Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hunting dog use in danger in Perry County, Indiana

Who would have thought Perry County, Indiana, would be a place to consider an animal control ordinance, which effectively would ban hunting with dogs.
Perry County is a beautiful, rural county with a rich hunting tradition.
Perry County’s Commissioners are considering a new animal control ordinance. The current version of the ordinance is quite detailed. It is 39 pages long and includes eight pages of definitions.
And while the proposed ordinance isn’t something most of us would consider good bedtime reading, it is an important document for anyone in Perry County who cares about animals, including those who enjoy hunting.
It’s ramifications can spread farther than county lines. If enacted as in its current form, it appears it would eliminate hunting with dogs in the county.
While the intent of the law probably is good. I’ll give the politicians benefit of the doubt, it needs changes.  
According to the ordinance, a Perry County Animal Welfare and Control Committee reviewed the current county ordinances, plus ordinances of other cities and counties and has recommended a new ordinance.
Many animal shelters and control organizations across the country have been struggling due to the poor economy. In some cases, there has been a decrease in contributions and funding, while there has been an increased need for animal care as some people have abandoned or become unable to afford to care for their animals.
While increased revenues for animal control and shelter doesn’t appear to be specified as a reason for the ordinance, it likely is part of the thinking of those pushing it. I’m no accountant, but it would appear the ordinance would increase revenues, possibly significantly by the fees proposed.
Among the concerns is item 5 on page 22. “An animal shall be leashed when it is off the owner’s property. One end of the leash shall be attached to the collar or harness and the other end attached to the person accompanying the animal. This provision shall not apply to an animal that is otherwise physically restrained at any facility.”
I’d guess much of the proposed law has been lifted from a larger urban area. 
Few people object to a leash law, but do object to theire being no exception made for hunting. Many hunters use dogs for squirrels, rabbits, quail, raccoons, and retrieving waterfowl. It also seems you should be able to excercise an animal which is under your control.
An exemption could be made for dogs under the control of licensed persons legally hunting.
It also is interesting that among the groups from which board members might come is listed Horse Rescue. However, there is no mention of fees and licenses for horses. Even ferrets are included, but not horses. There was a day when horses were primarily used for work, but today they are primarily keep for recreations just like hunting dogs.
An important meeting concerning the ordinance and the final proposal which also relates to kennels, and other animals, including cats, is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at the EMT building in Tell City.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Preventing ticks best disease defense

Bugs are just part of camping. If you head outdoors most anytime of the year, bugs are part of the experience, but they can be dealt with. There is no reason not to enjoy the outdoors. Well, almost.
Sure, you probably don't want to park your RV along side some Colorado or Wisconsin Rivers when the mosquito season is at it's peak, but here in the Tri-State area, we can deal with most of the pests.
One of those pests, the deer tick is worth special attention. Ticks just won't go away. The little, nasty creatures continue to be a growing problem, and in a few cases, more than just an annoyance. Originally, they were found in a few Southern Indiana counties, and part of Kentucky and Southern Illinois. However, their range seems to be expanding northward.
For the most part they are just a pesky nuisance, but caution is in order as they can cause serious health problems. 
I'm a bit reluctant to write about tick problems as I fear it will keep some people out of the woods. It is true, some ticks carry lyme disease as well as others. However, the outdoors can be enjoyed in tick territory, if proper care and precautions are taken
There are hundreds of species of ticks, but only a few that really bother people. And of course, those are the ones to be concerned about. Among those, one of the most pesky around these parts are called deer ticks. Some people call them turkey ticks, and others call them bear ticks or some unprintable bad word. I call them deer ticks.
People often think the number of ticks expands during a mild winter, and their numbers are reduced by really cold weather. However,  research reveals it is almost impossible to freeze out the tiny pests.
Dick Gadd, president of SCS Limited, a company that specializes in tick and other pest repellent, says ticks bore into decaying leaves, and can withstand prolonged periods of sub-zero cold. He says what does relate to their increasing numbers is moisture. Damp weather benefits tick productivity far more than a mild winter. So this spring has been ideal for ticks and bad for people
In order for a person to become ill, a person has to be bitten by an infected tick (only a very small percentage of ticks are infected). It also is believed the tick must be attached to a person for 24 hours.. A little prevention can eliminate the bites.
According to Yahoo.s health website, not everyone infected with these lyme disease bacteria gets ill. If a person does become ill, the first symptoms resemble the flu. There may be a "bulls eye" rash, a flat or slightly raised red spot at the site of the tick bite. Often there is a clear area in the center. It can be larger than one to three inches wide.
People usually think of finding ticks in the woods, but they are just as likely to be found in tall grass. Make a special effort to avoid tall grass, and around your home, keep the grass mowed.
Repellents are effective in keeping ticks away from any exposed skin, and DEET has been the best bet for years, however a new product developed in Europe and Australia was introduced in the U.S. about five years ago.
Picaridin is an effective alternative to DEET that provides long lasting protection.  It was developed not only to repel insects but to offer a pleasant to use product that offered a light, clean feeling and odorless repellent. It can be found in several commercial products.
  According to Dick Gadd, "As with any of the repellents we offer. Picaridin should be used as part of an insect repellent system.  We strongly recommend the use of permethrin treatment for your clothing and a topical skin repellent such as picaridin on exposed skin
After leaving a grassy or wooded area, you should check for ticks on your clothing or skin. If a tick is attached to your skin, it can be removed with either tweezers or forceps by grasping the insect as close to the skin as possible. Try to remove the head of the tick.
Ticks should not be removed with your bare fingers, but if tweezers or forceps are not available, you can use tissue paper or a paper towel to prevent the passing of any possible infection.
I use a tool called a Pro Tick Remedy remover. I keep one hanging on the side of refrigerator along with family pictures, doctor appointment reminders,  and my wife’s “To Do” lists. The tick puller comes with a small magnifying glass and information to help determine whether or not the tick is a dangerous type.
It is available from SCS Limited, which has a very good website with pictures and information about ticks and other insect pests, how to prevent them, and much more. The site is: Various products and information is available at

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bonnie loves her gators

Growing up on a farm near Culver in northern Indiana, Bonnie Neidlinger was always an outdoors person. She loved animals, but no one would have guessed she would several decades later be raising and telling people about young alligators.
“i’ve always loved animals,” said Bonnie Neidlinger, as she gently held a baby alligator in her hand, and showed it to a group of people, who were  waiting to head out onto Central Florida’s Lake Rosalie for an airboat nature tour of the northern reaches of the Everglades.
Bonnie grew up spending most of her time outdoors on the family Indiana farm near Culver. She served as a 4-H leader, and was introduced to the care of exotic animals by her father-in-law. About a half dozen years ago when she and her husband, Wayne took over operation of an airboat nature tour business, she took it upon herself to learn as much as she could about gators.
She was a quick learner. Now she has three young gators (she is licensed to care for gators, a protected species), which she uses to educate visitors about what probably is Florida’s most famous animal.
As she held up a young gator named Trixie, she said the 18-inch reptile is her baby. “She thinks I am her mom,” she added. “When I pick her up, she knows it is me.”
Bonnie always has loved animals. “When I was a young girl on the farm, I had chores. One of them was to feed the chickens. But, I never considered it a chore. I loved feeding them,” she explained.
After she married Wayne, she was introduced to exotic animals. Her father-in-law, Ralph Neidlinger raised many. He started with deer, but then came small animals, followed by a buffalo, red ox, a baby cougar, mountain lion cub, and probably some others Bonnie doesn’t recall.
For Bonnie, her most exotic animal adventure (at least before alligators) involved bottle feeding a baby bear and raising it on the farm until it was three years old. As an adult male, it went to a man near Indianapolis, who raises bears.
Bonnie’s alligator presentation serves as an introduction for the airboat tours, where visitors can expect to see gators most days. Occasionally on a cold winter day, the gators may be hard to find. Gators are a key part of nature in Florida. While it may be a bit of exaggeration, it is said anywhere there is water in Florida there are alligators.
While Captain Fred’s Airboat Nature Tours (the name of Bonnie and Wayne’s business) gives visitors a chance to see dozens of beautiful birds, animals and plants, alligators probably is the one thing most people want to observe.
Viewing gators in the wild, one would think they would never be tranquil like a pet, but Bonnie has been able to calm the youngsters. “Gators will bond with humans,” explained Bonnie. As she shows a young girl how to hold Trixie, she calls the animal “sweet”. Then she adds. “when I first get them they aren’t as sweet...they are not friendly, but it doesn’t take long for them to get to know me.”
In the wild, a female gator has about 50 young. “If after a year, she has 10 percent survive, she has done well,” says Bonnie.
However, alligators can grow to more than a dozen feet in length. They have been described as living fossils, having been extant for 200 million years, predating dinosaurs.
Bonnie’s young gators come from a Florida gator farm, where the animals are raised commercially. When they get larger, they are returned to the farm and Bonnie obtains new young to start the process again.
Bonnie’s husband, Wayne serves and airboat captain and guide. And like his wife, he grew up on an Indiana farm and has always loved nature. He learned the airboat tour business from his cousin, Fred Neidlinger, and other former Hoosier.
Gator’s are a key attraction on the boat trips, but Wayne points out many birds and other wildlife and plants as the boat winds its way around the lake. Frequently, eagles are spotted along the way.
While Bonnie and Wayne now spend most of their time in Florida, they still maintain their farm near Culver and make several trips back and forth each year.
For more information on Bonnie and Capt. Fred’s Airboat Nature Tours, go to, or call 1-863-696-1637,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

White goose soap opera returns

By Phil Junker
For the second spring, the mystery of the white goose continues.
Last spring, I began watching a mysterious nature happening on the lake behind the house. It has all the drama of a TV reality show. (Well, not as crazy or Jersey Shore).
Every spring for the past several years, I’ve watched the annual ritual of Canada geese raising their young. In late winter or very early spring. the local flocks of geese begin to break into pairs. They mate for life.
Next comes nesting season. Soon the cute, fuzzy baby goslings begin to appear with the protective Mom and Dad. When they take to the water in the lake behind the house, one adult leads the procession and one follows with the youngsters trailing the lead goose in a straight line. There usually are six to eight babies.
Over the course of the next month or so, some of the youngsters grow rapidly. Others just disappear, apparently falling victim to turtles, dogs, coyotes, and other animals. That’s nature.
Early last year, when the adult geese broke up into pairs, something unusual happened. Daily, I began to see a threesome, and what made it even more unusual, one member of the trio was a snow white goose.   
My assumption is the white goose is a domestic goose that came from somewhere in the local area, and was accepted by the flock. It appears to be the same size as the rest of the Canadas. It has a yellow orange beak, and I’d guess it is not an albino. My guess may be wrong.
The trio hatched a half dozen youngsters, and all looked like the rest of the Canada babies on the lake. There was no evidence of the white goose’s coloration in the goslings.
For a while the three adults swam with the youngsters. Then one day, one of the adult Canadas was no longer with the family. One Canada and the white goose finished raising the young, 
The young grew to adult size and the pairs and youngsters rejoined as a flock. The white goose seemed to be a full-fledged member.
I’m left to ponder, where did the white goose come from, is it an albino, why was it accepted by the pair, did it mate with a Canada, what happened to the third adult.
But then late last summer or early fall, the white goose suddenly disappeared. At least I didn’t see it before cold weather arrived.
But much to my surprise, the white goose is back with two adult Canadas and about six youngsters--now almost fully grown.
Don’t think this mystery ever will be solved, but it has been fascinating and enjoyable watching it unfold. At least for now, he (or