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Every spring thousands of animals are born in the wild. With more and more suburban areas, young animals are increasingly born near humans and discovered without an adult animal nearby. Well-meaning people can upset the course of nature by taking young animals from their nests. Removing wildlife from its environment is prohibited by state regulations without proper handling permits. The apparent lack of an adult does not necessarily mean a young animal is alone. Adults often leave their young alone, safe in nests or dens while they forage for food, but rarely do they abandon their young. If a bird has fallen out of a nest, it is OK to gently return it to the nest. The best way to make sure an animal is truly orphaned is to wait and check it periodically. If you are unsure, place some strings or sticks across the nest. If such items are later disturbed, the adult animal has returned. In such a situation, leave the young animal alone. The adult will return after you leave the area. If the nest is not disturbed, or if after monitoring the young for several hours an adult does not return, contact a licensed rehabilitator. The DNR- Division of Fish and Wildlife maintains a list of wildlife rehabilitators who have state or federal permits to care for wild animals. If you find an injured animal, contact a wildlife rehabilitator. The DNR- Division of Fish and Wildlife does not care for injured animals or transport them to rehabilitators. Find more information on the Wildlife Rehabilitation page.
Many wild animals in Indiana have become displaced as the result of urban growth and removal of their habitat. While some species may move to other areas where natural habitat exists, some species actually thrive in urban settings. Species such as raccoons, opossums and even red foxes are becoming more common in urban areas and are frequently seen by people. However, these animals can also cause problems when they use a person’s attic for shelter, destroy shingles and soffits, and eat garbage.
Wild animals such as these are protected by the State of Indiana for all of the citizens of Indiana, but sometimes they cannot peaceably coexist. Because of the large number of raccoons and other species that cause a nuisance for landowners throughout the state, the DNR is unable to provide assistance to actually help remove the animals. The DNR does, however, offer some solutions and advice on how to try to prevent future problems and remove wild animals that have created a problem. The DNR also licenses individuals to provide nuisance wild animal control services to the public. Find one near you at Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators.
Resident landowners and tenants have several options for dealing with many of these animals. A resident landowner or tenant can legally capture some species of wild animals without a permit if the animal is discovered damaging property. However, a wild animal that is captured by a landowner or tenant must be reported to an Indiana Conservation Officer within 72 hours. If the animal is going to be released after it is caught, it must be released in the county of capture. You must also have permission from the landowner before releasing any animals on the landowner's property; this includes city, county or state property. Please contact the property’s owner or manager before releasing wild animals. If the nuisance wild animal is not on your own property or you wish to receive an annual permit, you can apply for a nuisance wild animal control permit. The application form and regulations are available on-line.
If you think that you might have a critter in the attic, the best thing to do is try to identify what the animal might be and how it has entered your home. If you can find the entrance, the best thing to do is wait for the animal to leave and block off the hole. If this is not a possibility, there are businesses that will remove the animal for you. Look in the Yellow Pages under animal removal services or call the local sheriff's department for information on nuisance wildlife control businesses near you. The DNR- Division of Fish and Wildlife does not provide removal service.
Many kinds of animals could make your home theirs. Animals enter homes for a few reasons: food, warmth or a place to have their young. Raccoons and squirrels are probably the most common invaders due to their ability to climb. Signs that these animals are in your home are usually obvious. Raccoons are large animals and need a good size opening to make their way in. Squirrels usually enter the home along eves, chimneys or any where they can pull away siding. They often leave behind signs of chewing. Both squirrels and raccoons are fairly noisy and if not seen, they are usually heard. Other possible intruders could be birds, bats, opossums, and snakes. Prevention is always the best measure - install chimney caps, seal eves, and secure any loose siding or roofing material to prevent entry from occurring.
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Yes. Youth hunting licenses are valid for a full year after purchase, even if you turn 18 during that year. The next time you purchase a license, however, you will need to purchase a regular license at the normal fees.
Bird populations may fluctuate quite dramatically over short periods of time in local areas. This may be due to normal annual life cycle changes (breeding, post-breeding dispersal), migration, short-distance movements as birds seek out more available food sources, or a variety of other reasons. West Nile Virus (and other diseases) may be a factor in causing unusual mortality in large or local areas. Most bird species can die from this disease but some species seem much more susceptible (crows, blue jays, hawks) than others.
Long-term changes in regional bird populations are monitored through a variety of surveys, although pin-pointing the causes of increases or declines is more difficult to ascertain. Besides diseases, birds succumb to collisions with vehicles, buildings, windows, towers, and utility lines; are preyed upon by wild and domestic (especially cats) animals; and are affected by adverse weather.
There are 35 snake species in Indiana. Only four are venomous. Most snakes found in yards are harmless. Garter snakes are one of the most commonly seen snake. The garter snake is harmless and beneficial. Garter snakes have distinguishing horizontal stripes that run the length of their body.
They can be several different colors, ranging from green to yellow to brown.
Other harmless snakes sometimes found in yards are black rat snakes, fox snakes, hognose snakes and banded water snakes.
The venomous snakes that are found in the state are: northern copperhead, timber rattlesnake, cottonmouth and Eastern massasauga rattlesnake.
Both rattlesnakes are state-endangered species and if found, should be left alone. The copperhead is the most common of the state's venomous snakes and is found in the limestone region of southern Indiana.
The cottonmouth (or water moccasin) is a distinctly southern species. One small population is known in the south central portion of the state. The water moccasin is recognized by the distinctive white mouth lining that it displays when annoyed. The color patterns are easily confused with those of the northern or midland water snake.
If you find a snake in your yard, the best way to identify it is to use one of the many identification/field guides that can be found at your local library. Peterson's and Audubon's field guides are both good sources of information.
The DNR supports the biological diversity of wildlife in Indiana. Species, such as the timber rattlesnake, are rare and endangered in Indiana, so the DNR conducts studies on these snakes. To study these snakes, DNR biologists and university researchers collect the snakes from their environment, tag them and release them into the same place the snakes were collected. No new snakes are ever placed in these environments.
The DNR is not stocking any new venomous snakes, such as rattlesnakes, into any new areas in the wild. If the DNR ever considered releasing a species such as the rattlesnake into the wild, the agency would first gain public input before proceeding.
Backyard bird feeding has grown dramatically over the past few years. This practice has increased the state's number of amateur bird watchers. If you enjoy viewing birds and learning what kinds of birds are at your feeders, we suggest you use a field guide. It is impossible for us to identify birds or any animal over the phone without actually seeing the animal. So, we recommend Peterson's or Audubon's field guides. They are available at your local library or most book stores. These guides are the quickest and best way to identify your backyard guests. Some common birds that you could see visiting your feeders might be house finches, golden finches, chickadees, cardinals, buntings and many more.
The Indiana legislature has strengthened protection for landowners who allow people on their land to hunt, fish or trap.
Farmers who might otherwise welcome responsible hunters on their land are often concerned about liability, that they just refuse to allow anyone on their land. Horror stories have cropped up about innocent landowners being sued for thousands of dollars when clumsy hunters fell out of tree stands. Infamous cases, such as the coffee spill that cost McDonalds millions, strike lawsuit fear into landowners hearts.
Recognizing the barrier that liability places between farmers and outdoor enthusiasts, the Indiana Sportsmen's Roundtable asked Indiana lawmakers to strengthen the law that is already in place protecting landowners from liability.
Indiana law states that landowners do not assume responsibility or incur liability for injury to people using their land for the purpose of hunting, fishing or trapping, and that sportsmen using land do not have assurances that the premises are safe for that purpose.
However, the law does not protect landowners who charge for access to their land. When you lease land for hunting, you fall under the same responsibility that a business establishment has for its customers. If you lease hunting rights on your land, you should contact your attorney or insurance agent to find out how to protect yourself.
Even with this strengthened legal protection, you must let people who use your land know about dangers that you are aware of in the area, such as open wells, aggressive dogs or livestock, etc.
Allowing hunters, anglers and trappers on your land can be beneficial to you and to sportsmen. Hunters and trappers can help manage wildlife populations on your land to minimize crop damage. Responsible sportsmen can also help keep an eye on your property and keep unwelcome trespassers off.
Fear of liability should no longer stand in the way of landowners developing strong, beneficial relationships with ethical, reliable sportsmen.
The DNR Customer Service Center can be reached at (317) 232-4200 or (877) 463-6367, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For emergencies, contact the DNR Division of Law Enforcement Central Dispatch (812) 837-9536
The Division of Fish & Wildlife can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Division staff strives to answer questions in three business days.
Division of Fish and Wildlife
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
402 W. Washington St. RM W273
Indianapolis, IN 46204