Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Venison can be shared with others, including hungry

People who hunt deer are enthusiastic about their sport, and most love to eat venison, but if not there are a number of places to put the tasty, healthy meat to good use. There are people who want it, and those who need it.
Taking an extra deer really is a good thing. It helps manage the continued growth of the deer herd, and it also can help the needy.
In Indiana there also is a program whereby hunters can take an extra deer and give it to someone who may not be able to hunt or take their own deer for whatever reason.
(Hoosier firearms season opens Nov. 12 and runs through Nov. 27. Muzzleloader season is set for Dec. 3 through 18. Archery season continues through Jan. 1, 2012.)
  The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife has created an online site ( where donors and recipients can register their contact information. There is no cost to complete the simple registration.
Here’s how it works:
–A hunter registers information on the condition and amount of deer meat he or she is willing to donate. The hunter can choose to donate meat that is field dressed, skinned and boned, or wrapped and frozen. The hunter also provides contact information, either phone number or email.
–A recipient registers information on the amount of deer meat he or she is willing to accept, and designates a preference for meat that is field dressed, skinned and boned, or wrapped and frozen. The recipient also provides contact information, either phone number or email.
–Registrants can search the database for someone matching their designated preferences and use the contact information to work out the transfer details.
A participating hunter still is responsible for field dressing the deer, ensuring the deer is taken to a DNR-designated check station, and obtaining a permanent identification tag, after which it can be transferred or gifted to another party.
Indiana law prohibits the sale, trade or barter of wild game; however,  GiveINGame provides hunters who have filled their freezers an opportunity to share extra deer meat with anyone willing to accept it.
Venison is a healthy alternative to beef. It has less fat and calories, and more protein than the same size serving of beef, according to several nutrition websites.
There also is a program called Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
-Hunters can help fight hunger by donating venison to food banks throughout the state. High protein, low fat foods such as venison are desperately needed by organizations that provide food to the working poor of Indiana.
Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry is meeting that need by organizing distribution of venison to the areas where it’s needed most. 
A number of Indiana meat processors have offered their facilities as processing and collection points. Cost of processing is covered by FHFH and donations to the Sportsman's Benevolence Fund. 
For more information, check on the internet at:
Another organization connection hunters with processors who will provide venison to those in need is Sportsmen Against Hunger. The organization can be reached at 317-638-5385.
Both organizations also can be reached through internet links from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources
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TESTIMONIAL -- Dennis Daniels, a friend, deer hunter and column reader, emailed a testimonial following a recent column related to deer stand safety.
“I’'m one of the injured hunter with fell out of my stand in 1998, and still today feel the fall injuries I am now a preacher on safety harnesses for sure. I will not use my stand without one now. We have had four hunters die so far this year.”
Dennis lives in Michigan and has already taken a deer from his tree stand this fall.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wieners, pizza and turkey all part of Thanksgiving, but I'll take the bird

By Phil Junker
Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with tradition, and it dates back to before the founding of our country. It predates the event called “the first Thanksgiving” when the Pilgrims and Indians met to share a meal or meals.
When the Indians and Pilgrims gathered, it is likely the gathering went on for several days. There undoubtedly was plenty of eating, but it may not have been much like pictured in some books. There weren’t any pumpkin pies because there were no ovens for baking. There also weren’t a lot of eating utensils around, so probably there was a rush to grab a turkey leg or wing to chew on.
Records don’t indicate that the Thanksgiving event was repeated by the Pilgrims, so apparently no tradition was started there.
However, even before the Pilgrims arrived in this country, the first Americans (Indians) conducted traditional ceremonies and rituals related to the harvest to express their gratitude to a higher power for life itself.
One Seneca ritual stated, “Our creator...Shall continue to dwell above the sky, and this is where those on the earth will end their thanksgiving.” Also attributed to Indians prior to the arrival of Columbus was a saying that “the plant has nourishment from the earth and its limbs go up this way, in praise of its the limbs of a tree.”
Thanksgiving over the years has become known as an American tradition. It certainly is a holiday the Junker family enjoys.
For years, the family gathered at Grandma’s little house at Marshall, Ill. The men usually hunted in the morning while the women prepared a big meal--more food than we possibly could eat
As family members moved and older members passed away, things began to change. It was harder to get the big group together, so individual family members began to gather with their children.
For the Junkers and my wife’s family, the day became one of thanksgiving, food and football, and for some a nap after the big dinner. That dinner was not only a turkey, it also included ham, several types of dressing (some don’t like oysters), at least two kinds of cranberry sauce, and who knows how many pies and desserts. 
For several years, I made a meager attempt to get the women to agree to go out to eat, but they wouldn’t listen, let alone agree. The meal preparation is an integral part of the holiday. The women catch up on each other’s lives in the process. My brother-in-law Paul cooks the turkey outside in a smoker.
Most families have their traditions, and a ran across a couple of different ones last week while fishing with friends at Kentucky Lake. 
One family gathers for homemade pizza. Now, that’s different. The other meets in Paducah for a wiener roast. Yea, wiener roast. They cook over an outdoor bonfire and enjoy the outdoors.
All of the members I know from another family, meet at a shelter in Indianapolis to help cook a hearty meal for the disadvantaged and homeless. That’s their way of giving thanks for their own personal bounty.
In this country, we truly have been blessed. Most of us have an abundance of food and warm homes. And whether we dine turkey, hot dogs or pizza, we have much for which to be thankful.
Thanks on this special day should not only be offered to the Creator, but to our spouses, family and friends, who do so much for us every day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More serious accidents from deer stands than from gun mishaps

        Bow deer season has been open for more than a month, and this weekend thousands of hunters will take to the woods and fields as modern gun season opens. It is a fun time and a time when hunters hope to bag venison for the freezer.
  Hoosier firearms season opens Nov. 12 and runs through Nov. 27. Muzzleloader season is set for Dec. 3 through 18.
It was sad to hear a Poseyville bow hunter lost his life when he fell from a tree stand from which he was hunting. Several other non-fatal falls also have been reported.
Many hunters make use of tree stands to await deer passing on trails below. It’s an effective hunting method, but it also is dangerous. It’s something many hunters don’t want to read about, hear about, or talk abaout.
I’ve spent my share of time in tree stands. However I’ve added age and lost some mobility in recent years, and several years back after nearly falling from my portable stand, I decided to give it to a friend. I can have just as much fun sitting under a tree.
A number of years ago while at an Indianapolis hospital, a nurse who knew about my outdoor wriiting, asked if I would be willing to visit a couple patients. I was happy to do so.
Both of the patients had fallen from tree stands. Both were at least partially paralyzed. They were in reasonably good spirits and both vowed to hunt again someday, but not from tree stands.
The visits made a lasting impression.
With firearms deer season approaching in Indiana , hunters should understand the risks of hunting from a tree stand and how to protect themselves from a fall.
  According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, falls from tree stands are the leading cause of deer hunting accidents in Indiana , accounting for almost half of all accidents. In an average deer season, about 18 hunters will experience a fall.
Lt. Bill Browne of the DNR Division of Law Enforcement said  in a department news release, falls are preventable if hunters follow basic tree-stand precautions.
  “If they are thinking safety, safety, safety, they should be just fine,” he said.
  The first step toward tree stand safety is to make sure the stand is in working order. Only use a tree stand that has the approval of the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA) and make sure to read the manufacturer’s warnings and instructions before installation.
  Hunters who use homemade tree stands should check them thoroughly for stability prior to using, especially stands that are exposed to weather from being left outside year-round.
  Hunters should also wear a full-body, fall arrest harness system that meets TMA standards. Single-strap and chest harnesses should not be used. Do not leave the ground until the full-body, fall arrest harness system is on. Always have three points of contact with the tree when climbing and descending.
  “Most of the people falling are falling while they are ascending or descending,” Browne said.
  A hunter should never climb with anything in his hands or on his back. A haul line should be used to lift a gun, a bow or other gear into the stand. Firearms on a haul line should be unloaded with the action open and muzzle pointed downward.
  Other safety tips include hunting with a buddy, telling someone the exact location of your tree stand before heading into the woods, getting a full night’s rest before a hunt, and making sure a cell phone, whistle, flare or some other signal device is on your person at all times.
  For more information and a short online safety course, visit

Monday, November 7, 2011

Deer are on the move, but don't harvest one with your car

Several days ago, a nice buck darted in front of the car on a rural road. He went a few yards into the woods and stopped to watch as we passed his spot. It reminded me this is a peak time for deer and autos to tanglle.
Deer have been especially active earlier this year. That means more opportunity hunters, but it also means more chances of deer-auto collisions.
Many farmers harvested their crops weeks sooner than normal. That has led to increased early fall deer movement during the time which traditionally is the top time of the year for deer-auto accidents.
Over the years, I’ve had more than my share of accidents involving deer. I think my number is somewhere around 13 or 14. Maybe it is because I’ve lived many of my years in a rural setting, and also because I seem to put a lot of miles on a vehicle. Otherwise, I have a good driving record, and fortunately I haven’t collided with any deer for a number of years.
Once, I drove 2,000 miles on a fall hunting trip only to hit a deer about a mile from my house on the return trip. I even installed deer whistles on my car and had one of them knocked off when I collided with a small buck.
So when I hear or read about wildlife officials issuing their annual fall deer warning, it catches my attention and is something worthy of passing along to readers.
When I received a news release from an auto insurance company about states where drivers are most likely to strike deer. I just assumed Indiana would be near the top of the list--at least somewhere in the top 10. To my surprise I was wrong.
While the number of miles driven by U.S. motorists over the past five years has increased just two percent, the number of deer-vehicle collisions in this country during that time has grown by 10 times that amount.
Using its claims data, State Farm®, one of the nation’s largest auto insurers, estimates 2.3 million collisions between deer and vehicles occurred in the U.S. during the two-year period between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2010. That’s 21.1 percent more than five years earlier. 
To put it another way, according to State Farm, during your reading of this paragraph, a collision between a deer and vehicle will likely have taken place (they are much more likely during the last three months of the year and in the early evening).
For the fourth year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of those states where a driver is most likely to collide with a deer. Using its claims data in conjunction with state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm calculates the chances of a West Virginia driver striking a deer over the next 12 months at 1 in 42.
Iowa is second on the list. The likelihood of a licensed driver in Iowa striking a deer within the next year is 1 in 67. Michigan (1 in 70) is third. Fourth and fifth on the list are South Dakota (1 in 76) and Montana (1 in 82).
Pennsylvania is sixth, followed by North Dakota and Wisconsin. Arkansas and Minnesota round out the top 10.
The state in which deer-vehicle collisions are least likely is still Hawaii (1 in 13,011). The odds of a Hawaiian driver hitting a deer between now and 12 months from now are roughly equivalent to the odds of finding a pearl in an oyster shell.
So where was Indiana on the list? The state was in the middle of the pack, with one chance out of 160 drivers of colliding with a deer during the past year. Kentucky had a rate of one out of 161, and Ohio was one out of 121.
Don’t become one of the “ones” in the statistics. Be especially cautions during early evening through a couple hours after dark.