Even though National Hunting & Fishing Day was last weekend, that doesn’t mean you don’t stop enjoying the outdoors! This is the perfect opportunity to take your family out for a budget-friendly adventure. Plus, didn’t gas prices drop just a bit? Outdoor writer, Lisa Metheny, takes us on a journey around her home state of Indiana.
Hovey Lake Fish and Wildlife Area (FWA) Situated in the southwestern tip of the state, within the floodplains of the Ohio and Wabash Rivers, Hovey Lake FWA offers visitors plenty of wildlife viewing, fishing, photography and hunting opportunities. Over 6,900 acres of marshes, sloughs and river frontage make up the area, plus heavy grassland vegetation, extensive stands of hardwood timber and cypress trees provide habitat for a variety of species including, waterfowl, deer, upland birds, predators and raptors. Additionally, the1,400 acre oxbow lake provides plenty of chances to fish throughout the year. Late season waterfowl hunting is excellent due to the abundance of open water and food sources. Hunting is done on a daily drawing basis. Check with property manager for current regulations and restrictions. Call 812-838-2927
Kankakee Fish and Wildlife Area (FWA) Located 120 miles north of Indianapolis in LaPorte and Starke Counties, this FWA offers exceptional winter waterfowl hunting opportunities. Unlike other FWA’s across the state, the Kanakaee is primarily managed for ducks and geese. Deer and other game are available to hunt but are considered less important when compared to the sheer number of waterfowl that visit the area during the winter months. Plenty of open water, riparian habitat and crop fields and nearly 11 miles of river make up the 4,000 acre wetland. Hunting opportunities are allocated by a daily drawing. Call 574-896-3522
Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge Located five miles north of the historic river town of Madison, this area is designed as a Globally Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society. Established in 2000, Big Oaks hosts a variety of different habitats and has one of the largest contiguous forest blocks and grassland complexes in southeast Indiana. Made up primarily of wetlands, forests and grasslands, this region is also home to some of Indiana’s best turkey hunting. Deer and squirrel hunting are also allowed on this 50,000 acre refuge that spans across three counties. Call 812-273-0783
Hoosier National Forest Indiana’s largest national forest is located in the southern most region of the state. Mixed rolling hills, charming small rural communities and back-country trails create plenty of opportunity to participate in hunting and outdoor recreation. This area sprawls over 200,000 acres of public and private acres and offers excellent turkey deer hunting. Another must-see area within the “Hoosier” is Hemlock Cliffs. Visitors seeking peaceful tranquility find the sandstone rock outcroppings, rock shelters, ravines and waterfalls the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature. Call toll free 866-302-4173
Atterbury Shooting Range This new state-of-the-art shooting facility provides family-friendly shooting opportunities west of Edinburgh near Camp Atterbury. The shooting range boasts four combination skeet and trap fields, plus one of the best pistol and rifle ranges in the state, in addition to 66 shooting stations ranging from 7 yards to 100 yards. This public range caters to shooters of all levels and various shooting disciplines such as American Skeet, Wobble Trap and International Trap. A sports shop is on site and guns are available to rent or buy. Instructors are also available for those interested in sharpening their shooting abilities. Call 812-526-6552
Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area (FWA) Near Morocco in Newton County sits one of Indiana’s largest FWA. Boasting over 9,900 acres, this area provides pheasant hunting opportunities through the states put-and-take pheasant hunting program. Extensive areas of natural pheasant rich habitat laced with tall grasses like switchgrass and foxtail, plus an abundance of open fields make this area one of the top pheasant hunting destinations in Indiana.
Patoka Lake The nearly 8,800 acres of water, the nearby rolling woodlands, deep draws, dense forests and numerous caves create plenty of opportunities for families to experience the beauty of southern Indiana wilderness in the fall. Plenty of area restaurants, cabin rentals and other lodging options create a family friendly area Ten launch ramps for boats, 450 camping sites, plus a Fisherman Campground to serve the needs of anglers and primitive campers is also available on the lake. An added bonus is lake is heavily stocked with bass, bluegill, catfish, redear, crappie, and walleye, striper bass. Call 812-685-2464