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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

DNR Home > Divisions > Communications > Outdoor Indiana Magazine - Archives > Outdoor Indiana - November/December 2010 > Outdoor Indiana - November/December 2010 - Feature Stories Outdoor Indiana - November/December 2010 - Feature Stories

Director's Column
Plant Feature
Changing deer hunting rules proves a PUZZLE

Director’s Column

Two organizations have been golden for state
Robert E. Carter, Jr.

Director Robert E. Carter, Jr. Before closing the books on 2010, I want to extend 50th anniversary wishes to some people who are important to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and its mission: ACRES Land Trust and the Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

From the outset, both land conservation groups and others like them have been key players in words and deeds in protecting natural habitats in our state.

Their efforts mirror—and frequently partner with—work of the Indiana Heritage Trust, DNR’s funding mechanism for land acquisition since 1992.

“IHT has been real helpful to us,” ACRES executive director Jason Kissell said. “It often provides the boost that makes an acquisition possible.”

Although best known for protecting natural areas, ACRES and TNC have been instrumental in other ways.

For instance, the founders of ACRES worked with the General Assembly to pass legislation in 1967 that created the DNR Division of Nature Preserves. Today, approximately 230 sites across Indiana have been granted nature preserve status.

ACRES began as Allen County Reserves but tweaked its name after expanding its geographic reach into northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. The group acquired its first property in 1960—the Edna W. Spurgeon Woodland Reserve. The 65-acre Noble County site is a series of low ridges known as kames, formed by melting glaciers thousands of years ago.

The same year, TNC made its first acquisition—Pine Hills in Montgomery County. This area also was impacted by glaciers, whose melting waters formed streams that cut into the bedrock and created narrow ridges or “backbones” that stand 70 to 100 feet above the surrounding valley.

Ownership of Pine Hills was transferred to the DNR in 1962, became the agency’s first dedicated nature preserve in 1969, and is now part of Shades State Park.

Neither group has slowed down.

ACRES set a 50th anniversary goal of reaching 5,000 acres. It is up to 4,700 acres at 76 preserves. And TNC is well on its way to achieving a goal set six years ago of 100,000 acres by 2016.

Thanks to both … and Happy Anniversary.

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Plant Feature

Fragrant sumac
(Rhus aromatica)
By Derek Nimetz

The fragrant sumac shrub is 2-8 feet tall, depending on the variety, and is variable in size and branching habit. This controversial shrub gets all over town. It hangs out at the high-end shopping center, fast food restaurant, amusement park—even the beach.

Its appearance has been known to frighten people.
It goes by a few aliases.
It drinks.
It smokes.
And it smells.

But this wild shrub, much like people who match some of these descriptions, is a little misunderstood.

Fragrant sumac goes by other monikers such as aromatic sumac, sweet-scented sumac, lemon sumac, squaw-bush, stinking bush and polecat bush. The term “fragrant” in its given name refers to the odor released when its leaves or stems are crushed.

It’s debatable if the aroma produced is pleasant. Perhaps the best way to describe the scent is “bittersweet.”

The fragrant sumac shrub is 2-8 feet tall, depending on the variety, and is variable in size and branching habit. During summer, its flowers are replaced by hairy red drupes.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Borders and Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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Changing deer hunting rules proves a PUZZLE
Process aims to gather public input

By Phil Bloom

A large white-tailed buck runs next to U.S. 24 near Peru in fall 2009. Mark Reiter used to think he could put deer hunters into four categories.
He now knows it’s not that simple.

Reiter’s epiphany came during a series of open-house meetings that he and others from the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife conducted in August to explain proposed changes to deer hunting regulations.

“Most of us involved in the open houses didn’t realize that so many people view deer hunting in so many different ways that it’s difficult to categorize an average deer hunter,” said Reiter, director of the Division of Fish & Wildlife. “This showed that everybody has their own personal twist.”

Bryan Poynter is chairman of the Natural Resources Commission that gave preliminary approval to the proposed rules in July and ultimately will decide if the new rules receive final approval as written or in some amended form. He agrees with Reiter.

“This issue touches so many people and is a very personal thing,” he said. “They may have deer hunting in common, but you can’t pigeonhole them or stereotype them into one bucket, two buckets, or three.

“There’s such a personal dynamic around deer hunting traditions and heritage that it’s no wonder this type of action generates such passion when it’s affecting somebody.”

The proposed rules were the outgrowth of a comprehensive NRC review of all fish and wildlife regulations that began two years ago.

“We said we were going to do something really bold, and then trust the process and the end users of our natural resources to tell us what they think—good or bad,” Poynter said.

By Sept. 1, nearly 3,000 people had told the NRC what they thought about the proposed deer rules through written comments, and the five DNR open houses drew about 300 visitors.

What some thought was a done deal has a long way to go. In fact, the NRC’s preliminary approval of the proposed rules was only the fifth of more than 30 steps needed before a rule becomes final.

“The process is designed to be slow, deliberative and comprehensive,” Poynter said. “As we go through the rule-making process, there are natural checks and balances that help assess what’s positive and what’s negative.

A large white-tailed buck runs next to U.S. 24 near Peru in fall 2009. Deer pose a threat to motorists, especially during fall, because of their increased activity.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Borders and Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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