Select Indiana state park properties will temporarily close in the coming weeks so controlled deer management hunts can take place.

Each of the control hunts runs for two days. The first is on Monday, Nov. 16, and Tuesday, Nov. 17. The second is on Monday, Nov. 30, and Tuesday, Dec. 1. Participating state park properties will close to the general public on the evening before each of the two hunts.

Participating state park properties are: Brown County, Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Shades, Spring Mill, Turkey Run, Versailles, and Whitewater Memorial state parks, as well as Trine State Recreation Area.

The state park properties will re-open the morning after each two-day hunt. All Indiana state park properties not mentioned will be operating under normal hours.

Indiana DNR biologists evaluate which state park properties require a deer management hunt each year based on habitat recovery and previous harvest rates at each park property. The state park properties are home to numerous natural communities serving as significant habitat. The deer management hunts help control browsing by deer to a level ensuring habitat for native plants and animals.

Only individuals selected from the draw may participate at any site.

Monroe Lake Holiday Hiking Challenge

Skip the shopping and holiday stress on Thanksgiving weekend and spend your time outside exploring the beauty of the outdoors with Monroe Lake’s Holiday Hiking Challenge, which will take place from Thursday, Nov. 26 through Sunday, Nov. 29.

The Holiday Hiking Challenge consists of hiking all of Monroe Lake’s trails over the four-day period, a total distance of about 9.5 miles, and completing specified activities. Each trail will have one or more posted stations at which you will need to take a photo to prove you completed the activity.

All hikers who complete the challenge and submit their photos before midnight on Nov. 29 will be entered into a prize drawing. Prizes include a 2021 Indiana State Parks Annual Entrance Pass, a private bald eagle winter hike in January or February 2021 for up to 10 people, and a guided kayak trip on the lake in summer 2021 for up to 8 people (kayaks for the trip included).

To participate, start by downloading the challenge trail map to see where the stations are located on the Facebook Event page for the Holiday Hiking Challenge at: bit.ly/2020MonroeHiking Challenge. The map will be posted Nov. 25. You also can have a copy of the challenge trail map sent to you by emailing jvance@dnr.IN.gov by no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 25.

Any questions should be directed to Jill Vance at 812-837-9967, or jvance@dnr.IN.gov.

DNR Evaluates Patoka Lake Bass Stocking

Through a partnership with Indiana Bass Federation (IBF), DNR fisheries biologists are starting a research project to evaluate survival rates of stocked largemouth bass in Patoka Lake.

The IBF solicited donations to purchase 3,200 advanced fingerling largemouth bass. More than 900 were stocked in May, and 2,300 are being stocked early this month. All of the stocked bass are tagged with an internal passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag, allowing each fish to be uniquely identifiable by using a scanner.

Research across the central United States has shown stocking fingerling size (2-4 inch) largemouth bass into lakes with self-sustaining bass populations has had limited to no success at improving bass populations. The project is using advanced fingerlings (6-9 inches) to test if the larger fish will survive and grow to the legal minimum length of 15 inches at Patoka Lake.

“Thanks goes out to the Indiana Bass Federation for their fundraising efforts and making this research project possible,” said Dan Carnahan, south region fisheries supervisor. “We look forward to evaluating the results of this survival study.”

DNR will conduct spring and fall electrofishing surveys over the next three years to monitor the stocked and naturally reproduced bass populations to determine if they differ in growth, catch rates, and condition factor. Starting in 2023, DNR will search for PIT tagged bass while monitoring bass tournaments to help determine if the stocking was successful.

Firewood Permits – Brookville Lake, Whitewater SP, Patoka Lake, Turkey Run & Shades

Trees eligible for firewood have fallen as a result of natural causes or have been dropped by property staff. They are along roadsides or in public areas such as campsites and picnic areas.

Permit sales for Brookville Lake and Whitewater SP and cutting both begin Nov. 9 and end Feb. 26, 2021.

The cost of one pickup-truck load at all locations is $10. All proceeds will be used for resource management and restoration efforts, including replacement of trees in campgrounds and other public areas.

At Patoka Lake a permit can be obtained at the property office between 8:00am and 3:00pm on weekdays beginning Nov. 11. Days, hours and access to specific areas for cutting will be determined by weather conditions and availability of downed trees. Call the park office at 812-685-2464 for more information.

At Turkey Run and Shades permit sales and cutting both begin Nov. 18 and end Feb. 12, 2021.

‘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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