Tiny visitor

Submitted photo

My wife and I had spent the hot spring day at Madison on Saturday and we got home late in the afternoon. As I stepped from the truck, I noticed something in the sun-drenched, crushed stone driveway. At first, it looked like a round piece of baked clay slightly bigger than a quarter. Then, I looked closer.

I said to my wife, “We have a tiny visitor.” Without knowing what kind of creature I was referencing, she automatically replied, “You’re not keeping it.”

She knows me pretty well!

I carefully picked up the recently hatched, baby map turtle. It was in bad shape, cooking in the sun, caked with dried and cracked mud, totally exhausted and so dehydrated it was on the brink of death. Taking it inside, I carefully placed it in shallow pan of lukewarm water and waited to see the outcome.

A couple hours later, I checked on the little turtle to find a tiny head poked out and viewing its surroundings. The water was doing the trick, and as the turtle rehydrated, it became more active.

We kept the little fellow for a couple days to make sure it would have a shot at surviving and then released it in our pond. As soon as I eased the turtle into the water, it was off like a shot, swimming at top speed in the direction of some underwater cover.

Indiana’s DNR is not a proponent of keeping turtles as pets advising, “Pet turtles do not like to be held and are loners; therefore, they can become boring pets for children.”

I’m sure there is a lot of truth about a turtle being a “boring pet” since kids today are swept up in modern media, text messaging, FaceBook, SnapChat, X-Box games and mindless video games slaying vampires and zombies. But back in the day, turtles were pretty exciting. Keep in mind, the first pet turtle I had was over 64 years ago! This was even a couple years before we had television at home! Back then, I’d take a turtle to watch any day over a board game.

Brookville Lake Tailwater Brown Trout

The Brookville Lake tailwater has received more than 3,000 new brown trout averaging 8 inches thanks to the DNR’s annual stocking of the area. The stocking was split between the State Route 101 bridge and Brookville Town Park. The DNR also stocked 1,500 rainbow trout in late April.

Special trout regulations for the Brookville Lake tailwater include a 7-inch minimum length limit for rainbow trout and an 18-inch minimum length limit for brown trout. The daily bag limit is five trout, of which only one may be a brown trout. A fishing license and trout stamp are required to fish for trout.

Best catch-and-release practices while fishing for trout include minimizing time the fish is out of water, minimizing time reeling in and unhooking the fish, and wetting hands prior to handling the fish. Catch-and-release anglers who hook a trout in a sensitive area, such as the gills, gut or throat, are encouraged to leave the hook in the fish and cut the line at the hook eye. Fish often shed hooks quickly, and the method increases their chances of survival.

The Brookville Lake tailwater is cooler than most southern Indiana streams. During the summer months, controlled releases of water from the depths of Brookville Lake cool the water. The cooler temperatures allow stocked trout to survive year-round and grow larger than trout in other stocked waters in southern Indiana.

The Brookville Lake tailwater is off of SR 101 outside of Brookville on the East Fork of the Whitewater River in Franklin County.

Indiana K-9 Program Graduates Seven Out-Of-State Teams

A ceremony held May 16 on the south lawn of the Indiana Statehouse recognized the graduation of seven K-9 teams from the DNR Division of Law Enforcement’s K-9 Resource Protection Program. The seven graduating teams represented the states of Kansas, Oregon, Utah and Virginia.

The K-9 teams trained and honed their skills in Orange County in southern Indiana in order to qualify for the graduation ceremony.

“The officers and their K-9 partners graduating today have completed nine total weeks of rigorous training,” said Maj. Tim Beaver of DNR Law Enforcement. “That is a tremendous personal investment and a lot of time spent away from home. The first time you locate that lost child or that trespassing poacher, it will all be worth it.”

The Indiana K-9 program started in 1997, with a pilot program of two teams. The effectiveness of the program was quickly realized. The program grew to a team of 12 K-9 units located throughout Indiana. There is at least one K-9 unit in all 10 Indiana DNR Law Enforcement districts.

The Indiana K-9 program is not only well respected in the Hoosier state, but also recognized as one of the top programs in the nation. Indiana has helped start and train teams from seven sister natural resource agencies (Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Oregon, Utah and Virginia).

Indiana K-9 teams are trained in man-tracking, wildlife detection and article searches. All canines are trained to locate white-tailed deer, wild turkey, waterfowl and ginseng. They may also be trained to locate other species depending on the geographic area of Indiana where the handler is stationed. Indiana teams excel in man-tracking and locating firearms.

K-9 teams provide the officers in their districts another tool to help stop poaching. In the past 22 years, K-9 teams across Indiana have been involved in more than six-thousand such cases. K-9 teams have been used to find hidden game and guns, as well as to find shell casings in road hunting and spotlighting cases. K-9 teams are used to find lost hunters as well as poachers who have tried to conceal themselves from officers.

Because of their unique abilities, K-9 units are often requested by other state and local law enforcement agencies for help in locating evidence in their cases and in locating missing persons or fleeing felons.

Youth Fishing Derby

On June 1, Monroe Lake’s Paynetown State Recreation Area is sponsoring “Cast a line and catch a fish.”

Children ages 16 and under are invited to participate in the free fishing derby. Borrow our equipment or bring your own; bait will be provided. A prize drawing will be held at 10:00am for all participants. New and beginning anglers are welcome; instructors will be on hand to teach the basics and offer assistance. No advance registration - just show up!

‘till next time, Jack

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