Anyone suffering from arachnophobia or the fear of spiders might want to skip the first part of the column.
We’ve had the doors open whenever there has been a brake in the torrid temperatures, and we have some cracks on the underneath side of the screen doors. The cracks can occasionally give access to unwanted visitors.
Last week, as I walked to the refrigerator, I thought I saw a shadow of a large butterfly fall down the wall behind the cabinets.
Easing over to take a peek, I called for Chris and reinforcements, as I saw I was about to confront a wolf spider. Wolf spiders are lightning fast a’foot, but this one wasn’t a match for the speed of my fly swatter. It wasn’t quite mature, but was pretty impressive with an overall leg span of a little over 3 ½ inches in diameter!
I have seen larger! The biggest I’ve encountered had a leg span of close to 5 inches and was living in our covered sub well! It could best be described as the equivalent of an Indiana tarantula.
My most terrifying and disgusting encounter came a few years ago.
I had just taken a bath and went into the bedroom to put on my slippers lying next to the bedroom door. Sliding on my slippers, I headed to the couch for a little television. When I sat down on the couch, I kicked off my slippers only to notice a brownish stain on my big toe.
Puzzled, I picked up my right slipper and looked inside only to find a very large and very mashed wolf spider. Apparently, it was caught off guard and crushed by my foot before it could take evasive action or bite me. This is definitely not my preferred way of killing a wolf spider… I prefer using a large fly swatter with a long handle!
New Hunting Guide License Now Required
The Indiana General Assembly passed a new law this year and is now in effect (Senate Enrolled Act 363) requiring a Hunting Guide License for individuals providing hunting guide services for money or other goods or services (barter or trade). The license costs $100 a year. The application for the license and monthly report form can be found at wildlife.IN.gov/2371.htm.
While hunting guides (also called outfitters) have not been licensed by the Indiana DNR in the past, fishing guides have been licensed for a number of years.
The Indiana General Assembly also modified language for penalties as it pertains to guides. Violations include knowingly or intentionally taking an individual on private property to hunt without consent of the landowner. The laws can be found at the same website, wildlife.IN.gov/2371.htm.
Former TV Host Pleads Guilty In Poaching Case
Christopher Brackett, 41, former host of the Outdoor Channel hunting show “Fear No Evil,” has pled guilty in federal court to unlawful transportation of wildlife in violation of the Lacey Act.
Brackett, of East Peoria, Illinois, admitted to killing two bucks within minutes of each other in Indiana in December 2013 while filming an episode for his television show. Indiana law only allows hunters to kill one buck per season. Brackett also admitted to transporting the larger buck, which he nicknamed “Unicorn Buck,” across state lines to his home in Illinois.
The footage featuring “Unicorn Buck” appeared on an episode of his show in 2014. Brackett also took steps to conceal the taking of the smaller buck by instructing staff to hide video footage and destroy the antlers.
As part of the plea agreement, Brackett agreed to 30 months of probation and a ban of his hunting privileges worldwide for the same time period. He has also agreed to pay $30,000 in restitution and fines. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 5.
The investigation was completed by Indiana Conservation Officers along with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Prosecution was completed by the United States Attorney’s Office.
Turning Up The Heat On Skamania Steelhead
As summer heats up, so does steelhead action in Lake Michigan and its tributaries. Northwest Indiana is the place to be, and anglers should act fast to take advantage of the high-flying, challenging steelhead.
“Skamania” steelhead, so named for the hatchery in Washington from which they originate, are a unique species of summer-migrating steelhead trout the DNR stocks in southern Lake Michigan.
In most parts of the country, steelhead fishing is done during the fall, winter, and spring months, but it doesn’t have to be the case.
“The beauty of Skamania fishing is that you can do it in shorts and a T-shirt, catching a tan along with your steelhead,” said DNR Lake Michigan biologist Ben Dickinson. “It’s a great way to introduce people to steelhead fishing, especially kids. Pier fishing in particular is family friendly, since it only requires a medium action rod, a bobber, and widely available bait like nightcrawlers or cooked, peeled shrimp.”
Trail Creek is the crown jewel of Skamania fishing in Indiana, with more than 100,000 fish stocked annually. Trail Creek also supplies Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan with Skamania steelhead eggs.
“Indiana is the home of Skamania steelhead in the Great Lakes,” said Dave Meunick, manager of Bodine State Fish Hatchery. “Our hatchery staff continues to work diligently each summer, collecting adult Skamania steelhead to ensure our hatcheries have an ample supply of eggs for Indiana’s stocking programs and for those of our Lake Michigan partners.”
Salt Creek, the East Branch of the Little Calumet River, and the St. Joseph River also have summer and fall returns of Skamania as a result of annual stockings. Once the fish enter the rivers, they become accessible to local anglers until the following spring when they spawn and migrate back into the lake. The unique fish provides a nearly year-round steelhead fishing opportunity in Indiana.
“Fishing the Michigan City or Portage Lakefront Park piers in late evening or early morning in June and July is best for shore anglers,” said local expert Mike Ryan, who also serves as Indiana’s Great Lakes Sportfishing Advisor. “Water temperatures are key – I look for surface water temperatures of under 68 degrees for the best action.”
Anglers must purchase a trout stamp to pursue steelhead. Anglers looking for up-to-date information on the fishing status or where to fish can check the DNR fishing report at wildlife.IN.gov/8270.htm or call the Lake Michigan office at 219-874-6824.
‘till next time,
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