PARKE CO., Ind. (WTHI) – Hundreds of thousands are taking to the woods in Indiana.
That’s as both archery and firearms hunting seasons are underway.
Like every year, Indiana Conservation Officers are on high alert to enforce the law.
Indiana Conservation Officer Nathan Lutz has had seven illegal deer baiting cases in the last seven days.
He says, “If they’re not being very successful, they may use more extreme methods to try to make that kill and it goes from harvesting and enjoying the hunting, to more about killing an animal.”
Lutz says the effects of illegal baiting trickle out to the game being poached too.
He says, “If you have sick deer, if you have some sort of disease, and a diseased animal comes and licks on that salt block now he’s spreading that disease to any other deer coming to that same area.”
But wildlife baiting is just one part of a bigger issue, illegal hunting practices.
Hunting without consent and shooting game from the road are other common problems.
Lutz says, “It is designed to keep everyone safe, and any type of violation to that kind of tilts that balance.”
Thanks to a handy tool, Lutz says more poachers are being caught.
He says, “We’ve started using Facebook, we’ve started talking about this more often. The public is becoming more aware. Property owners are more interested in managing their properties and they’re realizing what type of offenses are going on when they’re not there and when they’re not present in the woods. People are becoming aware of it and rightfully so.”
The officer says it’s a huge positive to have more eyes looking for trouble.
Lutz says, “I’m excited that people are aware and I’m excited that we’re getting more phone calls of people reporting these things, because it helps the whole community.”
There are many rules and regulations to follow to ensure hunting is a safe and fun activity for all.
If you’re questioning something, or to make sure you’re going “by the book,” be sure to check out IDNR’s website!
If you see illegal hunting activity, you can report it by calling 1-800-TIP-IDNR which is (800) 847-4367.
You can also do so online at this link using the TIP program.