Now is the time of year when you may notice nests and dens occupied by young wildlife around your home. If you do, help keep wildlife wild by remembering the following if you encounter a young animal alone:
Adult animals rarely abandon their young. Parents often leave young unattended for long periods of time to gather food and may only return a few times a day. A nest or den without a parent present does not necessarily mean the young have been abandoned.
Do not stay close by to see if a parent has come back to its young. An adult animal will not return if people or pets are close to the nest or den. Give the young space, and only check back periodically. If you can’t tell if a parent has checked on a nest; place straw or grass over the nest, and return later to see if it has been disturbed.
Young wildlife should not be handled. Human scent is unlikely to cause parents to abandon their young; however, handling young wildlife and disturbance of a nest may alert predators to the young animal’s presence. Young may also carry disease or parasites they can transfer to people or pets, and are capable of biting or scratching.
Rescuing young wildlife is legal, but keeping them is not. Rescued wildlife must be given to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator within 24 hours. For a list of wildlife rehabilitators or more information on orphaned and injured wildlife, visit: on.IN.gov/keepwildlifewild.
DNR Signing Up Paddler Spies
Quietly paddling and drifting down stream on Midwestern Rivers is a great way to observe wildlife. Knowing this, the Indiana DNR is asking kayak and canoe paddlers to report their wildlife observations while paddling Indiana waterways from June 1 to July 31.
Paddling is a great way to enjoy Indiana’s natural beauty, observe wildlife, and connect with nature, and DNR is hoping to collect more information about the wildlife frequenting Indiana’s waterways. Hoosiers who paddle can collect information to help Indiana manage wildlife for future generations.
The Indiana Paddlecraft Wildlife Index compiles wildlife observations from people who use canoes, kayaks, or other non-motorized paddle-craft around the Hoosier state. Volunteer paddlers can help by signing up to complete paddling trip postcards documenting the wildlife they observe while on the water.
The collected information will allow wildlife managers to estimate changes in key wildlife populations over time. With paddlers’ help, DNR may also gain insight into new locations where species live.
Kayak and canoe enthusiasts interested can learn more or sign up to volunteer by visiting on.IN.gov/Paddlecraftindex.
New nature preserve
The Natural Resources Commission (NRC), during its May 19 meeting, approved creation of Dilcher-Turner Canyon Forest Nature Preserve in Greene County. The new nature preserve protects 68 acres containing 1.6 miles of moderate trails, as well as upland forests, scenic ravines with large sandstone outcrops, intermittent creeks, and several waterfalls.
In action regarding the Division of Fish & Wildlife, the NRC approved the DNR’s response to a citizen petition to allow the 28-gauge and .410 shotguns for hunting wild turkeys, as well as No. 9 tungsten super shot. The DNR will now move forward with creating rule language that will be brought to the NRC at a future date for consideration for preliminary adoption.
The NRC approved a request from another citizen petition to amend the rule governing muzzleloaders used for deer hunting by removing the sentence limiting the definition of a muzzleloading gun to one capable of being loaded only from the muzzle, including the powder and the bullet. The DNR will now move forward with creating rule language to be brought to the NRC at a future date for consideration for preliminary adoption.
Also regarding hunting with muzzleloaders, the NRC did not approve a citizen petition request to add a primitive muzzleloader deer hunting season.
Shooting ranges reopening
As of May 18, most DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife-owned shooting ranges will reopen. All facilities will be following COVID-19 social distancing and cleaning requirements. Restrictions will reduce the number of recreational shooters on the shooting ranges at a given time.
Atterbury Fish & Wildlife Area’s shooting range resume normal operating hours the week of May 18. Shooters wishing to schedule an appointment should call 812-526-6552.
All other FWA shooting ranges, except the one at Willow Slough FWA, will reopen as of the week of May 18. Shooting range hours differ between ranges. Check open days and hours before visiting. Willow Slough FWA’s range will remain closed until further notice. Shooting range hours and information can be found at wildlife.IN.gov/3648.htm.
‘till next time,