Contact: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager
On October 2, Nick Buggia, the Upper Midwestern States Manager for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), testified in front of the Indiana Interim study Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources (a joint House and Senate Committee) in Indianapolis. Buggia advocated for the continued and expanded use of sound scientific wildlife and forestry management practices by the Indiana Department of Natural Recourses (DNR) and their division of forestry.
The Committee held the meeting to hear from citizens and stakeholders from both sides on how the DNR’s management practices have impacted wildlife and use of the state forestry lands by the general public. CSF testified in support of the DNR’s current use of proven scientific management practices and encouraged the committee to consider allowing the DNR’ Division of Forestry to have management authority over all forested DNR properties.
The majority of state forest lands are classified as mature, and the current trend will result in an even older forest condition in the future. The lack of young forests in Indiana has had a dramatic effect on many game and non-game species that depend on these habitats for survival. Indiana has had one of the most dramatic declines of American Woodcock in their native region, and recently the Natural Resources Commission voted to add the ruffed grouse to the state’s endangered species list. The listing of the ruffed grouse on the state’s endangered species list was supported by CSF. Ruffed grouse were once found across the state. Today they are nearly extirpated from Indiana, with only a small population remaining in the southern portion of the state. Without proper management these birds and other young forest species have suffered do to the lack of habitat.
Allowing for more active forest management practices in Indiana would promote a balance of age classes and a variety of native habitat types, which would ultimately help prevent the spread of both disease and invasive species as well as provide critical habitat for the state’s wildlife populations.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?