|Paul Cooper of West Lafayette, IN, holds a nice crappie that hit a minnow.|
Monday, April 20, 2015
|Part of a large Lake Placid, FL, mural depicting a cattle drive.|
Went for a drive Sunday afternoon for lunch and to view murals painted on the side of buildings.
The trip took us to Lake Placid, FL, a small town in south-central Florida. There are approximately 40 murals painted on buildings throughout the downtown area. The murals depict a large variety of subjects.
All paintings are large, and some are huge. One very large mural is of a cattle drive. It is truly impressive.
Lake Placid is surrounded by lakes and is quite scenic. It apparently is named for the famous Lake Placid in New York. There are numerous interesting shops, and plenty of places to eat, although a couple we sought are closed on Sunday.
Friday, April 17, 2015
Photo by Phil Junker
Black morels, which usually appear before white and yellow mushrooms, are just as tasty fried as their counterparts, which follow.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Photo courtesy IDNR
Armadillos appear to be expanding their range northwards and have been seen in Kentucky and Indiana. This one was hit be an auto in northwestern Indiana.
Recently, Conservation Officer Brenda Louthain, was called to a bridge to check out a road kill in the northwestern Indiana community of Monticello.
What Brenda found was a bit of a surprise as well as a rarity. It was an armadillo. If you haven’t seen one, it looks a bit like a live armored tank on legs. And while you might expect it to be slow, an armadillo actually iis quick and can jump, sometimes jumping into the underside of a vehcile.
Armadillos are native to South America, but over the years made their way though Central America and then on to the Southwestern United States. Eventually, they made it to Florida and now have headed north.
Although several armadillos have been spotted in southwest Indiana and north central Kentucky in the past several years, the road kill in northwestern Indiana is the farthest north one has been spotted.
It is not known how the animal in Monticello made it that far north. It could have been natural migration, but someone also could have transported one or several north.
A southern Indiana truck driver friend used to joke at dinner about bringing a couple from Texas and releasing them in Indiana, but I always thought he was joking, and as far as I know, he never did. Their migration to the Ohio River valley appears to be natural.
A writer friend says he has spotted several in Kentucky.
According to a post on the Indiana DNR’s Facebook page, "We have no idea where it came from or how it got here," It also observed, "We have learned that armadillos smell terrible."
However, it is known that these strange looking animals that look like small armored vehicles with legs rather than wheels, have been expanding their range in recent years.
The first confirmed armadillo report north of the Ohio in the Hoosier state was back in 2003 on I-64 just east of the Illinois line in Gibson County, according to the Associated Press, but they've also been spotted in Daviess, Dubois, Parke, Perry, Pike and Vanderburgh counties. There likely have been other unreported encounters.
The armadillos seen in Kentucky and Indiana primarily have been what is called the nine-banded armadillos. They have been reported across Kentucky (at least 32).
Throughout the America’s there are a sizable number of species of armadillos, but what is found throughout the this area is the nine-banded armadillo.
They are prolific diggers. Many species use their sharp claws to dig for food, such as grubs, and to dig dens. The nine-banded armadillo prefers to build burrows in moist soil near the creeks, streams, and arroyos around which it lives and feeds. The diets of different armadillo species vary, but consist mainly of insects, grubs, and other invertebrates.
Although the animals are interesting and an attraction when first sighted, as their numbers increase in an area, they often become unwanted as the dig up people’s yards, flower beds and gardens.
According to Wikipedia, “Armadillos have short legs, but can move quite quickly, and have the ability to remain under water for as long as six minutes. Because of the density of its armor, an armadillo will sink in water unless it swallows air, inflating its stomach to twice normal size and raising its buoyancy above that of water, allowing it to swim across narrow streams and ditches.”
So, if you see a strange looking, short-legged animal that looks like a small armored tank in your yard, most likely, it is an armadillo.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
|Find a hen turkey in the spring, and a tom probably is nearby.|
(photo courtesy NWTF)
Turkey season opens in a couple of weeks, so time is running short to prepare to bag a tom.
Opening day is April 22 in Indiana ,and the spring season runs through May 10. Youth turkey hunt weekend is April 18-19. Across the Ohio, opening day is April 18 in Kentucky, and the spring season also runs through May 10.
A hunter can get lucky and take a bird almost by accident, but planning is a key to success.
One morning, years ago, when I headed to the woods with my friend Phil Kirby, he accidentally slammed the truck door when we arrived near our planned hunting spot. It caused a tom to gobble, and Phil shot it a couple minutes later. But, that’s a rare exception,
The National Wild Turkey Federation has several suggestions for increasing your chances on opening morning.
“The first step towards enjoying a successful spring hunt is to find a place to hunt,” according to NWTF. “Your state or provincial wildlife agency can help you identify public hunting land.
“If you plan to hunt private land, make sure you get the landowner's permission before hunting or scouting. Wherever you decide to hunt, make the most of your time afield by spending time before the season opens, learning the lay of the land and where the birds frequent.
“Once you pinpoint were the birds roost and where they head during the day to feed, plan a strategy that puts you along their travel routes
“Practice calling. Communicating with a wild turkey to work it to the gun is a thrilling experience. Today's market offers a variety of calls — everything from mouth calls to box calls to peg calls and more.”
Calling takes practice. If you aren’t experienced with mouth calls, a box call may be the easiest to learn in a short amount of time. Slate calls also can be learned rather quickly, but it takes time to perfect any of them. But, then a truck door slamming sometimes can excite a tom in mating season.
Prior to the start of hunting season, many hunters head to the range, set up a turkey target at 40 yards, pull the trigger and are satisfied that their pattern is more than adequate. So they put their shotgun back in its case until opening morning. That can be a mistake.
One long-time hunter said, “I can't tell you how many birds I've seen missed, not because a hunter was shooting at a bird at the limit of his range, but because it was too close. That's right, too close.”
With today's choke tube offerings and tight-patterning turkey loads, the shot that covers a pie plate at 30 or 40 yards can be smaller than your fist at just 10 or 15 yards.
If you shoot a little to the right or the left of a gobbler's head and all you're going to see is flapping wings and tail feathers as that old' tom takes flight.
Be ready for any approach by a wary longbeard this spring. Know how your gun patterns at 10, 20, 30 and 40 yards by practicing on targets at those ranges before the season. Then, you'll be prepared to take the proper shot. Remember, you don't have to shoot. He'll be there again for another try.