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Long wait in line for Pokagon toboggan run
 
By Jack Spaulding
 
Steps have been made to speed up the operations, but safety restrictions regarding COVID-19 combined with high demand has resulted in wait times at Pokagon State Park’s toboggan run averaging three to five hours.
The run is open Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. With guests being turned away by 2:30 p.m. on most days, here are some tips to improve your customer experience:

• If you’re within an hour’s drive, call the park at 260-833-2012 to check on wait times; if you live farther away, considering spending the night locally, either camping or staying at the park’s Potawatomi Inn or another local hotel.
• After entering the park, remember to social distance while in line waiting to complete advance registration, which opens at 10:30 a.m. Once 100 pre-registered guests enter the toboggan area, staff will then begin collecting names for the wait list.
• Main gate staff will advise you of the wait time as you enter the property.
• If you return your rented toboggan within the one-hour rental period, you will receive a certificate for half-off the price of the first hour of a toboggan session for the 2021-22 season.
“We know how much our park guests love this winter experience, and we want to make sure their expectations are realistic given this year’s required adaptations,” said Ginger Murphy, Indiana State Parks deputy director for stewardship. “As you wait for a toboggan, there are great trails nearby for hiking and the nature center is open with hands-on activities and a great bird viewing window.”
To find a complete schedule of open dates and other toboggan information, visit www.tobogganrun.com or call Pokagon State Park at 260-833-2012. Pokagon State Park (on.IN.gov/pokagon) is at 450 Lane 100 Lake James, Angola, 46703.

DNR needs coyote teeth
As part of ongoing research with Purdue University, DNR needs teeth from coyotes hunted or trapped during the regulated season. Teeth are needed from 30 Indiana counties: Benton, Brown, Carroll, Clark, Crawford, DeKalb, Elkhart, Floyd, Fountain, Greene, Harrison, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, LaGrange, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Noble, Orange, Owen, Perry, St. Joseph, Steuben, Tippecanoe, Warren, Washington and White.
Help spread the word. The DNR needs several hundred coyote teeth to make the project successful. You can request teeth envelopes and an instruction sheet by emailing WildlifeIndex@dnr.IN.gov or calling 812-822-3304.

Light goose hunting opportunities
The light goose conservation order is open from Feb. 15 through March 31, statewide. The light goose conservation order is a continental effort to reduce snow and Ross’s goose populations by allowing hunting for the species outside of the regular season. An Indiana hunting license, Indiana waterfowl stamp privilege and a free permit are required to participate. A federal duck stamp and HIP registration are not necessary. Additional information for application is available online at https://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/3570.htm.

Hunting accident death in Bartholomew County
Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating an apparent hunting accident claiming the life of a Columbus man.
On Jan. 10 at 8:57 a.m., officers were dispatched to the area near the 9200 block of South State Road 58 in Columbus after a hunter was found unresponsive by a family member after the hunter failed to return home.
John Walker, 54, of Columbus, was found suffering from a gunshot wound. Initial investigation suggests the wound came from an accidental discharge of his firearm. Walker was pronounced dead at the scene. Exact cause of death is pending autopsy results.

ORV Driver Dies In Accident 
Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating an off-road vehicle (ORV) accident on Jan. 7 resulting in the death of the operator. At 1:50 a.m., the Anderson Police Department responded to private property near the 4800 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in reference to an ORV accident with injury.
Initial investigation revealed a side by side ORV driven by Philippe Curtis, 32, of Anderson, was attempting to make a turn on private property and overturned multiple times. Curtis was ejected and pinned beneath the vehicle. He was transported to St. Vincent Hospital in Anderson where he was pronounced dead. Passenger Jared Hudson, 25, of Anderson, was uninjured and able to free himself to call for help.  An investigation is ongoing.
Curtis was not wearing a safety harness at the time of the accident, and neither occupant was wearing a helmet. Indiana Conservation Officers recommend using all available safety equipment while operating ORVs.  For more information on ORV safety, see offroad-ed.com/Indiana. Assisting agencies included Anderson Police Department and Indiana State Police.
Readers can contact the author by writing to this publication, or e-mail to jackspaulding@hughes.net. Spaulding’s books, “The Best of Spaulding Outdoors,” and his latest, “The Coon Hunter And The Kid” are now available from Amazon.com.

1/19/2021