Jack Spaulding

Washing my hands at the bathroom sink in preparation for lunch, I glanced out the window just in time to see a young, roly-poly raccoon emerge from the ground cover and begin to scavenge for stray sunflower seeds under the bird feeder.

Rinsing my hands, I glanced back and there were now two young raccoons under the feeder.

Reaching for the hand towel to dry my hands, I looked again and there were three raccoons.

With number three showing up, I called to my wife to come and see our lunch guests.

“Chris… come in here and take a look at our parade of critters!”

As she walked into the bathroom, raccoon number four waddled out to join its siblings in the search for seeds.

I just said, “I don’t believe this…” and the fifth raccoon came walking out from behind the ground cover!

Here it is broad daylight, and we have five young raccoons scratching up the back yard!

After the five ring-tailed bandits tired of gleaning sunflower seeds and waddled off, the two squirrels showed up to glean for any leftovers. Meandering among the squirrels, four chipmunks came along searching for their share of any loose seeds as well.

Currently, the demand at our bird feeding station is about two gallons of sunflower seeds and two suet cakes daily. Our daily allocation of critter food is providing for several hundred song birds and a wealth of woodpeckers as well as for all the scrounging four legged ones in the cleanup crews.

It makes for additional acquaintances as well. My regular visit pushing a cart loaded with suet cakes and sunflower seeds to the checkout of the farm supply store, I usually hear, “Did you find everything you needed? And, will it be cash or charge Jack?”

Public Hearings For Proposed Fish & Wildlife Rule Changes

The Natural Resources Commission’s (NRC) Division of Hearings has scheduled two hearings to accept public comments on proposed rule changes.

Proposed rule changes include adding ruffed grouse and cisco to the state’s endangered species list, establishing new size and bag limits for saugeye taken on the Ohio River, and allowing air guns and air bows during the deer firearms hunting season.

Before I get a bunch of inquiries about the DNR legalizing BB guns for deer, please note the following description and criteria for qualification: “Hunters have expressed interest in using air rifles and air bows to harvest deer. Air rifles and air bows are capable of humanely and efficiently harvesting a deer. Equipment would have to meet the same requirements specified by the administrative code, but would allow hunters to have additional options when choosing to hunt for deer during firearms season. For air guns, the gun would have to propel a single projectile by means of non-ignited compressed air or other gas charged by an external high compression power source and have a .40 caliber or larger bullet or ball at a single discharge generating at least 400 foot pounds of muzzle energy. An air bow would need to have a sharpened metal or metal-edged broadhead with metal points and a minimum speed of 300 feet per second at release.”

I would urge everyone interested to read the complete list of proposed amendments with additional information about each proposal online at wildlife.IN.gov/2362.htm.

The hearings are scheduled for:

• Wednesday, July 29, 6 p.m. ET, Mounds State Park, 4306 Mounds Road, Anderson, IN 46017. Fisheries Rules Hearing in the Nature Center, multi-purpose room. Wildlife Rules Hearing in the Pavilion.

• Thursday, July 30, 6 p.m. ET, McCormick’s Creek State Park, 451 McCormick Creek Park Road, Spencer, IN 47460. Fisheries Rules Hearing in the Sycamore Room. Wildlife Rules Hearing in the Oak Room.

Public comments may be submitted online at nrc.IN.gov/2377.htm. Locate the “comment on this rule” link in the Rulemaking Docket for the FW Biennial Fisheries Amendments or the FW Biennial Wildlife Amendments, whichever rule package the comment applies to.

Comments may also be mailed to:

Natural Resources Commission Indiana Government Center North 100 North Senate Ave., Room N103 Indianapolis, IN 46204

The deadline for public comments is July 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Flora Field Day At Monroe Lake

The abundance of beautiful colors of woodland flowers are truly awesome. Unfortunately, many outdoor lovers can only look and appreciate the beauty rather than know the name of the plant bearing the beautiful blossoms. But, there is a chance to learn coming up soon!

Monroe Lake’s naturalist will offer an opportunity for people to learn or practice wildflower identification skills during a Flora Field Day at Pine Grove State Recreation Area on Tuesday, July 7.

The hands-on session begins at 9:30 a.m. It’s free, but advance registration is required by July 5 at bit.ly/florafieldjul2020.

Participants must practice social distancing and are encouraged to bring a mask to wear when in closer proximity to others.

The naturalist, Jill Vance, will work with attendees based on their level of experience. If you’ve never worked with wildflower ID, the outing will be a great opportunity to learn how to use a field guide effectively. If you have some experience, it’s an opportunity to practice your skills with others.

Pine Grove SRA is located at the end of Pine Grove Road in Bloomington, Indiana, off of State Road 446. Admission to the SRA is free. Questions about the program should be directed to the Paynetown Activity Center at 812-837-9967 or to Jill Vance, interpretive naturalist, at jvance@dnr.in.gov.

‘till next time,

Jack

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

Recommended for you