Rep. Olthoff: Preserving wildlife, protecting communities

Posted by: Brandi Klingerman  | Thursday, October 15, 2015

Preserving wildlife, protecting communities

‘I hear shots’ is one of the most frequent phone calls Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) receives at our local office. As development continues within Winfield, residents often hear gunshots from nearby hunters and are concerned by how close the shots are to populated areas. Lt. Thomas Torsell Jr., a local DNR commander, asked to meet so he could discuss how our community can address issues regarding hunting practices, nuisance animals, and all-terrain vehicles.

Hunters are encouraged to remain respectful of the businesses and homes that are close to regular hunting areas in Winfield. Additionally, community members are asked to be aware of hunting seasons. For instance, reduction zone hunting for deer began in September and ends in January. Following hunting season dates is imperative for hunters, but also helpful for all community members. Being aware of the changing hunting seasons allows Hoosiers to know what is and is not allowed throughout the year.

The goal of the DNR is to professionally manage Indiana’s fish and wildlife for present and future generations while balancing ecological, recreational and economic benefits. One way the DNR works to accomplish this is by providing important information concerning nuisance wild animal control. Removing several types of animals may not require a permit, but specific circumstances must be met in order to do so. For example, to remove beavers and muskrats a resident landowner or tenant can legally capture the animals without a permit if that animal is discovered damaging the property. Coyotes can also be snared, trapped or shot year-round on private property without a permit. The DNR website provides a great resource for finding the guidelines that must be followed when capturing and removing nuisance wildlife.

Whether we are ready or not, snow will once again be a part of our daily routines, and with that, all-terrain vehicles will become more prevalent. These vehicles not only provide a way for people to remove snow, but also to have fun. It is important for the owners of all-terrain vehicles to have permission to drive these vehicles on fields and farmland owned by other community members. Not only is it against the law to trespass on private property, but it is also dangerous to drive on property that is unfamiliar to the driver. Always request permission from property owners, just as a hunter would during designated hunting seasons. 

To learn more about the dates of various hunting seasons and to look up the requirements for nuisance animal removal, visit the DNR website at www.in.gov/dnr. The website allows the DNR to share information necessary to help preserve Indiana’s wildlife while keeping our community safe. If you have any questions about the topics above or other community concerns, I encourage you to contact my office at h19@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9850.

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Rep. Olthoff represents a portion of Lake County.