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DNR Home > Divisions > Communications > Outdoor Indiana Magazine - Archives > Outdoor Indiana - September/October 2011 > Outdoor Indiana - September/October 2011 - Featured Stories Outdoor Indiana - September/October 2011 - Featured Stories

Director's Column
Plant Feature
Hoosier Outdoor Experience
Tippecanoe & bicentennial too

Director’s Column

Loony for waterfowl or not, buy a stamp
Robert E. Carter, Jr.

Director Robert E. Carter, Jr.

Robert Ruark, one of America’s legendary outdoor writers, once wrote, “If you have to be crazy to hunt ducks, I do not wish to be sane.”

Call me crazy.

As you open this issue, autumn is just around the corner or already here. It’s a season associated with the closing of summer lake cottages, football games on weekends, harvesting of crops, and hunting.

For me, the choice is waterfowl hunting—ducks and geese.

Autumn’s chill winds spur migration of waterfowl from their summer homes in Canada and the upper Great Lakes. Reaching Indiana, birds rest and feed at established sites like Pigeon River Fish & Wildlife Area and Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge or developing properties like Wabashiki FWA.

The Governor’s Healthy Rivers Initiative along the Wabash and Muscatatuck rivers will provide even more stopovers for migrating birds.

While the primary purpose of these public properties is to protect and enhance wildlife habitat, they also provide venues for bird watching, nature photography, fishing and hunting.

Yes, hunting.

It may come as a surprise, but hunters, especially waterfowl hunters, deserve a great deal of credit for public lands that hunters and non-hunters alike enjoy.

Beginning with the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act of 1934, all waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must purchase an annual Federal Duck Stamp in addition to state license requirements. Since then, more than a half billion dollars has been collected, with 98 cents of each dollar going to the purchase of wetlands and wildlife habitat.

Non-hunters purchase them, too, but 90 percent of the Duck Stamp revenue comes from hunters, who willingly pay the fee so they can sit in a duck blind on a cold winter day with friends or family, a good hunting dog, and wait for the passing of a northern pintail, a canvasback, or a flock of mallards.

So, do something for conservation today—buy a Duck Stamp. See fws.gov/duckstamps.
Loony for waterfowl or not, buy a stamp

Robert Ruark, one of America’s legendary outdoor writers, once wrote, “If you have to be crazy to hunt ducks, I do not wish to be sane.”

Call me crazy.

As you open this issue, autumn is just around the corner or already here. It’s a season associated with the closing of summer lake cottages, football games on weekends, harvesting of crops, and hunting.

For me, the choice is waterfowl hunting—ducks and geese.

Autumn’s chill winds spur migration of waterfowl from their summer homes in Canada and the upper Great Lakes. Reaching Indiana, birds rest and feed at established sites like Pigeon River Fish & Wildlife Area and Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge or developing properties like Wabashiki FWA.

The Governor’s Healthy Rivers Initiative along the Wabash and Muscatatuck rivers will provide even more stopovers for migrating birds.

While the primary purpose of these public properties is to protect and enhance wildlife habitat, they also provide venues for bird watching, nature photography, fishing and hunting.

Yes, hunting.

It may come as a surprise, but hunters, especially waterfowl hunters, deserve a great deal of credit for public lands that hunters and non-hunters alike enjoy.

Beginning with the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act of 1934, all waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must purchase an annual Federal Duck Stamp in addition to state license requirements. Since then, more than a half billion dollars has been collected, with 98 cents of each dollar going to the purchase of wetlands and wildlife habitat.

Non-hunters purchase them, too, but 90 percent of the Duck Stamp revenue comes from hunters, who willingly pay the fee so they can sit in a duck blind on a cold winter day with friends or family, a good hunting dog, and wait for the passing of a northern pintail, a canvasback, or a flock of mallards.

So, do something for conservation today—buy a Duck Stamp. See fws.gov/duckstamps.

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Plant Feature

Persimmon Tree (Diospyros virginiana)
By Jason Larson

Ripe persimmon tree fruit at Blue Grass Fish & Wildlife Area near Evansville. Folklore, beauty, food, drink, and its own festival.

That’s a lot to ask for from one tree, but the persimmon delivers all of it and more.

With the genus name Diospyros translating to “fruit of the gods,” you might guess this otherwise unassuming tree offers something tasty. Indeed, persimmon trees are best known for their orange 1- to 1 ½-inch fruits that start to ripen in September. Harvested ripe, after falling from the tree, they are a sweet, custard-like treat.

Folk wisdom tells us persimmons aren’t ready until after the autumn’s first frost, but that’s not quite true. The first frost often coincides with the fruit being ready, but it’s also common for persimmons to be ripe before a frost—or to not be ripe after one. Either way, don’t rush them. If you pluck and sample a green persimmon, expect an astringent, bitter flavor you won’t soon forget.

Persimmon fruit is most commonly made into puddings and pies, but can also be baked into bread, fermented into wine or distilled into brandy. To separate the savory pulp from the skins and seeds, many people use a Foley food mill or colander. If you haven’t found a source of fruit don’t fret. In many areas of southern Indiana, persimmon pulp is commonly sold via local classified ads. Incidentally, the large persimmons in grocery stores are from one of the persimmon species from the Far East. Those trees are not well suited to Indiana’s climate.

Ripe persimmon tree fruit at Blue Grass Fish & Wildlife Area near Evansville.

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

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Hoosier Outdoor Experience

Third time will be even more of a charm, thanks to planners
By Don Kaczorowski

Dozens of people take to Fall Creek at Fort Harrison State Park to learn the basics of canoeing during last year’s Hoosier Outdoor Experience. The third annual event will be held this year on Sept 17-18 at the same site.If you haven’t already circled Sept. 17 and 18 on your calendar, grab a marker.

The third annual free two-day extravaganza of hands-on outdoor-related activities known as the Hoosier Outdoor Experience is coming your way at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis that weekend.

On those two days, you can try typical outdoor pursuits such as fishing and kayaking, and also can explore more obscure activities, like bowfishing or off-road jeep rides.

Mix in turkey calling, archery, target shooting, camping, hiking, horseback riding, birding, monarch watching, building for wildlife and just about any other outdoor activity you can imagine—and some you probably can’t—and you’ve got an idea of what awaits.

Featuring more than 50 activities, the Experience gives you the chance to learn the fundamentals of outdoor recreation available across Indiana by actually doing the activities. Those who’ve already tried these activities can do them again, of course, but they also get to talk with experts to help them further develop any newfound interests in the outdoors.

Although many activities are geared toward adults, the Experience also provides a great first step toward exciting children of all ages about becoming active outdoor enthusiasts. The youngsters don’t just watch, they get to do, too.

Dozens of people take to Fall Creek at Fort Harrison State Park to learn the basics of canoeing during last year’s Hoosier Outdoor Experience. The third annual event will be held this year on Sept 17-18 at the same site.

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

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Tippecanoe & bicentennial too

The 200th anniversary of the famous battle is upon us
By Ed Bree
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William Henry Harrison, etched in glass, is part of the gateway exhibit in the museum at the Tippecanoe Battlefield. A few years ago on a busy afternoon at the Tippecanoe Battlefield northeast of Lafayette, Leslie Martin Conwell glanced out the window of the museum building where she works as a senior staff member.

Out on the grounds she saw the scheduled gathering that day: A crowd of people, all descendants of William Henry Harrison, one of the central figures who put this little patch of Hoosier land on the map and in history books.

Harrison, territorial governor, general and finally President of the United States, had been dead for something like 160 years on that afternoon. His descendants, the picnickers present, represented several generations and a lot of geography. They had reunited from all over the country, as most family reunion participants do.

Then, Martin Conwell glanced in the other direction, toward the approach road, and what she saw “gave me a very strong feeling that all this is very much alive. It was an emotional moment.”

She saw a gaggle of motorcycles headed toward the battlefield area, toward the Harrison reunion. The riders were young men of American Indian descent, “probably Shawnee from Oklahoma,” she guessed, descendants of two legendary leaders—Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa, who was known as “the Prophet.” They were the two other iconic figures in the history of this place along the Wabash River.

For a fleeting instant, Martin Conwell said, she thought to herself: “‘Oh, no. Not again.’”

Nothing happened. All was well, but Martin Conwell said, “It certainly served as a reminder to me how important and how sensitive historic interpretation must be. I have never forgotten it.”

Martin Conwell is commemoration coordinator for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Tippecanoe. She is one of several people from four organizations involved in the preservation of the Tippecanoe Battlefield site, and said she expects the teamwork vitality to extend into the bicentennial observance to be marked on Nov. 5-7.

William Henry Harrison, etched in glass, is part of the gateway exhibit in the museum at the Tippecanoe Battlefield. Harrison led United States troops at the famed Battle of Tippecanoe. The American Indians were headed by Tenskwatawa, right, better known as the Prophet, during the bloody event.

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

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