The Friday Review // January 22nd, 2021
Conservationist's cabin burned, Monroe Co. sues feds, a don't-miss conference, sharpshooting game wardens, real-life treasure hunt & more
Welcome to the first Friday Review of ‘21. If other media outlets are right, I’m required to make it plain that the year’s off to a dramatic start. Yeah, we all noticed, right?
But, as is necessary, moving on… Here’s what’s happening in the sporting world, and slightly beyond.
Get ahold of me here with comments, suggestions, or just to say hey. Thanks for reading. If you enjoy it, please share.
- Ben Shadley // Editor & Publisher
Hunting Almost Over
Indiana hunting seasons are slowly coming to a close. Gray and Fox squirrel seasons are out 1/31. Late goose in all zones runs until 2/14. Rabbit and some furbearers (Red and Gray Fox) hang on until 2/28, with Coyote (and striped skunk) closing on 3/15.
Conservationist’s Cabin Burned
After witnessing and reporting an egregious poaching incident damn near in his front yard, Brandon Butler’s hunting cabin was burned to the ground in early January. Butler is a prominent conservationist and outdoor writer. He’s the founder of Driftwood Outdoors and hosts a popular podcast of the same name.
Originally from northwest Indiana, for the last decade he and his family have lived in Missouri, where the event occurred. The fire has been deemed arson by local authorities. The investigation is ongoing, but is expected to yield results.
Highlighting the sometimes visceral struggle to enforce conservation-based regulations, Butler’s story has gotten national attention in the sporting world. He was recently on the MeatEater podcast, has a gofundme page (started by a colleague), and the story has been featured in numerous media outlets. Nor is this episode, by any stretch, close to being over. You’ll read more about it here in the Sporting Report and we’re currently scheduling Butler for an episode of Sporting Report Radio, our podcast series.
Speaking of poaching and the toll it takes on conservation efforts, not to mention hunting culture in general, read Sporting Report Hunting Editor Cindy Stites’ article on this all-to-relevant topic: Poachers Aren't Hunters – They're Criminals.
Indiana Wildlife Federation Virtual Conference
Don’t miss the Indiana Wildlife Federation’s virtual conference on 1/30. Register now to see presentations from their solid lineup of speakers including Amanda Wuestefeld, Dir. of IN DNR Div. of Fish & Wildlife; Rick Cockrum, IWF board member; Collin O’Mara, president & CEO of the National Wildlife Federation; and Emily Wood, executive director of the IWF.
IN County Sues Feds Over Controversial Habitat Project
Monroe County, IN, and various environmental groups are suing the U.S. Forest Service for approving a project they argue may contaminate the only source of drinking water for the area’s 140,000 people in southern Indiana.
The primary concern is the proposed, large controlled burn inside the watershed of Monroe Reservoir. We’ll delve into the details of this unusually public disagreement as it develops. For reference, the Houston South Vegetation Management and Restoration Project is the effort in question.
Comment On Proposed Wildlife Rule Changes
The IN DNR Div. of Fish & Wildlife sent a press release on 1/19 requesting public comment on proposed wildlife rule changes updating legal equipment for turkey hunting, muzzleloaders for deer hunting, and beaver trapping season starting and ending times. The NRC (Natural Resources Commission) gave preliminary adoption to the changes at their November (2020) meeting. Sometimes these changes are just procedural, sometimes they represent significant change. These changes are mainly procedural, but you can review them here. The deadline for public comments (scroll down) is Feb. 12 at midnight.
Letters to The Editor
Should be sent to Ben Shadley at email@example.com. We welcome all submissions, pro or con, and will publish relevant commentary.
Fighting Bucks Freed By Quick-Thinking (and shooting) Officers
Early this year a video of a sharpshooting Kansas game warden made the news. He successfully freed two bucks entangled by their antlers with a carefully placed pistol shot. We also learned from colleagues that a similar situation occurred recently in Indiana. In the Hoosier state, however, one of the bucks quickly succumbed due to starvation and stress (the meat was put to good use), but the other looked to be in good health upon being “released.” Hard to say how often this happens, but we like the Indiana conservation officer’s choice of a shotgun for the precision disentanglement. [credit / J. Maxwell]
The Weekend Read (set aside some time, you won’t be disappointed)
The hunt for the Forest Fenn treasure is a modern classic, especially because it’s real and was eventually found. All the elements are there: mystery, intrigue, hardship - even death in pursuit. The story has been told more than a few times, but this New York Magazine piece may be the best. Top off your coffee or Mimosa and dive in.
Sporting Report Classic Series
The Report has almost 1,000 published articles. All are good, but some really drive the conversation. Read John Martino’s The Dirty Secret of Indiana’s Declining Deer Herd and leave your thoughts in the comments.