Published: Friday, 30 March 2012 23:15
Indiana Department of Natural Resources has written a Fish and Wildlife rule change that will change Indiana’s raccoon running season from the current dates of noon Feb 15th to noon Oct 14th. The newly proposed dates are noon Feb 1st to noon Oct 25th giving Indiana hunters an 25 additional nights to run hounds. If this rule change should pass as written, there will only be 15 nights per year that Hoosier Coonhunters are restricted from running their hounds.
How Did we Get Here?
At times things seem much simpler than they actually are. However, when trying to get laws changed it is much more complicated than simply writing the proposal.
Three years ago HTDA President Chris Powell and Treasurer Jerry Moll approached the Indiana Department of Natural Resources about extending Indiana’s Raccoon and Opossum running season. They met with Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Glenn Salmon, biologists, and law enforcement personnel to get the ball rolling. At that time some other sporting groups opposed the rule change and the proposal died. We were told by our opposition that we were a new group and that we were already asking for changes. It stung a bit but we listened and set out to prove that we were here for the long haul.
Since that time the HTDA has not given up on our goal of extending our running season. The HTDA spent three years working with other sporting groups such as the Indiana Deer Hunter’s Assn., Indiana Bowhunter’s Assn., Indiana Trapper’s Assn., Furtakers of America, and the Indiana Sportsmen’s Roundtable to make investments in the management of our natural resources.
The HTDA sponsored kids for The Karl Kelly Memorial Youth Camp, the Turn in a Poacher Program, Indiana Hunter Education Association, National Archery in the Schools Program ( NASP) and any other program that benefits hunting in the state. We also sponsored youth squirrel hunts using squirrel dogs on DNR Fish and Wildlife Properties. At these events we included the local conservation officers and had positive media coverage through local papers and radio programs of our efforts. The HTDA waded right into the hunting scene with a booth at the Indiana Deer and Turkey Expo, getting our message out to Indiana hunters who may be misled about what our sport is all about.
The HTDA participated in the Indiana Outdoor Experience, a DNR program focused on getting more people involved in outdoor activities. The HTDA has tried to be involved in any and every program that will make positive impact for Indiana’s tree dog enthusiasts.
After three years of making what we feel are good investments, the HTDA has gained the credibility it needs to get changes like the new running season proposal in its final stages of adoption.
Where are we now?
While it is great news that we have a running season proposal that will be extended into periods when several Indiana hunters are preparing their dogs for various championship events, this thing is still not signed sealed and delivered. Here are the final stages that the proposal must pass:
1. Preliminary adoption- By the Natural Resources Commission. The proposal will be reviewed by the NRC.
2. Public Hearing process-. Once the NRC makes a ruling for preliminary adoption the IDNR sends this out for the public to review and comment on the rule. In this stage the public can weigh in with their opinions.
3. Final Rule adoption-. The DNR will publish the rule in the Indiana Register for final rule adoption. This is pending a positive outcome of the public hearing stage.
Over the past three years the investments we have made have allowed us to accrue valuable allies and greatly reduce our opposition. We feel we have overcome our greatest obstacles up to this point.
What can you do?
First and foremost, if you are not a member of the HTDA join today! There are several tree dog enthusiasts that have a lot to offer to the future of our sport. We need to know who you are and get you plugged in. Download a membership form off of this site and get it sent in.
Watch for announcements about the public comment opportunities. We need you as a tree dog enthusiast to support this proposal. It is important that comments are positive and well thought out. The HTDA will post information that will be valuable to include in your comments. Watch this site for that information.
To our Members:
Thank you for your patience and loyalty! It has been a long road just to get here. Without your moral support and financial support, we would not be able to accomplish anything. Like was stated earlier, things seem to be much simpler on the surface. Thanks for sticking with us.
Photo caption, shown clockwise from bottom left:
Lieutenant Colonel Sam Purvis, Executive Officer, Law Enforcement Division
Major Steve Hunter, Operations Commander, Law Enforcement Division
Wayne Bivans, Chief of Wildlife, Division of Fish & Wildlife
Bruce Plowman, Furbearer Biologist, Division of Fish & Wildlife
Glen Salmon, Director, Division of Fish & Wildlife
Master Officer Chris Powell, Law Enforcement Division, President HTDA
Mitch Marcus, Wildlife Staff Specialist, Division of Fish & Wildlife
Jerry Moll, Treasurer HTDA (not shown)