The Friday Review // February 5, 2021
Late winter cast and blast, wetlands still in danger, Reelfoot murder mystery deepens, poacher-busting solar bike, traditional archery on YouTube, and more
With brutally cold weather heading our way ice fishermen are adding layers, while the remainder of the sporting populace is moving firewood closer to the door. We’re in the midst of the longest season, a characterization unrelated to the calendar, but wholly accurate based on how it feels.
Yet there’s a certain beauty in the stillness of truly cold weather so unlike the rest of the year, it’s worth going outside only to remember it later. Or, if not, in 75 days it will be turkey season.
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- Ben Shadley // Editor & Publisher
Late winter coyote hunting and ice fishing
With the holidays well behind and spring too distant to look forward to, hunting and fishing options start to tighten up in our region. Coyote hunting season, however, hangs on until March 15, and ice fishing season is dictated by common sense. But the often sub-zero temperatures this time of year make it a good bet.
Review the Indiana DNR’s information and regulations on coyote hunting here, and double check the season’s dates here. We provided a couple Facebook groups to get (and submit) ice fishing reports in the previous Review, just make sure you take to the hard water safely.
Controversial IN wetlands bill passes senate, proceeds to vote in house
As the bill to significantly reduce protection of Indiana’s wetlands winds it way through the legislative process, it continues to pick up more press, and alarm from advocacy groups. For a little background on this, see the previous Friday Review.
The Indiana Environmental Reporter has the governor’s comments on the bill as well as a thorough explanation of what’s happening. The Hoosier Environmental Council published a lengthy Q and A document with the intent of “mythbusting” some points that have come up during discussion of the bill. Keep in mind the HEC’s clear agenda of advocating for environmental protection, but it’s a good read that highlights arguments on both sides of the issue in plain language.
Senate Bill 389 is, rightfully, getting nearly all the attention, but there are many other bills up for consideration this session on similar topics. See the Indy Star’s review of the more than 75 environmental bills they’re following.
But back to Bill 389 for a poignant moment. Reported by FOX 59, an 11-year-old has started a petition to stop the wetlands bill. When 11-year-olds start petitions, things have gotten dire.
Proposed coal-to-diesel plant defeats permit challenge, opposition continues
In other environmental news, also reported by the Environmental Reporter, Southwestern Indiana Citizens for Quality of Life and Valley Watch lost their challenge against the air permit for Riverview Energy’s proposed coal-to-diesel plant in Dale, IN.
This is interesting because the SWICQL is arguing community organizations shouldn’t (or maybe can’t) be responsible for proving engineering and technical issues with respect to pushing back on permits, as it’s “an impossible standard to meet.”
New details in Reelfoot double murder case don’t shed much light
As opined on in the previous Review, the Reelfoot Lake duck hunting double homicide is a tragic black mark for hunting culture, but beyond the broad outline of the event, the whole incident is fairly opaque. New details as reported by MeatEater confirm the shooter was found dead near the scene of a crime (a duck blind). But why he allegedly murdered two other hunters is still, and may remain, unknown. Thus far, the account given by the only witness provides no indication of motive.
Suspect arrested in burning of conservationist Brandon Butler’s cabin; the Sporting Report records podcast with Butler
Along with much of the outdoor world, we’ve been following the story of the burning of Brandon Butler’s hunting cabin in retaliation for his report of nearby poaching. A suspect has been arrested and charged with the crime. Also, more detail on the alleged arsonist’s connection to the aforementioned poaching incident has become clear. Outdoor writer and editor Patrick Durkin has provided comprehensive coverage for MeatEater.
Earlier this week we talked to Butler about the incident, hunting culture at-large and what he’s learned from being the subject of a story no one wants to hear, but everyone needs to. We’ll release the podcast next week.
Bass Pro Shops announces tournament with huge prize
With a name as long as its purse is big, the Johnny Morris Bass Pro Shops National Bass Fishing Amateur Team Championships should be fun to watch. The competition, in honor of the brand’s 50th anniversary, will pay out over $4 million, with $1 million for the championship team. Old Hickory Lake, TN, will be about as close to our region as the fishing gets, but that’s not a problem. Fishing is a spectator sport best enjoyed on TV.
Solar-powered, poacher-busting bike makes headlines
If you follow automotive news, especially in the tech and/or motorcycle spheres, good chance you’ve seen a recent, splashy headline about a poacher-busting solar bike. We read quite a bit of the genre, and poaching or poachers rarely makes an appearance.
Turns out an off-road electric bike manufacturer partnered with an Africa-based conservation project to create a machine that can operate off-grid supported by a solar-powered charging station. The concept is that a vehicle capable of traversing rough terrain far from fuel or charging stations will enable anti-poaching authorities to operate more effectively in the field. Sounds like a reasonable idea.
The bikes cost $30K apiece, and the manufacturer will donate one bike to the cause for each one purchased (limited to 50). We love the idea of partnerships that benefit anti-poaching. We also think the manufacturer did a hell of a job getting a ton of earned media. Maybe a win-win? We hope so.
New traditional archery collecting YouTube channel
Traditional archery aficionados, especially those interested in collecting and history, have a new source for entertainment and education. Traditional archery expert, collector, and sportsman Gene Hopkins recently launched the Archery Collecting with Gene Hopkins channel on YouTube.
Long-known as an expert in the field, he has videos on Maurice Thompson, Glenn St. Charles, Fred Bear, and more. Hopkins is also president of the Indiana Sportsman’s Roundtable, of which this publication is a member.
Weekend read: GM to go full electric by 2035? Sort of…
General Motors’ announcement last week that it will only produce electric vehicles by 2035 was a stunner. The only problem? It’s not true. But you get a pass on not realizing it because so many media outlets got it wrong, particularly their definitive headlines.
Kick back and read: GM ‘Aspires’ to Sell Only EVs by 2035. Here’s How to Understand What That Really Means, from our friends at The Drive.