Fish & wildlife areas (FWAs) are managed so Indiana’s fish, wildlife, and habitats can thrive and benefit present and future generations of Hoosiers. Help the DNR keep the locations clean and safe by practicing responsible recreation.

Responsible recreation means everyone does their part to keep FWAs healthy, beautiful, and safe for Hoosiers and Indiana’s fish and wildlife. While at FWAs, remember to bring a bag to carry out your trash. Enjoy the outdoors safely by practicing social distancing; park only in designated areas; drive 30 mph or less on property roads; and only use designated shooting ranges for target or recreational shooting.

Planning ahead is another way to ensure you have a fun and safe time while enjoying the outdoors. Along with any activity-specific gear and a trash bag, remember to bring water, hand sanitizer, soap, and paper towels with you. Know where you’re going and think about an alternative location if your initial destination is crowded.

FWAs provide excellent opportunities for fishing and shooting sports this time of year. You can also spend your visit wildlife watching, walking, and enjoying the scenic views. If you’re interested in fishing, boating, or paddling activities, find the perfect place near you using the interactive Where to Fish map: on.IN.gov/where2fish.

Get started planning your visit: on.IN.gov/dfwproperties.

ORV Accidents Continue

Almost every week, I see a report of children injured while operating an ORV. The latest, an incident in Fort Wayne where Indiana Conservation Officers are now investigating an off-road vehicle (ORV) accident injuring three juveniles last week.

The accident occurred at approximately 6 p.m. on May 25 in the 1400 block of Tulip Tree Road. A side-by-side ORV occupied by three juveniles, ages 16, 15 and 14, was heading west on Tulip Drive and lost control after hitting a patch of gravel on the roadway. The operator over-corrected, causing the vehicle to overturn on its right side.

The three juveniles were treated on scene by medical personnel and transported by personal vehicle to Dupont Hospital for treatment of their injuries where the 15-year-old and 14-year-old were treated and released. The 16 year-old was transferred to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne for further treatment of injuries.

No helmets or seat belts were being worn by the juveniles at the time of the accident.

Indiana Conservation Officers were assisted at the scene by the Fort Wayne Police Department and Three Rivers Ambulance Authority.

Indiana law requires all operators and occupants of ORVs under the age of 18 to wear a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. An individual must also possess a valid driver’s license to operate an ORV on the roadway. For a description of the legality of operating ORVs on county roadways see dnr.IN.gov/outdoor/4431.htm

Conservation Officers Save Girl From Drowning

Two Indiana Conservation Officers rescued an 11-year-old girl from drowning May 29, after she fell into the Whitewater River in Richmond, below the Weir Dam. The rescue was a result of the officers being in the right place, at the right time while patrolling the river.

Approximately 5:30 p.m., Indiana Conservation Officers Rhett Braun and Cole Hollingsworth were on foot, checking fishing licenses, when they heard someone yelling for help. They observed a young girl in the river, struggling to remain on the surface. Both officers entered the water, swam to the girl and brought her back to shore.

The girl was checked out by EMTs with the Richmond Fire Department and found to be uninjured.

It was determined the girl, who did not know how to swim, had fallen into the river while walking the bank below the low-head dam with family members. The river in the area was 8 to 9 feet deep, with a strong current at the time of the incident.

Indiana Conservation Officers remind the public to use caution while recreating near water and recognize the dangers of low-head dams. It is also a good practice to have children and non-swimmers wear personal flotation devices while on or near the water.

Camp For Free – Be A Host

Campground hosts are needed at Indiana state parks and forests. Indiana’s state parks and state forests are looking for volunteers to serve as campground hosts in exchange for free camping during their service.

Hosts work a minimum of 20 hours per week. The volunteer period varies at respective sites, based on the number of applicants and the amount and type of work required.

Properties are looking for dedicated campers who enjoy working outdoors, with the public and with DNR staff.

A complete list of hosting duties is at on.IN.gov/DNRCampgroundHost or potential applicants can contact the property at which they would like to serve as host.

Completion of a volunteer application is required to apply. Download a volunteer application form at on.IN.gov/INStateParksVolunteer.

Boating Restrictions Lifted

Boating restrictions have been lifted on Oswego, Tippecanoe and James (Little Tippecanoe) Lakes in Kosciusko County

The emergency order restricting the operation of motorized watercraft to idle speed has been rescinded for Oswego, Tippecanoe and James (Little Tippecanoe) Lakes, and normal boating operations may resume.

Community Deer Hunting Coordinator Training

Individuals interested in becoming qualified as Community Hunting Access Program (CHAP) deer hunting coordinators are invited to attend this year’s training session on Saturday, July 11.

CHAP is designed to increase hunting opportunities for white-tailed deer in communities and help alleviate human/deer conflicts. CHAP is described in detail at wildlife.IN.gov/9420.htm.

The training will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the DNR Fish & Wildlife Bloomington Field Office. Coordinators may be hired by communities applying for CHAP to implement safe deer hunting practices in various types of communities, parks, and terrains in accordance with the CHAP program. Training will cover topics including the biology of white-tailed deer, deer management options, and successful deer hunting in urban communities.

The training will be contracted through White Buffalo, Inc. An online portion of training will be required prior to attending the in-person training session. Training-session participants should come ready to participate and take notes. An outdoor field trip portion of the session is planned, and participants should come dressed appropriately for the weather, ready to caravan to the field trip location with their own lunches. Lunch will not be provided.

Registration is required for the event, and the deadline is Friday, June 26. Participation is limited to 20 people. To learn more and register, visit https://bit.ly/2THjFHM.

‘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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