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NRC OKs new fish, wildlife rules but not additional deer seasons

The Indiana Natural Resources Commission on July 16 gave its final approval to a number of revisions to rules governing fish and wildlife resources 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 will run from Dec. 7 through 22 this year.
The Commission went along with the majority of public comments received and the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife’s request to remove the two deer season proposals from the rule package because the Division believed they are not needed to manage the deer population, have the potential to create confusion among hunters and make it more difficult to evaluate the impact of new deer hunting rules that went into effect last year.
Rule changes that were approved will:
‘Remove the peregrine falcon from the state endangered species list.
‘Add the round hickorynut mussel to the state endangered species list.
‘Change the rabbit hunting season to one statewide season on public and private land to begin Nov. 1 and end Feb. 28.
‘Change the pheasant hunting season dates to begin Nov. 1 and end Dec. 15.
‘Modify the north/south boundary of bobwhite quail hunting zones to make Interstate 74 the dividing line.
‘Modify the bobwhite quail hunting season by subtracting two days from the south zone (Nov. 1 to Jan. 10) and reducing the bag limit in the north to four birds.
‘Change the limits on taking black bass on several Indiana lakes.
‘Add a 16-inch minimum size and two-fish limit for walleye on Wall Lake (LaGrange County).
‘Limit the number of lake whitefish that can be taken to 12 per day.
‘Modify the start date squirrel hunters are required to wear hunter orange to Nov. 1.
‘Require hunter orange on ground blinds used during the day when hunting any species for which the hunter is required to wear hunter orange.
‘Allow the use of a draw-loc device for archery equipment when deer hunting.
The proposed changes are subject to review and approval by the attorney general and governor, 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, unless a later effective date is specified in the rule.
In other business last Tuesday, the NRC approved:
‘Dedication of three new nature preserves: Blue Cast Springs in Allen County, Marion’s Woods in Steuben County and the Merry Lea Addition in Noble County. ACRES Land Trust owns the first two, and Merry Lea is owned by Goshen College.
‘Final adoption of a proposed rule (312 Indiana Administrative Code 20-4-11.5) to allow an applicant to request the DNR Division of Historic Preservation to coordinate into a single process similar reviews required by federal regulation and state statute.
‘Preliminary adoption of amendments to 312 IAC 5-3 governing boat races, water-ski events and organized recreational activities occurring on public waters. The action restores definitions for fishing tournament and major organized boating activity.
‘Preliminary adoption of new rules in 312 IAC 9.5 to establish an in-lieu fee to mitigate adverse impacts to fish, wildlife or botanical resources for activities authorized by a permit issued by the Division of Water for construction in a floodway, construction in or along the shoreline of a public freshwater lake or construction in a navigable waterway.