The Natural Resources Commission gave final adoption to a number of revisions to rules governing fish and wildlife on July 16, but did not authorize the extension of the archery season or the addition of a primitive muzzleloader season for deer hunting. The archery season will remain the same as last year (Oct. 1 through Jan. 5, 2014), and there will continue to be only one muzzleloader season, which runs from Dec. 7-22 this year.
The Commission went along with the majority of public comments received and the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife’s request to remove the two deer season proposals from the rule package. Please note that these changes are not yet in effect. They must still be approved by the Attorney General’s Office and Governor’s Office, a process that can take as long as 75 days, after which they are published in the Indiana Register. Rules become effective 30 days after publication in the Register.
Other rule changes that were given final adoption are as follows:
312 IAC 9-2-14 Fishing, hunting, or trapping without a license by owners and lessees of farmland
- Adds language to address land owned by an estate or trust. This has been an issue in recent years with enforcement of license requirements when the land is in the name of multiple people as part of a trust or an estate
312 IAC 9-2-15 Hunter Orange & Ground Blinds:
- If the hunter is required to wear hunter orange to hunt a species of wild animal, then a ground blind used by that hunter would also have to have hunter orange if used from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset during the deer special youth season, firearms season, muzzleloader season, and special antlerless only season.
312 IAC 9-3-2 General Requirements for deer hunting
- Adds the nonresident youth extra deer bonus antlerless license as a license type for a youth to take deer during the special youth deer season.
- Makes additional technical changes
312 IAC 9-3-3 Equipment for deer hunting
- Allows a draw-loc device to be used with archery equipment during the archery season
- Removes the prohibition on the use of over-and-under combination rifle-shotguns. This prohibition is no longer needed since certain rifle cartridges and shotguns can be used.
312 IAC 9-3-14.5 Possession of furbearing mammals
- Makes technical corrections to new language to clarify the intent. The revisions approved in 2011 created some confusion, and a few minor changes are needed to clarify what can be done with a furbearer that is taken during the hunting or trapping season.
312 IC 9-3-15 Taking of specified nuisance wild animal to protect property
- Allows private property owners to take a nuisance mute swan on their own property without a permit, which is already allowed for raccoons, opossums, and several other species.
- Also clarifies that legal methods must be used to take nuisance wild animals under this rule
312 IAC 9-3-16 Cottontail Rabbits
- Modifies the rabbit season into a single statewide season beginning Nov. 1 and ending on February 28. This will add days to the current season, but start it later to avoid conflicts with research that shows that the breeding season runs from mid-February through September, with some young born or in nests through mid-October. The season for public and private land would be the same.
312 IAC 9-3-17 Squirrels
- Modifies the date when a squirrel hunter is required to wear hunter orange to start on Nov. 1 (to match the proposed new starting date for other small game species) and go through the remainder of the season.
- Clarifies who can take a southern flying squirrel
312 IAC 9-4-2: General requirements for migratory birds and waterfowl
- Exempts Eurasian collared doves from the species for which a person must register through the Harvest Information Program. They are not a federally protected species.
- Adds the requirement to use only non-toxic shot for hunting mourning doves on state properties in 312 IAC 9-4-2. Currently, this provision is only in the DNR property rule (312 IAC 8-2-3(k)
- Adds language to address Eurasian collared doves in the bag limit for mourning doves. When hunting mourning doves, Eurasian collared doves would be able to be harvested and not count against the individual daily bag limit if the head and at least one wing is left on all harvested doves while in the field.
- Because of the statutory change in IC 14-22-6-2 that removed the exemption for federal permit holders from having to get a state permit, the following changes are also proposed: (1) clarifies who can possess and take migratory birds, (2) adds exemptions for people to possess and sell raptors under a federal raptor propagation permit and waterfowl under a federal waterfowl sale and disposal permit without a permit from the DNR, (3) add exemptions for the possession of captive-reared mallard ducks in accordance with federal law without a permit from the DNR, and (4) adds a requirement for a depredation permit from the state to take a nuisance migratory bird.
- Adds language to allow an individual to take the nest and eggs of Canada geese between March 1 and June 30 in accordance with 50 CFR 21.50 without a permit from the DNR.
- Requires an individual to have a permit from the DNR to take a live Canada goose that is causing damage or threatening to cause damage to property or causing a health or safety threat to persons or domestic animals (we are already doing this for the most part).
312 IAC 9-4-8: Ring-necked Pheasants
- Modifies the pheasant season dates to be concurrent with the quail season in the north zone from November 1 – December 15. Pheasant habitat is disappearing across the Indiana range and our public lands in northern Indiana likely have or will become the reservoirs for pheasants to repopulate marginal habitat after significant weather disturbances. Wild pheasant populations are in decline across their range in Indiana, and hen pheasant survival is of utmost importance.
312 IAC 9-4-9: Bobwhite Quail:
- Modifies the north/south boundary of the bobwhite quail zones by making I-74 the dividing line. The north/south boundary changes fit both climate data and research/monitoring data more appropriately than the current boundary. This would allow for an earlier start to the quail season (Nov. 1) and can reduce additive mortality without significantly reducing the season length. There is a lack of appropriate quail habitat north of Marion County when compared to habitat south of Marion County. This would give small game hunters an additional weekend to hunt prior to the deer firearms season.
- Also modifies the quail season dates by subtracting 2 days from the season in the south (Nov. 1- Jan. 10) and reduce the bag limit in the north to 4 (north quail season would run from Nov. 1 – Dec. 15).
312 IAC 9-4-14: Endangered species of birds (Peregrine Falcon)
- Removes the peregrine falcon from the list of state endangered species. Following a successful restoration in the Midwest and Indiana, the population of peregrine falcons has increased steadily in Indiana and adjacent states. This species was removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999. The Bird Technical Advisory Committee, in its advisory role to Indiana’s Wildlife Diversity Program, established de-listing criteria for this species in early 2011. These criteria are to have 16 occupied territories annually for 3 consecutive years with a minimum productivity level of 2.0 young /active nest. This goal was achieved in 2011 with 17 territories and productivity of 2.3 young/active nest. Historically, the number of peregrine falcons was 3-4 pairs and the initial goal of Indiana’s restoration effort was to establish and maintain four pairs in the state.
312 IAC 9-7-6: Black Bass
- Changes the black bass 12-15 inch slot size limit at Scales Lake in Warrick County back to the statewide 14 inch minimum size limit. The key management objective at this lake is to provide a high quality bluegill fishery, in line with angler preference as measured at the lake. This change is expected to increase bass densities, which is the key to maintaining a balanced bluegill population that exhibits optimal growth rates.
- Removes the special language for black bass in Gibson Lake in Gibson County because it was closed to public fishing by Duke Energy in 2007 based on selenium levels in the fish, and it doesn’t appear it will reopen to public fishing.
- Adds a 12-15 inch protected slot length limit for bass (standard 5 bass bag limit) with not more than two bass over 15 inches at Big Long Lake in LaGrange County. The DNR has documented an overabundance of small bass over several years that limits bass fishing quality and threatens to negatively impact a very good bluegill fishery. Meetings with the lake association indicate their support for this proposal.
312 IAC 9-7-12: Walleye
- Adds a special 16 inch walleye size limit and 2 walleye bag limit for Wall Lake in LaGrange County. This proposal is supported by the Wall lake Fisherman’s Association who funded the first three walleye stockings until the Division of Fish and Wildlife was in a position to assume this responsibility as planned. This plan to develop a walleye fishery to help combat a stunted, slow-growing bluegill population dates back to 2003. This is a unique situation where additional and larger predator fish can make a difference in not only adding good walleye fishing but could also improve bluegill fishing. Walleye harvest is currently believed to be limiting achievement of these objectives.
312 IAC 9-7-14 Fish with no bag limit, possession limit, or size limit
- Removes lake whitefish from the list since a new rule is proposed in 312 IAC 9-7-15 that would create a bag limit
- Since bowfin are a roe-bearing species and the harvesting and selling of roe is prohibited by statute and rule except with a roe harvester’s license, rule language is needed to clarify that a sport angler cannot remove and possess or sell the roe from bowfin. Bowfin can be taken and eaten, but the roe could not be taken out of the fish except with a roe harvester’s license.
312 IAC 9-7-15: Lake Whitefish
- Allows no more than twelve (12) lake whitefish to be taken per day. Lake whitefish catches are becoming more common along our Lake Michigan shoreline and there currently is no bag limit. Illinois is preparing a 12 fish limit which will be consistent with this proposal. Lake whitefish are in the salmon family.
312 IAC 9-7-20: Shovelnose sturgeon
- Since shovelnose sturgeon are a roe-bearing species and the harvesting and selling of roe is prohibited by statute and rule except with a roe harvester’s license, rule language is needed to clarify that a sport angler cannot remove and possess or sell the roe from shovelnose sturgeon. Shovelnose sturgeon can be taken and eaten, but the roe could not be taken out of the fish except with a roe harvester’s license.
312 IAC 9-9-4: Mussels:
- Adds the Round Hickorynut as an endangered species of mussel. Research by our malacologist around the state has indicated that this species meets the requirements of the law as an endangered species and now needs to be listed as endangered to prevent extirpation.
PROPOSED LICENSE AND PERMIT RULE CHANGES
The Division of Fish and Wildlife has proposed to amend the following rules:
312 IAC 9-5-11: Turtle Possession Permit
- Allows both eastern box turtles and endangered species of turtles to be possessed under this one permit. Currently, individuals need to obtain this permit to possess an eastern box turtle and possess a wild animal possession permit for an endangered species of turtle. Because eastern box turtles are similar in appearance to ornate box turtles (an endangered species), and many individuals have both eastern box turtles and endangered species, they have to obtain both permits, which have different expiration dates and requirements, creating confusion for applicants. This turtle possession permit is free of charge and does not require the examination by a veterinarian each year.
- Removes the requirement to microchip (PIT-tag) turtles possessed under this permit. The microchip has caused injuries to some of the turtles already held under permits, and another type of unique permanent identification, such as notching the shell, would be required.
312 IAC 9-10-7: Field Trial Permit
- Removes the requirement that a sanctioning organization submit a list to the DNR of upcoming events by a certain deadline. Most sanctioning authorities are posting approved events on their website and are no longer mailing or faxing lists to the DNR.
- Requires applications for a field trial permit to be submitted at least 10 business days before the proposed field trial instead of 21 days as is currently required
312 IAC 9-10-6: Scientific Purposes License
- This change would clarify that an applicant must be associated with one of the institutions listed in this rule to qualify for a scientific purposes license. This rule language was modified in 2010 as part of the comprehensive rule enhancement project, and it inadvertently changed the intent of the rule language in subsection (f).
312 IAC 9-10-11: Nuisance Wild Animal Control Permit
- Allows carcasses to be possessed for up to 7 days, instead of the 48 hours in the current regulations
- Allows gifting of carcasses and other parts to scientific or educational institutions as long as the carcass is properly tagged and there is no compensation of any kind (like what we allow for wild animals harvested under a hunting license)
- Allows animals to be retained for human consumption
312 IAC 9-10-13.1 Falconry License
- Allows the taking of unbanded, juvenile peregrine falcons from the wild for falconry purposes in accordance with federal regulations and with prior written approval from the
DNR since the peregrine falcon is being removed from the state’s endangered species list (see other rule package). Under the current flyway allotment, 1-2 peregrines could be taken statewide during the September 20 – October 20 period. Birds have to be unbanded and feather samples from the captured birds need to be collected and sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Some falconers would welcome the opportunity to try to capture and train a passage peregrine falcon for the sport of falconry. The very limited take would have minimal impact on peregrine falcon populations. The federal guidelines for take are set up so that migrant (primarily arctic) peregrines are targeted and breeding populations in Indiana are at low risk for capture.
- Makes other technical changes by combining language from 2 subsections into one and adding the requirement to submit a 3-186A form within 10 days of releasing a raptor, which is required in the federal regulations and was overlooked in the revisions to the state regulations last year
312 IAC 9-10-22 Shooting Preserve License
- Adds a rule for shooting preserve licenses to provide the specifications for signs that are required to be posted around the preserve pursuant to IC 14-22-31-6
312 IAC 9-10-23 Migratory Bird Depredation Permit
- Adds a new state migratory bird depredation permit. Because of the statutory change in IC 14-22-6-2 that removed the exemption for federal permit holders from having to get a state permit, rule language is needed to specify requirements for taking nuisance migratory birds. This permit would deal with nuisance migratory birds such as woodpeckers, vultures, and other species that cause damage to property or are posing a health or safety threat. This permit would be free of charge.
312 IAC 9-11-1, 9-11-2, 9-11-4, 9-11-7, 9-11-8, 9-11-10, 9-11-11, and 9-11-14 Wild Animal Possession Permit
- Requires an application to be submitted within 5 days of taking possession of a Class I or II wild animal, instead of requiring an application prior to taking possession
- Eliminates the permit requirement for hybrids of wild cats and canines with a domestic animal
- Eliminates the requirement for a recapture plan for Class I and II species; these animals are native to Indiana and are not considered to pose a real or direct threat to public safety
- Adds a requirement for sunlight or artificial light of some sort for mammals
- Defines commercial purpose
You can view the proposed new rule language by going on-line here.
A public hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday evening, November 12, at 6 pm at the Plainfield Public Library located at 1120 Stafford Road in Plainfield.
You can view the proposed new rule language by going on-line to: http://www.in.gov/nrc/2377.htm and submit your comment next to the link for the rule package titled, “Fish and Wildlife Permit Amendments” or mail them to the following address:
Natural Resources Commission
Indiana Government Center North
100 North Senate Ave., Room N501
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Public comments must be submitted no later than November 12, 2013, and the final report that includes all of the public comments will likely go to the Natural Resources Commission for final adoption in January of 2014. All comments sent to the Natural Resources Commission regarding these rule changes will be provided to Commission members and Department of Natural Resources staff and will be publicly disclosed and searchable on the internet and in a paper docket as part of the final report. The rule changes must still be approved by the Attorney General’s Office and Governor’s Office and published in the Indiana Register after receiving final adoption by the Commission and prior to taking effect.