Taking aim – safely

by

Tuesday, August 12 2008

           Inside the Natural Resources Building, it’s not uncommon to hear sharp pops coming from the Hunter Education Booth, where DNR conservation officers stand by as kids of most ages sit down to fire off a maximum of 12 shots from pellet rifles.

Other safety measures are taken at the range to keep everyone in line – hunter orange vests and protective glasses are required.

Chris Clark, a volunteer hunter education instructor, stood in charge, showing off furs of native Indiana animals as kids walked by to pet them.

Another important part of the booth was the emphasis on the Karl E. Kelley Memorial Conservation Officer Youth Camp. Kelley was a conservation officer who died in the line of duty. The camp provides kids with full hunting and boating educations in a fun hands-on way.

Be sure to stop by the booth some time before this Sunday – raffle tickets are being sold for a muzzle loader give-a-way on Aug. 17.

It didn’t take long for kids to spot and gather around the live, caged goose sitting on the Front Porch at the “Got Geese?” exhibit at the Natural Resources Building.

Shannon Winks of the DNR’s Fish and Wildlife division was on hand to help State Fair visitors understand Canada geese as they become an increasingly irritating problem in Indiana. She highlighted the biology and management of Canada geese and explained to me one potentially controversial method of dealing with the goose population: egg addling, in which you shake, puncture or dip goose eggs in corn oil so that they never hatch, calling it a sort of birth control for geese.

Geese have been known to destroy yards and golf courses, so Winks recommends altering the spaces of grass by putting in shrubs and trees, which deter geese because they can’t see potential predators. Brochures and pamphlets were on hand, and were quickly picked up by interested fairgoers.

– Katy

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