbow trout, thanks to a strong production season at Curtis Creek Trout Rearing Station. The surplus trout range from 6 to 8 inches long. Fish were stocked at the following locations:

• Pinhook Lagoon, St. Joseph County – 1,600 fish

• Martin Lake, Lagrange County – 435 fish

• Oliver Lake, Lagrange County – 1,484 fish

• Brookville Tailwater, Franklin County – 1,500 fish

• Delaware Lake, Marion County – 700 fish

• Big Blue River, Henry County – 1,125 fish

• Spring Mill Lake, Lawrence County – 750 fish

• Garvin Park Lake, Vanderburgh County – 500 fish

An additional 1,150 fish were stocked at Maple Avenue Park Lake in Vigo County on November 5. An exact stocking time will not be given, to prevent crowding around stocking trucks.

The DNR also recently stocked 300 rainbow trout at Johnson Lake in Jefferson County, 405 trout at Oak Lake in Clark State Forest, and 550 trout at Garvin Park lake in Evansville as part of regular annual fall stockings.

Anglers 18 and older must have a valid Indiana fishing license and trout stamp. Each can be purchased at on.IN.gov/INhuntfish. The catch limit per angler is five trout.

‘till next time,

Jack

Readers can contact Jack Spaulding by writing to this publication, or e-mail at jackspaulding@hughes.net

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